Casey and Jessica O’Donnell after three months of marriage have realized they may not be actually married. Sounds like the premise of a romantic comedy right? Their story quite honestly, conveys a lack of Internet literacy surprising for their age group (late twenties). The Northern Ontario couple, who claimed they were in a rush to plan their August wedding, turned to online marketplace Kijiji.com to find a minister for their wedding. The minister in question, a Mr. George Casselman listed himself as owning a business called “Enduring Moments” and a “registered ceremonial officiant”. The couple met with Casselman multiple times to discuss the ceremony for their wedding, giving him a $75 dollar deposit for his service, even though he refused to rehearse their ceremony.
While it is unfortunate that this couple now has to pay extra fees in order to be legally married, the question arises, how did they not know this guy was a sham? For the most part, and by the most part we are talking about over 80%, any accredited business whether it be one person or a company, has a website. Now, of course there are individuals who provide a service that do not have a social media presence or a website that lists their credibility. Beware, as these are often not legitimate. As a rule of thumb, any service that posts itself on Kijiji has the know-how to at least create a Facebook profile.
That being said, Craigslist and Kijiji are great ways to find services on the cheap that don’t have money for traditional advertising, or are just starting out. Here are three ways to make sure that you’re getting what you paid for.
- Ask for the website of the business in question if it is not offered up right away:
Most of the time, accredited businesses will reply to your inquiry with a detailed list of what they do and where you can check them out.
- Never imply that you are in a rush:
Scams like that of Casselman are dependent on the customer not having the time to do enough research on the business in question. Make sure that even if you are desperate for whatever product/service, you do not convey this in your correspondence with that business.
- Sign a contract:
Many basic contracts are available online. Have the party in question sign a waiver entitling you to compensation if they are lying about their credentials or do not perform the agreed transaction or service. If the party in question refuses, you can rest assured that you dodged a bullet.
And finally, never, ever ever, hire your wedding officiant off of the internet.
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