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BBB tips for business owners who are considering alternative office space

by Keylen Villagrana | Mar 1, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Some small business owners may be considering virtual office spaces to help save on operational costs, or to provide staff a “remote” workspace that is more professional than a home office.

While these short-term and temporary office spaces can be a good fit for some businesses, it is important for business owners to research providers carefully to ensure a decision intended to save money doesn’t cost them in the long run.

The Better Business Bureau recently warned business owners about Regus Management Network after detecting a pattern of complaints the company has failed to address. Regus Management Network is a worldwide company offering office space, coworking, virtual offices and meeting rooms for lease.

Business owners have complained to BBB, alleging the company’s failure to terminate contracts, refund security deposits, or disclose their auto renewal policies. These issues are a continuation of complaint patterns monitored by BBB since 2016.

One small business owner reported, “I signed a contract and promotion was pay 3 months and [the} 4- month is free. Regus keeps invoicing me. Impossible to contact Customer Service. I signed a contract with Regus in August 2020 for a 4-month period. I paid my 3 months, and December was supposed to be free. Regus continues to invoice me, charging me for the 4th month, and then extra fees of $62 and $95. I was never given a copy of my contract.”

Unfortunately, those issues are not specific to Regus. Many small business owners have been battling office space issues for the past 10-plus months. Those headaches are likely to continue as workplaces search for stability during a vaccine rollout.

For those business owners looking to sign a short-term lease, BBB recommends sticking to these tips:

  • Get answers. Prior to signing, ask what happens if you move or go out of business. Will the membership renew automatically at the end of the term? What is the cancellation policy, and under what circumstances?
  • Understand the terms. Read the contract carefully before signing, and make sure that all verbal promises made by the salesperson are in writing. Don’t just take a salesperson’s word for it.
  • Check BBB.org. Prior to signing any contract or lease agreement make sure you check BBB.org. Read what previous customers have to say and see how the business responds to complaints.

For more business advice, visit trust-bbb.org.

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