It's so unfortunate that there are companies such as this that promise our veterans service that is nothing more than a way for the company to make money with no appreciable benefit to the vet:
More "Help" for Veterans
The Veterans Advocacy & Benefits Association - is there advocacy? Are there benefits?
This blog post wasn't on my radar today. In fact, I'm in the middle of writing another one for the Mason Mac Blog about down payment requirements as I type this, but thanks to my affinity for hearing out people on the other end of cold calls, I unfortunately have a follow up blog to my Veteran-related post from the other day.
I just received a phone call from the Veterans Advocacy & Benefits Association, or the VABA. Their website has a tagline of "Helping America's Heroes", and they have a section on their site where veterans can "give back to businesses who support vets".
Now I don't know anything about "theVABA", their involvement in the veteran community, or any good (or bad) work that they do. What I DO know is that for $50, they'll add any lender, any loan originator, and any real estate agent into their directory of "business that support vets".
"So", I asked, "all I do is tell you which cities I want, and send you $50 each to get started?" ---- "Yep", was the answer.
I pried -
"What kind of vetting do you do to make sure the people are legitimate business people that aren't terrible at what they do?"
"How do you avoid predatory lenders relying on the fact that your website literally has 'advocacy' and 'benefits' in the name to get veterans to pay more for their products because they trust the branding of your site"
The answers were, as you can probably guess, "none" and "we don't"
So using a lender from the Veterans Advocacy & Benefits Association offers, literally, not an ounce of advocacy and no benefit. But for 50 bucks a pop, I can have my name added to any city I'd like!
I explained to the cold caller from theVABA.com that I think it's kind of slimy to brand as an advocacy and benefit organization and then just throw Veterans to the wolves for 50 bucks a pop with no benefits, no advocacy, and no idea of whether or not the listed lender or Realtor are even decent at what they do. I was told "you're being kind of a dick".
I was then told I'm just an LO that's afraid to spend money. This guy clearly didn't see the dip in my bank account for my CRM renewal this week.
So we have an unprofessional salesperson, and an "advocacy" site throwing Veterans to any and all business people willing to toss them $50. No vetting. No ensuring there's any benefit whatsoever to using them. No specials. Just $50 in their pocket, they'll put your name up for all the visiting Veterans to see, and you take it from there.
I don't have an issue with a site setting up a directory and charging people to be included. I don't have an issue with people making money. I have a HUGE issue with someone advertising people to our veterans as professionals on an ADVOCACY AND BENEFITS site without a single iota of due diligence.
I even went so far as to pose the following: "So I can bump my compensation and rates up some, pay you $50 to get set up in a few cities, and make more money on the leads that come in?". The response wasn't a sinister "YES, DO THAT!", but a "why would you do that? once they click on your info, call, or visit your website, we don't have anything to do with it anymore".
I took that as "we don't promote ripping off veterans, but if you give us $50, we don't do anything to stop you".
Again, I have no idea if this company does good for the community. I don't know if they care about Vets or are just waving an American flag hoping dollars roll in. What I do know is that if their purpose is truly to advocate for our vets, their model is flawed (to put it nicely). Vets aren't getting a great resource for wonderful lenders or real estate agents that have their interest at heart. They're not getting a benefit. They're damn sure not getting an advocate. They're getting referred to anyone and everyone that'll toss in $50. Flawed is one way to put it. Personally, I think it leans more toward disgusting.
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