BBB Business Review

BBB Accredited Business since 05/16/2011

Independent Adoption Center (Headquarters)

Find a Location

(925) 827-2229View Additional Phone NumbersOne Concord Center 2300 Clayton Rd. STE 1150, ConcordCA 94520

BBB Business Reviews may not be reproduced for sales or promotional purposes.

Description

IAC is a full service adoption agency focused on infant domestic adoptions. The agency promotes completely open adoptions with a comprehensive set of services for both birth and adoptive families. The IAC also provides home study services.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since 05/16/2011

BBB has determined that Independent Adoption Center meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

All Locations are BBB Accredited
Find a Location

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised Independent Adoption Center's rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 2 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.

Customer Complaints SummaryRead complaint details

2 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 2 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Problems with Product / Service2
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Billing / Collection Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints 2

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews Customer Reviews on Independent Adoption Center

Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience
Neutral Experience
Negative Experience
Total Customer Reviews 0 Customer Reviews

Complaint Breakdown by Resolution

Complaint Resolution Log (2)BBB Closure Definitions
11/05/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
Representative assigned was neglectful and not thorough with her assignment.
Upon signing a contract with IAC we were in agreement that we would pay up to $3000 in birth related expenses. After birth, a representative from IAC contacted us with credit card statements from the birth parents as well as medical co-payments in the amount of roughly $3000. The credit card statements were vague at best and showed very little in the way of birth related expenses yet our representative urged us to the point of threatening us of losing our baby, to pay these charges even though no receipts were given and the agency agreed that the charges were frivolous. We reached our maximum agreement of payment and then were presented with a bill for hospital bills not covered by the birth parents insurance. This bill is what our initial agreement of $3000 should have covered yet IAC urged us to use that money for the credit card bill. We are now being threatened that it is our obligation to pay this new bill with no admittance by IAC that their agency was inept. To summarize, we budgeted $3000 to help the birth parent with birth related expenses. We were told to pay her credit card bill without seeing any receipts to prove related expenses and now are being threatened to pay another $1900 or we are in breach of contract.

Desired Settlement
IAC should use the thousands of dollars in fees we paid to cover this newest bill as well as be responsible for explaining their inept representative to the birth parents.

Business Response
In response to Mr. *****'s complaint, we want to acknowledge that adoption is a very difficult and emotional process, and we are very sorry that he feels we did not provide the correct services in his successful adoption.

The IAC's position is that we provided all of the services outlined in our contract, and that we did everything in our power to ensure that there was a successful adoption. I think we all agree that the adoption is successful as Mr. ***** and his wife are now in post-placement awaiting finalization.

First, to clarify, clients agree to pay up to a certain amount in "living expenses." This does not include additional expenses such as medical costs. The $3,000 paid was for living expenses such as maternity clothes, food, and gas. The $1,900 was for medical expenses. This was explained to the clients in a letter dated Feb. 19, 2014, which stated, "It is also our policy that it is your responsibility to pay for all pregnancy related medical expenses that are not covered by your birthmother's insurance."

Second, we did not threaten to remove the baby from his home, as the IAC did not have that legal right at that point in time. We did explain that the birthparents had the legal right to remove the baby, and might do so if their expenses were not paid.

Mr. ***** signed the IAC contract, which states in part, " The birthmother can change her mind about the adoption before he child is born. The birthparents can block the adoption of their child after the birth, as well, "

In addition, the contract states: " By signing this contract, clients acknowledge and affirm that they understand and accept the serious risks in adoption and agree to hold the Independent Adoption Center and its staff and officers harmless from all liabilities, claims and disputes concerning the completion of their adoption."

Finally, Mr. ***** signed a document called "Toward a Successful Adoption," which states in part,

" Money is a sensitive issue for everyone. Birthparents are often not in the position to fully support themselves throughout the pregnancy, birth, and post-birth periods. Though some birthparents may qualify for state funding such as Medi-Cal or Medicaid, the process of obtaining such funding can often feel demeaning. It is important for you as adoptive parents to understand that all reasonable, appropriate, and legal costs directly related to the pregnancy, birth, and immediate post-birth period may be your responsibility.

"Typically, you will work out a budget with the birth-parents, with the assistance of the Center. It is equally important for you to understand that if hospital costs for the birthmother and baby are not paid for by insurance or Federal or State sources, you are responsible for these expenses. It is also important for you to understand that any money expended for the birthmother in connection with adoption is a gift, and, as such, is not reimbursable, even if the adoption cannot be completed. "

In summary, we are very happy that Mr. *****'s adoption was successful, and we will continue to provide the post-placement support and supervision required to finalize the adoption. We believe that the expenses Mr. ***** paid are legal and within the confines of the living and medical expenses that were outlined in signed contracts, letters and verbal communication with Mr. *****.




Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
We agreed to pay however still believe the initial money was NOT for pregnancy related items as NO receipts were given.

Final Business Response
We appreciate that Mr. ***** understands the importance of their paying the medical bills for the baby they are in the process of adopting, and he has agreed to do so. The resolution of this complaint involved Mr. ***** agreeing to pay the medical bills for the child they are adopting, which he has done.

In his rebuttal Mr. ***** states that he still believes that the money he initially paid was not for pregnancy related expenses because no receipts were provided. The money for the birthmother's living expenses was paid retroactively. Therefore, the agency accepted the birthmother's credit card statement, in lieu of receipts, and Mr. ***** agreed to pay $3000 of the expenses on her credit card bill. At the time, Mr. ***** had a choice. He and his wife could have withdrawn from this potential adoption and chosen to wait for another situation in which there would not be this type of expenses. Instead, he and his wife chose to proceed with this adoption, and they agreed to pay $3000 for the birthmother's living expenses. Now, after the fact, he is objecting to the money they previously agreed to pay.

Also, prior to Mr. ***** reimbursing the birthmother for her living expenses, the Independent Adoption Center had ******* ******* a New York adoption attorney review the items listed on the credit card statement that the birthmother requested reimbursement for. Mr. Warren verified that New York law (this adoption is taking place in New York) would approve those charges as pregnancy-related living expenses. Mr. ***** was aware at the time that the attorney had verified that these expenses were legally allowable without the receipts.

As noted in our previous response, the Independent Adoption Center has determined that the expenses that Mr. ***** paid for the adoption of their child fall within the confines of the living expenses and medical expenses that were outlined in their signed contract with the Independent Adoption Center and in letters and verbal communication with Mr. *****.

02/24/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Complaint
1) Breach of contract: promised services not rendered
2) Inappropriate grievance process: material false statements despite knowledge of falsity
In its contract IAC promised to arrange an adoption and to make available to us “comprehensive outreach”, “comprehensive counseling”, “comprehensive educational” and “comprehensive support” services to facilitate the adoption. IAC did not provide these services in compliance with professional and the contractually defined comprehensive standard.

As evidenced by IAC™s own published statistics, IAC failed to present our desire to adopt and our profile to 99.7% of the birthmothers that IAC has been in contact with: over the course of 16 months 3,988 out of 4,000 birthmothers were not introduced to our profile.

IAC failed to present our profile to 98% of the birthmothers whom IAC had pre-screened and considered serious about placing a child for adoption by sending them parent profiles: 588 out of these 600 prescreened serious birthmothers were not introduced to our profile.

As a result of the astonishingly poor outreach, IAC failed to facilitate any contact with a birthmother: no match, no contact, not even a question a birthmother may have had for us.

IAC promised a “careful investigation” through an internal grievance process but, in fact, conducted an inadequate and superficial review filled with material false statements despite IAC™s knowledge of their falsity.

In its review IAC states: “their profile being sent to birthparents is totally dependent on what they are open to on their profile form – such as the races”. Our desired child profile included several race options including Caucasian. According to IAC™s published statistics, 53% of its adopted children are Caucasian. As our options did include this particular race it can in no way be misused to justify IAC™s failed outreach to over 98% of its prescreened birthmothers.

IAC states that “if the letter was not sent to the majority of birthparents, this was solely because of the limitations that ***** and ********* put on their profile”, which constitutes a clear misrepresentation of material facts as evidenced not only by IAC™s published 53% race ratio but also by the published detailed profiles of birthmothers. For example, during the from October to December 2013 we were introduced to not one while birthmothers with reference numbers 5326, 5353, 5330, 5381, 5394, 5396, 5399, 5400, 5416, 5408, and 5409 were a perfect match.



IAC is adding insult to injury when it falsely states that its astonishingly low outreach (and over extended periods of time complete absence of outreach) “was solely because of the limitations that ***** and ********* put on their profile”.

IAC further misrepresents material facts by stating: “We also encourage clients to consider opening up their preferences on their profile form so their letter will be sent out more often. ***** and ************* failure to do so (and, therefore, their profile being sent to a limited number of birthparents) is solely their responsibility.” As evidenced by our emails of November 17 and 23, 2013, we did in fact open our profile twice, adding more race options, mental health issues, drug exposure, and higher expenses payments. In the following month alone (December 2013) our profile matched at least 9 birthmothers, none of whom IAC introduced to us.

The fact that IAC is misrepresenting these important material facts illustrates a pattern of always blaming its client and never assuming any responsibility. IAC asked us to do our own social media ads and pay our own outreach trying to unload its contractual obligations on its client.

Promised Counseling and Educational services did not take place. What IAC mentions as education was a sales pitch event that led to the signing of the contract, after which no more training was provided. Email communications were largely standardized or mass emails inviting clients to help themselves and did not meet the contractually defined comprehensive standard.

For three months our Coordinator was absent, which IAC failed to reveal at signing and int lead up to her absence

Desired Settlement
As a result of its breach of contract we are requesting a full refund of the paid $ 11,750 and $ 25,000 as indemnification of consequential damage / special damage of lost time in a process where age is a crucial criterion for a successful adoption.

IAC™s reference to its refund policy is irrelevant, as it does not apply to a breach of contract situation where the agency did not provide the contracted services and created a consequential damage as a result.

Business Response
To: Better Business Bureau, Inc.

Date: September 22, 2014

Re: Complaint Activity Report Response
Case # XXXXXXXX


Independent Adoption Center ("IAC") appreciates the opportunity to respond to the Complaint in the above matter filed by ***** *****.

The Complaint appears to be two-fold: (1) promised services not rendered and (2) grievance process inadequate. Neither of these complaints is well-founded or justified.

Services Rendered

The clients signed a contract with the IAC. They paid for an initial join fee for pre-match services. They did not pay the full contracted amount which would have included services relating to matching and placement.

The IAC contract has clear provisions describing the refund policies of the IAC.
Based on the length of time these clients were active with the IAC (14 months), they are not entitled to any refund under the provisions of the contract.

The pre-match services the clients received included an adoption workshop, assistance with the design and completion of their birthmother letter, distribution of their letter to potential birthmothers and posting of their letter on our two websites for birthmothers to review in selecting a family for 14 months, as well as counseling and support services. All education, support and outreach services specified in the contract were provided.

The complaint that the IAC failed to provide these clients' profile to the majority of potential birthparents reflects a misunderstanding of what the clients were told about the IAC's services as well as the terms of the contract. The frequency of a profile being sent to birthparents is totally dependent on what the clients are open to on their profile form. The IAC provides monthly statistics to clients to show them how often their profile is sent. We also encourage clients to consider opening up their preferences on their profile form to encourage more birthparents to review it.

It is important to note that the IAC does not introduce prospective birthmothers to prospective adoptive parents. The IAC provides profiles to the prospective birthmothers who make the sole decision as to whether they wish to contact the clients.

The original Adoption Coordinator assigned to the clients went on maternity leave and another Adoption Coordinator was assigned to the clients. She worked with them and communicated with them and when the original Adoption Coordinator returned from her leave, the clients spoke very positively about their contact with her replacement during her absence. They never complained about services at the time.




Grievance Process

The Grievance Process in this instance was followed carefully and fully by the IAC which takes any client complaint very seriously and attempts to address it. Here, a full investigation was undertaken by the IAC's Grievance Review Agent who interviewed the Adoption Coordinator and reviewed all of the correspondence and e-mail communication between the clients and the organization.

The Grievance Review Agent concluded that the IAC had followed all of its established policies and procedures and had adhered to every contract provision applicable. She wrote a lengthy response to the clients including her findings. While concluding that the clients were not entitled to a refund under the terms of the contract, she nevertheless made an offer of a refund of $2000 in the interest of goodwill and to resolve the issues. Apparently the clients have rejected this proposal.



Consumer Response
We are not satisfied with the response, which includes numerous materially false statements.

We were awaiting mediation, which took place today, before replying to this BBB response. Unfortunately mediation ended unsuccessful as IAC did not make any settlement offer.

The reply provided to BBB by IAC is full of materially false statements and tries to obfuscate and distract as the refund policy is entirely irrelevant in a breach of contract situation and a refund policy can in no way serve as a waiver to a breach of contract situation whereby IAC failed to provide the contractually defined services.

Please kindly reopen the case.

I am attaching the mediation note that includes the response to the materially false reply of IAC.

Sincerely,

***** *****



Final Business Response
The Complainants were unwilling to negotiate at the mediation and ignored the mediator's advice that they should seek counsel to advise them regarding their claims and their damages. Each of their allegations was rebutted by IAC but they do not seem to understand that. This dispute is purely a breach of contract claim; compensatory damages are not available to Complainants under any legal theory.

Additionally, the mediation session is considered to be confidential, so IAC does not believe it is at liberty to give more details.

The parties are now proceeding to arbitration (at Complainants' instigation) under the terms of their contract. This dispute will be resolved there rather than in this forum.

IAC requests that BBB close its file on this matter as the dispute is out of BBB purview and will be resolved through binding arbitration.

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
The business response is outrageous:

The business breaches the confidentiality of the mediation process by revealing details from the mediation.

IAC not only breaches the confidentiality in violation of the contractual terms of the mediation but IAC also represents the mediation in a material false way. In plain English: the business lies about how the actors behaved during mediation and represents our and its own role in a material false way, which the mediator can testify.

The business then argues against "compensatory damages", which BBB CASE#: XXXXXXXX is not even requesting in an obvious attempt to obfuscate from the two complaints made to BBB, none of which regard "compensatory damages".

The BBB CASE#: XXXXXXXX regards (cf. the original BBB complaint):
1) Breach of contract: promised services not rendered
2) Inappropriate grievance process

In regards to (1) the business says nothing disputing the proven breach of contract but rather obfuscates by addressing irrelevant things and those that were not brought forward.

In regards to (2) IAC continues to handle the grievance in a profoundly inappropriate way that does not meet BBB standards. IAC's answer demonstrates that IAC has obviously not even read the case BBB # XXXXXXXX as it is not addressing what is alleged.

Additional evidence for the profoundly inappropriate handling of the grievance, which is below BBB standards: IAC accuses us for not seeking counsel even though IAC knows well that it is at our sole discretion to represent ourselves and, holding a LL.M degree, we feel perfectly fit to represent ourselves.

The accusation of not seeking counsel is of outrageous arrogance as IAC must know that the BBB complaint mechanism is precisely designed to give consumers an avenue against powerful businesses to have their voice and their complaint heard without having to spend additional funds for legal representation after the financially weaker consumer has already been deprived of their money through the breach of contract for which IAC is responsible.

IAC has in its inappropriate handling of the complaint materially misrepresented the law, repeatedly even after having been repeatedly corrected, insisting on its standard refund clause, which IAC must know is entirely irrelevant in a breach of contract situation. It bears additional irony that IAC is accusing a consumer of not seeking legal representation while IAC's own legal representation is repeatedly misrepresenting the most basic legal concepts.

It demonstrates that IAC is taking this case not serious and not complying with its obligations under its agreement with BBB.

We are requesting a serious reply that addresses the allegations and not the outrageous reply IAC has submitted to BBB.

Industry Comparison| Chart

Adoption Services

Additional Information

top
BBB file opened: 06/28/1990Business started: 09/01/1982
Licensing, Bonding or Registration

This company is in an industry that may require licensing, bonding or registration in order to lawfully do business. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

BBB records show a license number of 075202328 for this company.

Type: Community Care Licensing Division

Check License Status: Click here to view license info

Please note that governmental licensing information may not be current.

Type of Entity

Corporation

Incorporated: October 1982, CA

Contact Information
Principal: Ms. Ann Wrixon (Executive Director)Mr. Ryan Schwab (National Director Marketing)
Number of Employees

53

Business Category

Adoption Services

Products & Services

This company offers Open adoption services, domestic adoption services, homestudies, and pregnancy counseling.

Hours of Operation
Mon: 09:00 AM to 05:00 PMTue: 09:00 AM to 05:00 PMWed: 09:00 AM to 05:00 PMThu: 09:00 AM to 05:00 PMFri: 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Service Area

This business service area covers: Nationwide

Alternate Business Names
IAC

Photos & Videos

Photographs

Select a thumbnail below to view the full-size image.

2 Photos

Map & Directions

Map & Directions

Address for Independent Adoption Center

One Concord Center 2300 Clayton Rd. STE 1150

Concord, CA 94520

To | From

Find a LocationX
Or, display all locations
Industry Comparison ChartX

The information in the table below represents an industry comparison of businesses which are of the same relative size. This is based on BBB's database of businesses located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California. Businesses may engage in more than one type of business. The percent of time the business engages in a type of business is not accounted for. There is no known industry standard for the number of complaints a business can expect. The volume of business and number of transactions may have a bearing on the number of complaints received by BBB.

*Independent Adoption Center is in this range.

X

Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:

  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

We do not handle workplace disputes, discrimination claims or claims about the quality of health or legal services.

X

Additional Phone Numbers

  • (800) 877-6736
X

BBB Complaint Process

Your complaint will be forwarded to the company within two business days. The company will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. You will be notified of the company's response when we receive it (or notified that we received no response). Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.

X
X

Industry Tips for Adoption Services

X

What is BBB Advertising Review?

BBB promotes truth in advertising by contacting advertisers whose claims conflict with the BBB Code of Advertising. These claims come to our attention from our internal review of advertising, consumer complaints and competitor challenges. BBB asks advertisers to prove their claims, change ads to make offers more clear to consumers, and remove misleading or deceptive statements.

X

What government actions does BBB report on?

BBB reports on known government actions that are relevant to the business's marketplace dealings with the public.

X

About BBB Business Review Content and Services

Some Better Business Bureaus offer additional content and services in BBB Business Reviews. The additional content and services are typically regional in nature or, in some cases, a new product or service that is being tested prior to a more general release. Not all enhanced content and services are available at all Better Business Bureaus.

X

Thank you for your feedback.

Help us improve by taking our survey.

X

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview


BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.
Details

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.

X

What is a BBB Business Review?

We offer free reviews on businesses that include background, licensing, consumer experience and other information such as governmental actions that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.

X

BBB Reporting Policy

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.