websites of BBB approved businesses.
A Quick Introduction: What Is the
Better Business Bureau?
The Better Business Bureau (aka BBB) is a well known private nonprofit organization and it's considered by many as one of the nation's top consumer protection and advocacy bodies and as the authority on trust issues in the marketplace.
It strives to be an unbiased source for building and maintaining a business culture of honesty and integrity.
The agency promotes principles, norms and values for ethical and fair practices between sellers and buyers.
It provides consumer and business education, arbitration and reporting services.
Even though it has the word “bureau” in its official name, the BBB is not affiliated with any government agency or organization.
It was founded in 1912 and operates throughout the US and Canada through its 113 local branches.
These local chapters are coordinated under the parent body: the Council of Better Business Bureaus (the CBBB) in Washington, DC.
As their slogan ("Start With Trust") implies, its stated mission is to advance marketplace trust by forming a large community of trustworthy businesses, developing standards for marketplace trust, promoting ethical marketplace practices, honoring decent business behavior leaders and exposing those who adopt substandard marketplace behavior.
The agency is publishing freely available business reliability reports on millions of businesses all across North America.
These reviews, which can be accessed online, help consumers make better informed decisions as they consider dealing with a certain commercial business or charity.
These reports help the average consumer to single out a business and check its rating.
These grades are ranging from A+ to F and are assigned based on a list of grading parameters: complaint history of the business with the BBB, the type of business, time in business, background information on the business in the BBB files, failure to honor commitments to the agency, licensing and government actions known to the BBB and lastly, advertising issues known to the organization.
The final grade is supposed to answer the consumer's fundamental question: "Can I trust this business?"
The organization exposes business fraud against consumers, alerts the public of online and offline scams, provides detailed information on ethical business practices (and the lack of thereof) and monitors all other common business-to-consumer related activities in the marketplace.
Consumers are welcome file complaints about businesses that they dealt with to their local branch, and these complaints may have a major impact on businesses' reputation, credibility and long term success.
Despite the fact that the Better Business Bureau is not a government or law enforcement agency and even though it has no means to force companies to comply with the law or to take action - it still carries a major degree of influence that should not be underestimated.
A refusal by a certain business to respond to a BBB inquiry is noted in the company's public online review and may indicate to potential customers to stay away and take their business elsewhere.
Additionally, local BBB chapters provide third-party dispute resolution and arbitration services between customers and businesses.
This channel helps resolve customer complaints efficiently and effectively in a professional manner outside the court.