The Better Business Bureau, formerly known as the BBB (Better Business Bureau), is an organization devoted to helping business people deal with the problems associated with consumer protection. The Better Business Bureau was established to serve consumers and other businesses. The Better Business Bureau also serves as a resource for businesses to ensure that they are not subject to unfair or unprofessional practices. The organization has three toll-free hotlines that allow customers to report problems with specific companies.
The Better Business Bureau helps to maintain a level playing field for both consumers and businesses in the marketplace. Because the Bureau receives many complaints each year from businesses, it has developed tools and services to help businesses better handle their interactions with consumers. In addition to handling complaints internally, the organization has also launched a website to help businesses register complaints directly with them. The site is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
The Better Business Bureau may refer complaints to a law firm or mediation service. If you choose to pursue a complaint through the Bureau’s hotline or online portal, you will need to provide your name, address, and any identifying information about the company or customer that you wish to pursue. The first step in filing a complaint is receipt of the complaint. Businesses are required to investigate a complaint within forty-eight hours of receipt unless the Bureau states that a longer investigation would be more useful to the situation.
Complaints can be forwarded to the appropriate bureau, and those complaints will then undergo independent verification and evaluation before the organization takes action. The length of time from the receipt of a complaint to the determination of action varies but is usually a minimum of sixty-five days. Businesses are required to give consumers sixty-five days’ notice before issuing any types of disciplinary actions, which include reprimands, warnings, fines, or refunds. Business complaints are evaluated by the same set of standards that apply to consumer complaints. For most business establishments, this level of customer satisfaction is considered satisfactory.
A Better Business Bureau representative will assist you in determining whether or not your complaint should be forwarded to the appropriate authority. You will be assigned a case number, and you will be provided with the telephone number of the Better Business Bureau’s mediator. At that time, you will be able to discuss your complaint with the individual representing the business, if you choose, or with a representative of the Better Business Bureau who will assist you in furthering your complaint. You have the right to choose who you would like to communicate with, and if you wish, to choose a different mediator.
It is important to remember that all legitimate complaints about businesses must be filed with the BBB before the establishment can remain accredited. All BBB listings are updated monthly. Also, businesses that become accredited once must remain accredited until all complaints have been resolved. The Council on Consumer Protection and Advertising Practices (CCPA) also offers a list of businesses that are required to register with the BBB before offering their services to consumers. The CCCA recommends that consumers contact both the BBB and the CCCA to be sure that the business they are dealing with complies with the regulations. When choosing a resolution company, the consumer needs to take the time to research the companies and the resolutions they provide.
Some of the websites offer an accreditation search engine, which is useful for those who would prefer to avoid a phone call or written note. There are also listings of accredited businesses, and consumers can read reviews posted by other individuals who have used their services. Businesses that do not meet the BBB’s standards will receive an “F” rating, and there are different grades for different areas. The Better Business Bureau and the CCCA maintain comprehensive directories that will allow consumers to locate businesses with positive or negative ratings.
The State Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association provide a comprehensive website for the public to use when seeking accreditation. The State Bar provides ratings for lawyers and law firms as well as other professionals. The FBA’s website includes data on attorneys general and other attorneys-related organizations. Both the BBB and CCCA maintain directories that allow consumers to easily locate accredited businesses in their area. Using either the State Bar or the FBA’s website, consumers can look up the BBB’s directory or the CCCA’s directory for a particular city or area and then look up the individual company’s name. Once the listing is available, the consumer can contact the company and make an appointment to speak with a representative about the complaints they have received.