About the Better Business Bureau:
"Our mission is to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence."
What Is a Better Business Bureau? How Can It Help
A Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a private, nonprofit organization that provides services and programs to assist consumers and businesses. The focus of a Bureau's activities is to promote an ethical marketplace by encouraging honest advertising and selling practices, and alternative dispute resolution. The services and programs offered by your Better Business Bureau can help you be a more informed, knowledgeable and satisfied consumer.
What Services Does a Bureau Offer Consumers?
Committed to the principles that fair business practices are good for both buyer and seller, and that the vast majority of buyers and sellers are honest and responsible, a Better Business Bureau:
Collects and reports information to help prospective buyers make informed decisions.
Develops programs to encourage firms to regulate their own advertising and selling practices.
Serves as a neutral third party to help settle marketplace disputes.
The BBB helps consumers directly by:
Providing information about a company, particularly whether or not there are unanswered or unsettled complaints, or other problems.
Providing information about charities and other organizations that are seeking donations.
Helping resolve a buyer/seller complaint against a company, including mediation and arbitration services in many instances.
Disseminating accurate consumer information so wise buying decisions can be made. The BBB also helps consumers indirectly by:
Fostering ethical advertising and selling practices.
Monitoring advertising and selling practices, and seeking corrections and improvements where appropriate.
Alerting consumers about fraudulent and harmful practices in the marketplace, and cooperating with appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Providing consumer information to news media, such as radio, television, newspapers and other print media.
Publishing and disseminating pamphlets and books on a wide variety of topics of interest to consumers and businesses, to enable them to make informed marketplace decisions.
What Information Does a Bureau Give Out About Companies?
Bureau reports on companies are based on information in the Bureau's file. Generally, a report will contain:
Information about the length of time the company has been in business or know to the Bureau.
A summary of the company's complaint history or other experience.
Information developed through special Bureau investigations.
Bureaus also have the option of reporting whether the company is a Bureau member, or participates in any special Bureau programs such as alternative dispute resolution. Bureaus do not compare one company against another, do not give legal advice or make recommendations.
What Is a Bureau Member?
Bureau members are companies that meet the Bureau's standards for membership, agree to support the BBB's principles of ethical business practices and voluntary self-regulation, and have accepted the Bureau's invitation to join. Bureau members provide most of the funding to support the Bureau's programs, staff and activities. It is important to know that Bureaus provide reports about, and handle complaints against, both members and non-members on an even-handed basis. In addition, a Bureau is neutral and may not be used as a reference by any company.