When Should I Call My BBB?

on phone large 150x150 When Should I Call My BBB?One day last fall I was surprised to receive the following call from a gentleman:

Consumer: “Can you tell me why I’m not receiving my email?”
Me: “No. Have you tried contacting your Internet service provider?”
Consumer: “Yes, and they said they had no idea. That’s why I’m calling you.”

BBB staff across the US and in Canada frequently get asked questions we can’t answer. Here are a few that have come my way:

• Is it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their religion? (The BBB is not a legal agency and cannot interpret the law.)

• Can you give me a list of all the businesses in Spokane County?

• What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

• What is the age requirement to be drug-tested at your place of work without your parents’ consent?

• Which cruise lines go to Alaska?

• Can you tell me some local orchards that would ship fruit to individuals?

• I want to start a business. What kind? I don’t know. Can a felon get a bond?

• Do you have copies of all my medical bills? But I know you can see my credit report. Isn’t it on there?

As you can see, there is a lot of confusion in people’s minds about what the BBB actually does. Go ahead and call us if you’re not sure. We’ll either help you or direct you to the right agency. If you don’t have their number or web address we’ll give it to you. 

Meanwhile, here is a brief guide to Better Business Bureau services:

What the BBB is: The BBB is not a government agency. We can’t answer legal questions. We were started in 1912 by business owners to increase marketplace trust and keep advertising fair. 

We also try to educate and warn the public about scams. If you did business with a company and your issue isn’t getting resolved, the BBB nearest that company will assist you. In some cases this will be your local BBB, but often it will not be. You can call your local BBB for the right phone number, or use our website, www.bbb.org which automatically routes you to the correct BBB. You can also sign up there for our scam tracker or write customer reviews.

Trouble at Work? Your state’s Department of Labor & Industries is your resource for employer/employee issues. If your complaint resulted from working for a company, contact L&I. 

And remember, while the BBB can help in many situations, we can’t do it all. A colleague at a mid-West BBB once told us of receiving a call in which a homeowner stated that the contractor and sub-contractor she had hired were currently punching each other and rolling around on the floor in her attic.  It’s great that she thought of the BBB, but that would probably not have been my FIRST call.

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About Holly Doering

Holly Doering has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana for half a decade. Her areas of expertise include the CORE Values Program (Character, Optimism, Respect, Ethics) for Teens and Charity Review as well as writing and editing. Prior to that, she has written for two newspapers, a local magazine, and taught English at the community college. She is the proud author of a short story in ZYZZYVA literary magazine and has had good luck publishing lots of poetry. Each year she rolls up her sleeves and wades into the autumn Nanowrimo writing madness and has several unfinished novels to her credit.