Consumers turned to BBB in record numbers to find
trusted businesses and for help dealing with unresponsive companies
Customer Inquiries up 14%, instances of Service Top $19 billion
February 4, 2014 – Columbus, OH – Better Business Bureau® (BBB) provided services to consumers and businesses a record of 1.9 million times last year, as they turned to Better Business Bureau in record numbers for help in finding businesses, brands and charities they can trust.
Requests for BBB Business Reviews jumped to 1.7 million in 2013. BBB Business Reviews reflect customers’ experiences with businesses over a three-year period. New features were added to BBB’s Business Review in 2013, including the ability to read complaint detail, as well as customer reviews. BBB Ratings are based on 16 factors; including how long a company has been in business, how it handles disputes and whether complaints are addressed promptly, among other variables.
“There are thousands of free and subscription websites – reviews, reports, directories, listing and gripe sites that offer a range of information,” said Kip Morse, BBB President and CEO. “We exist, and always have, to ensure that consumers and businesses have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust.”
Central Ohio consumers filed more than 9,535 complaints with the BBB serving 21 counties in Central Ohio, with a total of 38,743 complaints filed with BBBs statewide. Complaints are filed against accredited and non-accredited businesses alike. The majority of complaints filed concerned billing or collection issues followed by customer service disputes. Most continue to be resolved through BBB conciliation efforts, but an increasing number of businesses also participate in mediation and legally binding arbitration when needed to resolve disputes.
In 2013, BBB’s services continued to be impacted by the convenience of online access to BBB information and accessibilities. Centralohio.bbb.org was visited over 1.7 million times with over 16% of web visits from the BBB mobile app.
BBB’s overall instances of services in 2013 reflect the strong role of BBB’s programs and services in Central Ohio. The amount of goods and services checked through your BBB reached over $19 billion, based on the dollar amount of products and services involved with inquiries and disputes.
“These numbers confirm BBB’s leadership in helping consumers make smarter buying decisions,” said Morse. “They demonstrate the trust that consumers place in us to give them good information and to steer them toward good businesses and away from bad ones, and to help them resolve problems when they arise. It’s gratifying to know that our brand is more relevant than ever.”
At year-end, 5,449 Accredited Businesses were committed to BBB’s high standards of trust and the resolution of marketplace disputes through conciliation, including arbitration, if needed. This represents a very positive commitment by BBB Accredited firms to stand behind their products and services, and to ensure proper resolution of any disputes that may arise.
The top ten industries for inquiries and complaints in 2013 were the following:
1. Credit Cards & Plans
2. Collection Agencies
3. Construction & Remodeling
4. Auto Dealers – Used Cars
5. Roofing Contractors
6. Mortgage Brokers
7. Insurance Companies
8. Heating & Air Conditioning
9. Home Builders
1. Credit Cards & Plans
2. Furniture Companies
3. Collection Agencies
4. Clothing Stores
5. Lawn Maintenance
6. Auto Dealers – New Cars
7. Insurance Services
8. TV-Cable, & Satellite
10. Auto Dealers - Used Cars
BBB’s consumer services are offered free and are available locally, nationally, online, and in person. Consumers may obtain Business Reviews 24 hours a day by going online to www.centralohio.bbb.org or by calling 614-486-6336.