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Council of Better Business Bureaus ®
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Council of Better Business Bureaus
OVERVIEW OF BBB GRADE

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.

BBB assigns letter grades from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). In some cases, BBB will not grade the business (indicated by an NR, or "No Rating”) for reasons that include insufficient information about a business or ongoing review/update of the business' file.

BBB Business Reviews generally explain the most significant factors that raised or lowered a business' grade.

BBB grades are not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' grade in addition to all other available information about the business.

GRADING ELEMENTS

BBB grades are based on information in BBB files with respect to the following factors:

  1. Business' complaint history with BBB.

    The BBB grade takes into account the following information with respect to closed complaints that relate to a business' marketplace activities:

    • Number of complaints filed with BBB against the business
    • If complaints have been filed, whether BBB considers them to be of a serious nature
    • If complaints have been filed, whether the business has appropriately responded to them in BBB's opinion
    • If complaints have been filed, whether the business resolved the complaints in a timely manner to the customer's satisfaction
    • If complaints have been filed, whether BBB's opinion is that business made a good faith effort to resolve complaints if the customer was not satisfied with the resolution
    • If complaints have been filed, whether BBB's opinion is that business has failed to resolve the underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints.

    BBB analysis of a business' complaint history generally takes into account the business' size if BBB has reliable information from the business to establish its size. If BBB cannot reliably determine business size, it will consider business to fall within BBB's smallest size category.

  2. Type of business.

    A business' BBB grade is lowered if, in BBB's opinion, the business falls within either of the following two categories:

    • Types of business that, in BBB experience, are believed to operate in violation of the law or materially misrepresent their products/services. Businesses that fall within this category will always get an F grade.
    • Types of business that, in BBB experience, are likely to generate marketplace concerns or a high level of customer dissatisfaction because of the inherent nature of the products/services offered. Businesses that fall within this category can get no higher than a C grade.
  3. Time in business.

    A business' BBB grade is based in part on the length of time the business has been operating. Time in business is most frequently determined from information provided by the business; while BBB expects businesses to provide accurate information, BBB will verify information if BBB has reason to believe provided information is not accurate. If the business has been asked for time in business information but does not provide it to BBB, BBB will consider business to have started at the time BBB opened its file on the business unless BBB file indicates an earlier time.

  4. Background information on business in BBB files.

    A business' BBB grade is lowered if:

    • BBB does not have basic background information on the business. BBB routinely requests background information on businesses. While businesses are under no legal obligation to provide BBB with information, the failure of a business to provide background information may lead to a lowered grade.
    • BBB does not have a clear understanding of the business and its practices. This includes situations where BBB has conflicting information about the business and the business is not able to resolve the conflict to BBB's satisfaction.
  5. Failure to honor commitments to BBB.

    A business' BBB grade is lowered if:

    • Business does not honor its commitments to BBB, including commitments to abide by mediation settlement or arbitration award.
    • BBB revoked the business' BBB accreditation due to business' failure to comply with its commitment to follow BBB accreditation standards.
  6. Licensing and government actions known to BBB.

    A business' BBB grade is lowered when BBB has knowledge of the following:

    • Failure of the business to have required competency licensing (i.e., licensing that requires a competency assessment or can be taken away based on misconduct by business).
    • Government actions against the business that relate to its marketplace activities and, in BBB's opinion, raise questions about the business' ethics or its reliability in providing products/services.

    BBB routinely checks required competency licensing and government actions before a business is accredited by BBB. BBB does not routinely check required competency licensing and government actions for businesses that do not seek BBB accreditation, although in some cases BBB learns of these matters through its marketplace research.

  7. Advertising issues known to BBB.

    A business' BBB grade is lowered when the business does not, in BBB's opinion, appropriately respond to BBB advertising challenges that relate to:

      • Misuse of the BBB name or BBB marks; or
      • Potential advertising issues identified by BBB.

    BBB advertising challenges are made at BBB's discretion when it receives complaints from consumers about advertising or when BBB identifies questionable advertising through its monitoring of local media.

GRADING POINTS

This chart shows the maximum number of points that can be earned or deducted in the BBB grading system. Please note there are some categories in which businesses can only lose points, and for those categories a "0” is indicated as the maximum number of points that can be awarded.

ElementRange of points that can be earned or deducted (maximum to minimum)
1. Type of Business 0 to -41
2. Time in Business 8 to -10
3. Competency Licensing 0 or -41
4. Complaint Volume 20 to 2
5. Unanswered Complaints 20 to -21
6. Unresolved Complaints 10 to 1
7. Serious Complaints 15 to 0
8. Complaint Analysis 8 to -12
9. Complaint Resolution Delayed 0 or -5
10. Failure to Address Complaint Pattern 0 or -5
11. Government Action 0 to -30
12. Advertising Review 0 to -41
13. Background Information 5 or 0
14. Clear understanding of business 0 or -5
15. Mediation/arbitration 0 to -41
16. Revocation 0 or -10