BBB has determined that Columbia Gas of Kentucky, Inc. meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.
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Complaint There was a complete breakdown of communication and knowledge, misinformation and truthfulness about my account and my service stayed off overnight. I paid a past due amount on 12-17-14. I called Columbia Gas to report the confirmation number. My service was later shut off. I called to report the shut off and was told my gas was still on by three different representatives and a supervisor. My gas service was off and it took until 4:30pm for anyone to even place a work order to have it restored. I was told it would be a priority listing and they worked until midnight and after until every order was completed. As it got later in the evening, I called and was told that I was still on the list and someone would be there to restore the service. I made many calls as it got later and was finally told at midnight that no technician was coming because I was listed as a TOT which means today or tomorrow. That is not what I was told all day long by many people. The house is very cold and the temperature outside is below freezing at 28* which will cause pipes to freeze. In addition to the untruthfulness and lack of knowing why my account said it was active all day causing a huge delay in the work order being placed, a 190.00 deposit is being requested although my service has never been disconnected and should not have been this time.
Desired Settlement I want the reconnect fee to be waved as well as the 190.00 deposit requested. I have never had a disconnection and it should have been reconnected the same day given that the payment was received and the temperatures would be sub freezing. My service has been disconnected for 16 hours as of this time (2:45 am). My child was home sick yesterday and the gas company was informed of this. The delay was intentional from a representative because the order was not placed in priority as she told me it would be. The gas company is liable for the misinformation given to me and the lack of knowledge from the representatives and the undue delay in reconnection of service.
Business Response Contact Name and Title: ***** ****-TL Regulatory Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX Contact Email: *****@nisource.com Ms. **** of Columbia Gas of Kentucky contacted ******* *********** on 12/18/14 regarding her recent Kentucky Public Service Commission Inquiry concerning the reconnection of her gas service for the address of 1286 Merman Drive in Lexington, KY. The gas service was disconnected on 12/17/14 for nonpayment of the termination notice in the amount of $127.79. Account records also indicate that the last payment posted to the account was on 09/10/14. Ms. **** reviewed the call placed by Ms. *********** to Columbia's Customer Service Center on 12/17/14 at 5:46 PM. During the call the representative asked Ms. *********** if she was advised when she placed the reconnect order, that the order could be worked on either 12/17 or 12/18. Ms. *********** stated that she was. Ms. **** further reviewed that when Ms. *********** made the payment on 12/17 the collector was on the premise securing the meter. When Ms. *********** called and processed the payment through the automated phone system the order was removed from the collector before it could be completed. However the gas service had already been turned off by the collector. Therefore when Ms. *********** called the Customer Service Center the account indicated the gas service was active. Ms. **** offered to waive the requested security deposit and reconnect fee this one time due to the situation and apologized for any inconvenience. The gas service was restored at 1:41 PM on 12/18/14. Customer satisfied closing complaint.
Complaint Unable to obtain refund of overpayment. I previously had two accounts with Columbia Gas. One was a rental that was closed when rental property was sold. The second is a business account. The rental account was on the budget program and had an overpayment when account closed. This overpayment was credited to the second business account. I have received a partial refund of the overpayment. However, despite paying each month's usage in full and making numerous calls requesting a refund a portion of the overpayment remains a credit on the business account. A company representative stated that I must wait two weeks for check to clear or provide statement from bank on bank letterhead that funds are sufficient and check has not been stopped before refund can be issued. I am happy waiting two weeks for the check to clear. However this two week wait creates a cycle so that next billing period has initiated and the overpayment is once again credited to the amount due that month. I have been a Columbia Gas customer for years. There have been no blemishes on my payment history. Applying the overpayment to other accounts that are in good standing without consulting the customer is not a good company policy. Each of my accounts is reported on different income tax returns and requires separate bookkeeping. I simply want a refund of money due to me.
Desired Settlement Refund of overpayment
Business Response On 11-20-14 Mrs. ******** of Columbia Gas contacted Ms. ******** regarding her Better Business Bureau inquiry concerning the refund of a credit balance on the gas account at 122 East Pike Street in Cynthiana, KY. Mrs. ******** advised that a request had been placed for the credit in the amount of $71.97 to be refunded. Mrs. ******** explained that the refund process could take 7 to 10 business days. Customer satisfied.
Complaint My service was activated on 10/1. On 10/2, the meter was read, no gas used. I then received a bill totaling $16.32. I called the customer service number to ask why I was paying $15 from a "Customer Charge" for 1 day of service, and I was told "The company policy says no pro-rating the charge".
I asked for details about this policy, and the lady kept repeating "The company policy says no pro-rating the charge". I then asked to speak to someone else who could explain this policy to me, and was denied.
She stated (with emphasis in capital letters) "NOBODY can change that policy."
I asked her "Even the President of the company?"
She replied "No."
Incredulous, I asked to speak to her supervisor again, and she denied my 2nd request.
First, this is horrible customer service. I understand when someone doesn't have the authority to make a change, but to be denied access to someone who could help more is inexcusable.
Second, this "policy" of not pro-rating a monthly charge for someone who only had service for 1 day is ridiculous.
Last, nobody I spoke with while ordering this service informed me of this charge or policy. Nobody explained the billing dates, else I would have waited 1 day to connect service to avoid a $15 charge.
I'm going to pay the bill in order to keep my family warm this winter, but I will be pursuing my $15 aggressively.
Desired Settlement I would like 1/30th of the $15 customer charge ($14.50) refunded on my next bill.
Business Response On XX-XX-XX Mrs.******** of Columbia Gas mailed a letter and tariff sheet to Mr. ****** which explains the application of Columbia's Customer Charge. The letter and tariff sheet will be emailed to **** ********* unable to attach the documents in this response.
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) It's understandable when the "billing period" is 20 days...or 25 days...or even 12 or 15 days...this was ONE DAY.
Again, had the "customer service" reps explained this properly, I would have made a different decision on when to have my service activated.
Therefore, if KU had done their job, this $15 charge would not have been charged for this billing period.
I still feel that I am owed $15, since I would have changed the activation date with proper information.
Final Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) Regardless of whether the company is operating within their allowable parameters, I was given incomplete information that cost me $15 that I would not otherwise have spent.
The company may choose to change their policy of billing cycle explanation or not. They may choose to refund my $15 or not.
If neither is done, this company is operating on the basis of fraud. This may not be fraud by deception, but it is certainly fraud by omission, and the company is profiting from the ignorance of its customers instead of their choice.
I may never get my $15 back, but if I don't, I will commit to spending a lot more than this to expose the fraud in the media and possibly on a legal basis.
Final Business Response The call that Mr. ****** placed to the Columbia's Customer Service department on XX-XX-XX was reviewed and a $20.00 atonement adjustment has been applied to Mr. Bower's gas account.
Complaint Columbia Gas failed twice to put my account on a payment plan. We have been without hot water because Columbia Gas won't admit their mistake. I called Columbia Gas after receiving a high bill that I could not pay all at once. I asked at that time to be put on a payment plan. The customer service rep said she would and told me how much to pay next month. I made the payment and noticed on my online account that I was not on a payment plan. Then, I received a disconnect notice because I hadn't paid the account in full. I called customer service again and asked, again, to be put on a payment plan. I made a payment with that rep at that time and was told when to make the next payment, $75 on 6-25. However, I wrote down a payment date of 7-9 by mistake. When I tried to make the $75 payment on 7-9, I discovered that my gas had already been cut off. I admit to missing the 6-25 payment date, but regardless, my account should have been put on a payment plan back in April when I first contacted Columbia Gas. They also claim that I was told to call them back once I made a payment and that would activate the payment plan. I have no such notation to call them and was given no phone number to call with my payment information. I am familiar with that procedure because I am on a payment plan with another company. Plus, as I stated earlier, I made a payment in May directly with their customer service. Had I been told to call someone else with my payment information, I would have done it as I wanted to get my account in order and get on a payment plan. I made sure I made monthly payments, even though I could not pay the account in full. Columbia Gas doesn't care about the mistakes their customer service reps made and will do nothing until I pay more than $500 to bring my account current. My family has been without hot water for almost a week now. My children have to either take a cold shower or bathe with warm (microwaved) water from a bucket. It is very frustrating that Columbia Gas will not help in any way. I have been a good customer and my family does not deserve to be treated this way.
Desired Settlement I would like Columbia Gas to restart my gas service and put my account on a payment plan, like they promised back in April.
Business Response On 07-17-14 Mrs. ******** of Columbia Gas contacted Ms. ***** regarding her Better Business Bureau inquiry concerning the disconnection of the gas service at *** *** ***** **** in Lexington, KY. Ms. ***** advised that she could pay $150.00 of the $351.58 balance owed on the account today. Mrs. ******** agreed to issue an order to reconnect the gas service based on the miscommunication regarding the establishment of a payment plan on the account. Mrs. ******** also agreed to waive the security deposit and reconnect fee. After the gas service is reconnect Mrs. ******** advised that she would contact Ms. ***** in order to reestablish the budget payment plan. Mrs. ******** advised Ms. ***** that the calls placed to Columbia's Customer Service Center would be reviewed and handled appropriately. Mrs. ******** apologized for Ms. *****'s inconvenience. The gas service should be reconnected on 07-17-14.
Complaint Failure to coordinate with Extra Service Protection Co. regarding a payment (listed as past due balance) to insure credit is given. I cancelled service with the CSP Plan (which was through the Gas Co.) on 8/30/2013 & signed up with ESP,also thru the Gas Co. It took 4 months for CSP to notify the Gas Co. that I had cancelled their service. The Gas Co. deducted $1.02 from my ESP payment in Nov. & $5.26 in Dec. & forwarded it to CSP (a total of $8.97 for the two months). I talked with an ESP Customer Serv. Representative ********* on 12/30/2013 & explained what happened; he told me to send them a check for the $8.97, which I did (Check #2812), along with a letter of explanation as to why I was sending this check; this check was cashed by ESP on Jan. 13, 2014. Every month (since Jan. 2014), this charge has shown up on my gas bill as a "balance due". I contacted ESP on 1/13/14 ********** 2/11/14 (*******); 2/28/14 ******** 3/19/14 ********** & 4/16/14 ********* to have this issue resolved. Each time they tell me it will be taken care of. Today when I asked for the name of a person (the owner or president) that I could write a letter of complaint to they refused to give me a name stating it was a Fortune 500 company so no specific name was available - they said just send the letter to the Service Protection Company. In frustration, I called the BBB and after speaking with a representative from the BBB today, 4/16, I contacted the Gas Co. to ask if they could help in resolving this issue. I spoke with a Customer Service Representative named ****** who stated the Gas Co. had nothing to do with ESP. I asked how this could be possible since information about signing up with ESP was included in a gas bill I received; charges for ESP are included as part of my gas bill every month and I send a total payment to the Gas Company. I also told her I felt the Gas Co. was certainly involved since they sent the information regarding the company (which as a consumer, I assumed, meant the Gas Co. sanctioned the company as being reputable). Also, I feel the Gas Co. and ESP has some type of contractual agreement whereby the Gas Co. includes the charge for ESP and subsequently forwards the money to them I cannot believe they do this for free and out of the goodness of their heart. No one seems to want to take steps to clear this matter up. I feel the Gas Co. bears a good portion of responsibility for this situation since they took money I sent to pay ESP and forwarded it to CSP even though I wrote, in red, on my payment stub that services with CSP had been cancelled in Aug. I know this is not a significant amount of money but I feel if they can't process information on a small amount of money they would be equally as irresponsible for a large amount of money. I am 65 years old and have always paid my bills on time I have been a customer of Columbia since 2006 when I moved to Kentucky - I have never been late with a payment or failed to pay the entire amount owed. When talking to Customer Service at the Gas Co., they tell me there is nothing they can do because they do not have anything to do with ESP. I am also going to file a complaint against ESP but since it is a Cincinnati based Company, I understand I have to file through the Cincinnati- based BBB. Any assistance you can give to me regarding this issue will be greatly appreciated. I feel I have done everything possible to resolve, what would seem to be, a very simple issue. Thank you I appreciate your help.
Desired Settlement I want the $8.97 charge that has shown up every month on my gas bill as a "Balance Due" removed.
Business Response Service Protection Group submitted a credit for the amount in question ($8.97) and it was accepted by the Utility on 4/14/2014. SPG contacted and spoke with Ms. ******** on 4/16/2014- and explained that may take a couple of billling cycles for this to show up. The customer agreed that this had been resolved.
Consumer Response The Gas company staff was very helpful in resolving my complaint with ESP and I am satisfied with the outcome.
Complaint Company has owed refund to complainant since 12/6/15. 3 telephone calls to company result in response that refund cannot be processed until after 10 days Complainant sold building which received natural gas from company on 11/30/15. Complainant was paying company on budget plan. New owners transferred account 12/1/15. Company then owed a refund of $669.42 to complainant on account XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. On receiving statement showing credit to account, complainant telephoned company. Company admitted amount due, but said it couldn't be processed for ten days.After 14 days, complainant again called. Company said it would be another 10 days. Complainant called again on 1/6/16. Clerk responding said she would have to send an e-mail. Complainant asked to speak to supervisor. He said it couldn't be processed for 10 to 30 days. It has now been 57 days since account was closed and refund owed.
Desired Settlement Refund.
Business Response On XX-XX-XX Mrs. ******** of Columbia Gas attempted to contact Ms. *******. Mrs. ******** left a message on Ms. *******'s voicemail advising that the refund check was mailed on XX-XX-XX in the amount of $669.42. Mrs. ******** also stated that a refund can take up to 30 business days to process. Mrs. ******** apologized and advised that she would investigate why the refund took longer than the 30 business days. Mrs. ******** also advised on the voicemail recording that she would like for Ms. ******* to call her when she received the refund check in the mail. Mrs. ******** provided her direct telephone number. Closing complaint at this time.
Complaint Limitation of payment options pushing to additional charges from bill pay. After having to change all my accounts over from checks being stolen from my checking account, somehow a payment was returned to Columbia Gas because the account was close, I rectified this paying not only the bill but also any required late fees and return charges. I am now restricted from using their own website to process a one time payment for apparently a year. Considering I now live out of state, this is very inconvenient and as there is no outstanding reason to have my account so restricted, is in my opinion being discriminatory against a customer that is in good faith paying regularly and should be in good standing with then company.
Desired Settlement I would like you to release my account to reflect it to be an account in good standing, with all such privileges in tact.
Business Response Ms. **** of Columbia Gas of Kentucky contacted ***** ******* on 12/02/15 regarding his Better Business Bureau complaint concerning the check that was returned on his account due to closed account status of the checking account. Ms. **** reviewed the account history regarding the returned check and advised Mr. ******* that the returned check fee had been waived and the access capability for paying with this method restored. Mr. ******* did not account for the outstanding check when he closed the checking account. Ms. **** apologized for the inconvenience and gave Mr. ******* her name and contact number in the event he had future concerns. Complaint closed.
Complaint A rebate from Columbia Gas was promised for our purchasing and installing a new natural gas furnace. Rebate has not been paid. Rebate offer HXXXXXX promised a rebate of $400 for purchasing and installing a new natural gas furnace. We had the furnace installed in October, 2014. We submitted all documentation on Nov 28, 2014. Rebate was to be paid within 6-8 weeks. I called in January and was told they never received our paperwork. I resubmitted in February, 2015. Same deal, never received. I faxed them paperwork for 3rd submission in March, 2015. All paperwork received. A week later, they said they didn't receive the required AHRI certificate. So, process had to be restarted. Another delay. After looking around, they mysteriously found the certificate. I was given a tracking number this time. When I checked the tracking number a week later, it was listed as invalid. When I called again, I was told the serial number I used was a duplicate number. Probably because I had to submit it 3 times. So, the process had to be started over again and had to be approved. I was given a new tracking number, XXXXXXXXX. It will take 7 to 10 business days to approve all documentation. From there, it will 6 to 8 weeks to process the rebate. One delay after another. Excuses, excuses, excuses to not pay what they have promised. It's been 4 1/2 months since I originally submitted the required paperwork. I should have received my rebate check over 3 months ago. I'm still waiting and now it looks like June before I will receive a check. That's assuming they don't find another delay and reason to not pay. They owe me $400 and I want them to pay what was promised. I have provided them with all of the documentation they required, 3 times. I've had enough.
Desired Settlement I want my $400 rebate check that was promised to me months ago.
Business Response On XX-XX-XX Mrs. ******** of Columbia Gas contacted Ms. ****** regarding her Better Business Bureau inquiry concerning the $400 rebate for her furnace. Mrs. ******** advised that the application was in the weekly file on XX-XX-XX that Columbia Gas received from ****** which is the contractor that handles the rebate applications. Mrs. ******** apologized for the delay and advised that Ms. ****** should have the $400 pre-paid Visa card by the end of May. Mrs. ******** advised that a new contract with Parago was negotiated which resulted in a processing delay. Mrs. ******** advised that she would continue to monitor the rebate application to ensure that the rebate is issued.
Consumer Response (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) You can't tell me that negotiating a new contract with their company resulted in the huge delay. In my opinion, they made every effort to keep delaying the process. I called numerous times to help the process or we wouldn't even be this close by now. By the end of May, it will have been 6 months since this whole process started. That is not acceptable. They promised rebates in 6-8 weeks. I see no reason why I can't get my check by the end of April, not the end of May.
Final Business Response On XX-XX-XX Mrs. ******** contacted Ms. ****** and advised that the rebate has been approved by Columbia Gas. Parago will invoice Columbia Gas by 04-22-15. Columbia Gas will request that payment be paid as soon as possible so the bank can issue the pre-paid Visa card. Mrs. ******** advised that it is possible that the card would be issued by XX-XX-XX but depending on the invoicing it could take until the end of May. Mrs. ******** stated that Columbia is committed to making sure that the card is issued as soon as possible.
Complaint Unresolved dispute over billing error. Service was disconnected with no notice, no return phone calls and no acknowledgment of the last conversation. I contacted Columbia gas notifying them of a pending move and notification of discontinuance of my previous address. Initially, my moving date was meant to be 12/31/2014. This subsequently changed to 12.5.2014. and I contacted Columbia Gas a second time to notify them of the date change. (I did the same with KU, Ky American Water and LexServ with NO PROBLEMS). Columbia Gas says they only have a record of my initial call. I have called them for two months trying to resolve this matter. I was told several times that someone from Customer Service would contact me. This never occurred. They stated that they did call. I have caller ID on my cell as well as my house phone and there were no calls or messages from them. I continued to call and waited on hold; was disconnected and finally did reach someone who said that there was nothing that they could do. My service was disconnected with no notice. I paid my bills timely and in full for my new address beginning with the invoice that reflected the date (12.5.2014) that I had given them for my move and disconnection of service at my previous address. One months balance for my prior residence after I moved and NOTIFIED them is still appearing on my statement. I currently do not have heat as a result the disconnection. It is 21 degrees and they said there was nothing that they could do and that I would be charged a late fee, a reconnect fee and required to pay an additional $ 125 deposit in addition to the erroneous balance for a previous address before my service is reconnected. As stated, I am in agreement with the current balance on the statement for charges to my new address, however, the rest of these charges are inaccurate. I find it appalling that they told me there is no local office where I can go speak to someone and that they can just disconnect my service without acknowledging the facts and their billing error. Again, ALL of the other local utilities were transferred timely and on the same date 12.5.2014 without any billing problems. Account # XXXXXXXX XXX XXX X
Desired Settlement Adjusted statement reflecting actual balance owed on residence at **** ****** **** Rd. for the period from 12.5.2015 to date. Waiving of late fees and disconnect and reconnect fees resulting from billing error during this period when the dispute was not resolved. Service re-connection upon this adjusted balance which will be paid in full as soon as I am notified.
Business Response On XX-XX-XX Mrs. ******** of Columbia Gas contacted Ms. ****** regarding her Better Business Bureau inquiry concerning the disconnection of the gas service at ********************* in Lexington, KY. Ms. ****** was not able to talk because she was at work and requested that Mrs. ******** contact her on XX-XX-XX at 8:00 a.m. Mrs. ******** called Ms. ****** and left a message. Ms. ****** called Mrs. ******** back at approximately 9:30 a.m. Mrs. ******** advised that she reviewed Columbia's telephone recording system from XX-XX-XX through the end of the 2014 and only found the phone call that Ms. ****** placed on 11-20-14. Mrs. ******** reviewed that phone call and Ms. ****** stated that she wanted the new service connected at **** ****** **** **** on XX-XX-XX but wanted to maintain the service at **** ***** **** until 12-31-14. Ms. ******** also contacted the new account holder and he stated that Ms. ****** occupied the property until XX-XX-XX which is the date that service was placed in his name at **** ***** ***** Mrs. ******** agreed to waived the security deposit due to the misunderstanding with the disconnect date at ***************. Mrs. ******** also agreed to work out a payment agreement with Ms. ****** in order to get the gas service restored at *********************. Ms. ****** agreed to pay $150.00 on 04-03-15, $200.00 on 04-30-15, and the balance on 05-15-15. Mrs. ******** issued an order to have the gas service reconnected on 04-07-15. Customer satisfied.
Complaint charging $120 reconnect fee to me as a previous customer who always paid my bill but not charging this fee if a new person puts the gas in their name I own a house in Georgetown, KY and 8 months ago I disconnected the gas line because the house was empty and I was trying to sell it and did not want to pay the monthly fee associated with having my gas service on when I did not need it. Now that I need the gas line turned back on in my name as I have a buyer that is doing a home inspection of my house, the phone representative (*****) that I talked to today (October 23, 2014) informs me that I will be charged a $120 reconnection fee because I have not had service for 8 months but if someone else was to put the gas service in their name (such as my realtor) they would not be charged this fee (for the exact same work of the technician coming out and inspecting everything, etc). This is simply ripping me off as a previous customer to charge me $120 for the exact same work that would be done if someone new was having the gas line put in their name.
Desired Settlement allow me to reconnect my services for the time needed without charging the $120 reconnect fee.
Business Response Mrs. ******** of Columbia Gas contacted Ms. ****** regarding her Better Business Bureau inquiry regarding the seasonal reconnect fee of $120.00 for the property at **** ******** **** Drive in *********** KY. Mrs. ******** advised that Columbia was applying the $120 charge according to the language in Columbia's tariff that is filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission which states the following: 21.RECONNECTION OF SERVICE If service is discontinued at the request of any Customer, Company may refuse service to such Customer, at the same premises within eight (8) months, unless it shall first receive payment of one hundred twenty dollars ($120, current minimum charge of $15.00 times 8 months - rounded) for residential customers reconnect fee and three hundred dollars ($300, current customer charge of $37.50 times 8 months- rounded) for commercial customers reconnect fee.
Mrs. ******** suggested that Ms. ****** have the realty company place the gas service in their name to avoid the $120 charge. Ms. ****** was unhappy with the $120 charge but stated that she would investigate the possibility of having the realtor place the gas service in their name. Mrs. ******** advised that the charge could not be waived.
Principal: Mr. Herbert A. Miller Jr.(President)Customer Contact: Ms. Carolyn Woodford (Manager of Customer Programs)Ms Judy M Cooper (Director of Regulatory Policy)Ms. Susie Durr (Team Leader Regulatory Customer Services)Ms Lisa Smith (Communications Manager)
Natural Gas Companies
Alternate Business Names
Columbia Energy Group Subsidiary, Columbia Gas Budget Payment Plan, NiSource Inc. DBA Columbia Gas of Kentucky
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