Explaining BBB Ratings and Accreditation

November 24, 2010
The Better Business Bureau often receives inquiries about our ratings system and our accreditation process, both from consumers and businesses.

So how does it work?

Ratings refers to the letter grade that BBB assigns a business. BBB assigns grades from A to F, representing BBB’s degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns filed with BBB.

Accreditation is like membership. Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.

Importance of neutrality.
BBB remains neutral when issuing ratings. Ratings are based on 16 factors, including time in business, size of business, number of complaints relative to size of business, and whether complaints are being resolved or addressed. Whether or not a business is accredited does not impact their rating.

Marketplace trust.
An important part of marketplace trust is how a business handles disputes. Not every transaction goes perfectly, and consumers want to know: If something goes wrong, will this business do everything they can to make it right? Accredited businesses are committed to addressing complaints from BBB.

Higher standards.
BBB accredited businesses are held to a HIGHER standard than non-accredited businesses. They undergo a business review process and commit, in writing, to our standards of trust (truth, integrity, transparency). Businesses that do not uphold these standards are subject to accreditation review, suspension and/or termination. This year, 15 businesses have lost their BBB accreditation. All BBB accredited businesses have ratings of A or B because BBB will not allow a business to maintain their accreditation if they have a rating that falls below a B-minus.

Dispute resolution.
BBB offers dispute resolution for businesses and consumers, and maintains neutrality throughout the complaint process. All correspondence is done in writing, to ensure that both parties (the consumer and the business) are having their side of the story communicated in their own words. Complaints that a business does not respond to or attempt to address will negatively impact their rating more than a complaint that a business does take steps to resolve.

Value of accreditation.
A business cannot achieve a high rating simply by becoming a member of the BBB, nor can they “pay” for a higher rating. Once again, accreditation has no impact on rating. When a business applies for accreditation, they must undergo our business review process, which is very rigorous. We spend days reviewing business applications for proper licensing, owner’s background, customer references, website security, and advertising claims. These businesses may be denied accreditation if BBB discovers any issues of concern. This year, BBB serving Mainland BC has declined 39 applications for accreditation.

BBB is a non-profit organization whose goal is to advance marketplace trust. Like the businesses that make up our membership, we adhere to a code of standards:

· Build Trust
· Advertise Honestly
· Tell the Truth
· Be Transparent
· Honour Promises
· Be Responsive
· Safeguard Privacy
· Embody Integrity

If you have any questions about BBB ratings or accreditation, please contact us at inquiries@mbc.bbb.org or 604.682.2711, or visit www.bbb.org/bbbinformationcenter.