Originally called “Vigilance Committees” or Advertising Clubs, the first BBBs were established in the early 1900s. Their goal was to correct advertising abuses. In response to marketplace demands, BBBs quickly expanded to monitor business performance and provide consumers with vital information to avoid the pitfalls in the marketplace.
Today’s BBBs are committed to the belief that the majority of marketplace problems can be corrected through voluntary self-regulation. We champion the cause of consumers and hold businesses accountable to the highest standards of honesty in their advertising and selling.
There are 128 BBBs in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico that directly help nearly 20 million consumers and businesses each year. True to their faith in the virtues of the private sector, we are nonprofit organizations that are financed almost exclusively by accredited business dues—dues paid for by businesses and professional firms in local communities.
American government and business leaders from the past to the present day have proudly acknowledged that BBB has rightly “earned the confidence and gratitude of the American public.”
BBB Accredited Business
BBB Accredited Businesses are businesses and firms which meet tough accreditation standards, agree to follow the highest principles of business ethics and voluntary self-regulation, and have accepted an invitation from us to join.
BBB Accredited Businesses are subject to the same scrutiny we give all businesses. Staunchly neutral, we provide reports on a business’ general background and consumer complaint history, if any. These reports cover accredited and non-accredited businesses alike.
As a rule, a BBB Accredited Business report will contain:
BBBs also report a business’ accreditation status in the BBB or participation in BBB programs.
Usual Steps To Follow
In some situations, we may be unable to obtain cooperation from a business. A pattern of unanswered or unresolved complaints becomes a part of that business’ BBB record and is reported to any persons who ask about that business. An unsatisfactory report will lead to termination of a business’ accreditation status if applicable. In extreme cases, we may refer the file on a business to a law enforcement agency to determine if legal action is warranted.
BBBs help to resolve buyer/seller disputes with businesses by means of conciliation, mediation, and arbitration, as appropriate.
We may offer the following dispute resolution options:
Conciliation: We help the customer and business communicate so they can resolve their dispute informally;
Arbitration: The parties state their views at an arbitration hearing, offer evidence, and let an impartial third party from our pool of certified arbitrators make the decision that will end the dispute.
Although we greatly help consumers and businesses through information and business self-regulation, we are not a government agency, nor do we have law enforcement powers.
How BBBs Help You
As a private, non-profit organization, our purpose is to promote an ethical marketplace. We do so by providing the following information and services to consumers and businesses: