BBB Now Grades Businesses A to F

January 01, 2009
Business ratings vs. consumer reviews.

What’s the difference?


How many times have you read a review online only to wonder if the company wrote the review itself or paid someone to do it? Recently, for example, it was learned that an employee at Belkin International Inc., which makes computer and electronic accessories, paid consumers to write glowing reviews about their products.

Shocking? Not really. Many all-to-positive reviews -- for businesses, products and services -- are suspect. Some bloggers suggest dismissing any and all 5-star reviews and focusing instead on those that list both pros and cons.

This leaves consumers wanting more. Where are the checks and balances? How can you find a reliable company to trust?

Now, thanks to the Better Business Bureau, you can. We’ve upped our game and changed the way we rate businesses. Beginning this year, we’ve taken a page straight out of teachers’ grade books and now give letter grades to BBB accredited and nonaccredited businesses alike.

The BBB rates more than 4 million businesses nationwide, 12,661 of those in the Northern Colorado and greater Wyoming region. Though many businesses make honor-roll worthy grades, quite a few -- 579 to be exact -- are sitting in detention hall with an F rating.

Companies with A and B ratings are found in virtually every business category; likewise, the BBB gives F ratings to some companies in almost every category.

How can you play it safe when the global classroom, er, marketplace, has A-plus and D-minus companies working side by side? Check with your BBB before you buy a product or service. We give you objective information you can trust; you make your own decision.

You’re probably wondering how the BBB determines who gets an A and who gets an F? Grades are based on 16 weighted factors and use objective information and actual incidences of a business’ behavior that are verified and evaluated by BBB professionals. These factors include:
  • The business’s overall complaint history with the BBB, including the number and severity of complaints to the BBB from customers.
  • Whether complaints have been resolved in a timely manner or the business has demonstrated a good faith effort to resolve them.
  • How long the business has been operating and whether it meets appropriate  competency licensing.
  • Government actions against the business related to marketplace activities.
  • Advertising issues evaluated by the BBB.
  • Whether the business has committed to BBB standards.

Rating factors also take into account the BBB’s opinion as to whether business models and industries operate in violation of the law, misrepresent products and services, and are likely to generate trade practice concerns and/or have high levels of customer dissatisfaction.

Start With Trust. When you need to check to check out a business, check out the BBB ( for a free Business Reliability Report. Or call 470-484-1348 or 800-564-0371 for reliable consumer tips and information.