Customer Review F.A.Q.s

Q: Why is BBB offering customer reviews?

A: This type of current feedback is something consumers (and businesses) have told us is important to them when they research companies; it also allows for positive experiences (not just complaint information) to be shared on BBB’s website.


Q: Who can post customer reviews?

A: Any customer can post a positive, negative or neutral review on a business. BBB takes reviews a step further to provide businesses with the opportunity to challenge whether the reviewer had an interaction with their business. 


Q: What's the difference between a BBB complaint and a customer review?

A: In order for a consumer to file a complaint with BBB, they must be seeking a resolution from the business. BBB staff works with both the business and consumer to resolve the issues and BBB reports the details of that process. The complaint and the outcome may impact the business's BBB letter grade. A customer review is simply feedback about their experience with a business and doesn't require a resolution.


Q: Do customer reviews affect a business’s BBB rating?

A: No. Customer reviews and information contained in them are not considered as part of the factors that determine a business’s BBB letter grade. 


Q: How are BBB customer reviews different than other review sites?

A: BBB has been a trusted resource for consumers for more than 100 years. No anonymous or third-party reviews are accepted on; reviewers must verify their email addresses.  Also, businesses are notified they have a BBB customer review and have an opportunity to respond before it is posted publicly. Businesses may also claim that the reviewer did not have an interaction with their business. In this case, BBB requests substantiation of their marketplace interaction with the business.


Q: When is the customer review posted on BBB’s website?

A:  Usually 3-10 business days. It varies slightly by local BBB and depends on the review process between the customer, BBB and business. The customer must verify their submission by clicking on an email link sent to them. The review is then sent to the business to give them a chance to respond. The review is posted only after the submission is verified by the business, or the time for response has expired, whichever is earlier.


Q: What is a “BBB Verified Reviewer” that I see on some reviews but not others?

A: If a review has a “BBB Verified Reviewer” icon on it, it means that not only has the customer verified their email with BBB, but also the business has responded and confirmed that the reviewer did have an interaction with their business. The business does not have to respond and/or verify all of their customer reviews.


Q: How long does do customer reviews stay on a company’s BBB Business Review?

A: Three years. This is the standard BBB reporting period.


Q: Can people post a negative customer review and file a formal BBB complaint on the same issue?

A: No. Consumers need to choose if they want BBB to help them with a resolution (complaint) or if they just wish to post a review (customer review) about their experience with the business.


Q: Can a customer retract or update a customer review?

A: Yes. If a business addresses a customer’s problem posted on a customer review, the customer can choose to withdraw the review by emailing BBB with the same email address used when submitting the review. They can also update the information in their original review.


Q: Can a business respond to a customer review?

A: BBB encourages businesses to respond to customer reviews. If a business doesn’t initially respond during the initial review process timeframe they can contact their local BBB to have the link re-activated so they can respond.


Q: Can a business post a link on its website and encourage people to post a review?

A: BBB Accredited Businesses can download special customer review icons and graphics that be used on their website and marketing materials to promote reading and submitting reviews.


Q: Is my personal information displayed?

A: BBB makes attempts to redact personally identifiable information as much as possible.


Q: Can a third party post a comment regarding a customer review?

A: Third-party comments are not permitted; only the reviewer and the business may add comments to a customer review. Those with similar experiences may either submit their own review or file a formal complaint.


Q: Is there a time limit for when a customer review can be filed and when the marketplace interaction occurred?

A: No.


Q: Does BBB track and monitor IP addresses of submitted customer reviews?

A: Yes. BBB tries its best to monitor IP addresses and if a trend is noticed, BBB will often reach out to the business and/or reviewers to investigate why so many reviews are coming from one IP address.


Q: Can a business have a positive BBB rating with and negative customer reviews, or vice versa?

A: Because the criteria for BBB ratings is different and separate from customer reviews, it is possible. The best practice at local BBBs is to monitor reviews and reach out and investigate any large discrepancies.


Q: What is the process for submitting a customer review with BBB?


1. User submits a review, and it is received by the local BBB

2. User receives an email and must click to verify their email address

3. Business is notified they have a customer review (typically email)

4. Business has three options to respond to the review: Ignore - Respond - Not My Customer

    • If ignored, after 3-10 days the review is posted (timeframe differs slightly among local BBBs,)
    • If a business response is provided, the review is posted immediately
    • If business claims “Not My Customer,” BBB alerts the user and requests substantiation of the marketplace interaction


Q: What are some of the safeguards in place to limit and discourage misuse?

A: User must provide email and click/verify to complete customer review submission process

  • User must certify, by actively checking a box, that the review is truthful and accurate
  • IPs are tracked and monitored, and can be blacklisted if necessary 
  • Businesses can challenge the review if they believe there was no interaction with the reviewer. BBB will reach back out to the reviewer and request substantiation of the marketplace interaction
  • Businesses that “prove” the reviewer isn’t truthful can have the review suspended while BBB investigates
  • If a complaint is filed by a consumer with the same email address, the customer review is suspended. Consumers cannot submit both a complaint and negative customer review.


Q: Why doesn't my review show up on the company's BBB Business Review?

A: Reviewers MUST verify their email address in order for their review to be published.