Ratings Q and A


Why did the BBB decide to start giving letter ratings?

A 2006 survey of both businesses and consumers strongly indicated that to remain competitive and relevant in the 21st century, BBB reliability reports would need to contain more substance, more detail, more data. Due to software design and testing, as well as decisions about factors and weighting, this innovation of letter grades has actually been more than three years in development. We think the substance and value of what we’re now providing will drive more users to the BBB—and more buyers to Accredited Businesses.

The A+ through F letter-grade scale represents the 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.

How often will you be reviewing my report and rating?

As always, our database is continuously updated every day through routine BBB operations. The reporting period for BBB reports will continue to be a rolling three-year window. Accreditation status, complaint activity, licensing status changes, governmental action, etc. will be reflected as they occur.

How can I raise my rating?

Some factors are discretionary and can be affected by your business practices: how many complaints reach the BBB, how promptly you respond, whether your advertising is challenged. Other rating factors are non-discretionary, such as the weighting of the industry you are in and the amount of time you have been in business. If you have questions about your reliability report you can contact the Better Business Bureau directly.

BBB Accredited Businesses Services: 604.681.0312
Other Non-Accredited Business Inquiries: 604.682.2711

Can I advertise my rating on my web site and in other advertising?

1. BBB ratings may not be advertised in directory publications (e.g., publications with business listings such as theYellow Pages) unless the directory advertising can be immediately revised if the BBB rating changes.

2. Upon learning of a change in their BBB rating, businesses must immediately correct any advertising that includesthe BBB rating.

3. BBB Accredited Businesses may not advertise their BBB rating anywhere they are not permitted to advertise their BBB accreditation.

BBB Accredited Businesses are encouraged to include the BBB Accredited Business seal/logo or a statement ofBBB accreditation in conjunction with any advertising of the BBB rating.

Can my competitors refer to my rating in their ads?

No. Language from BBB reports, including ratings, has never been allowed for sales or promotional purposes by competitors.

What are the factors that go into a business’s rating?

  • BBB experience with the industry in which the business operates
  • The business’s length of time in operation
  • Information on required competency licensing
  • Government actions against the business related to marketplace activities
  • Advertising issues evaluated by BBB
  • The number of complaints to BBB from the business’s customers
  • Complaints to BBB from the business’s customers that are serious in nature
  • Whether the business has responded to complaints received by BBB
  • Whether complaints have been resolved in a timely manner or the business has demonstrated a good faith effort to resolve them
  • Whether the business has honored commitments to BBB to arbitrate disputes and comply with arbitrator decisions
  • Whether the business has provided BBB with background/operational information
  • Whether the business is a BBB Accredited Business

In most cases, complaint history drives a business’s letter-grade rating. Nearly 85 percent of the scoring is determined by consumer-reported complaints that have been verified and evaluated by BBB, such as the number of complaints, the severity of complaints and how a business resolves complaints.

Do you guarantee the reliability of companies that are rated?

No. The grade represents 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. In all cases, users should also read and consider the full report, which includes more information and details.

What does NR mean?

No Rating. Generally, BBB assigns a business an “NR” (No Rating) under the following circumstances:

  • Type of business is not appropriate for BBB rating (i.e., psychics, astrologers, spiritualists, etc.).
  • BBB doesn’t have enough information on the business and/or hasn’t had sufficient time to assess the business.
  • BBB has determined business is no longer operating.

What does the factor “BBB’s experience with the industry in which the business operates” mean?

The term specifically applies to types of businesses (industries) that are generally scams, or that there are consistent, inherent problems associated with a given business model.

Will larger businesses receive lower grades because they likely will receive more complaints due to the sheer volume of business they do?

No. The scoring and weighting system factors this in.

Why is length of time in operation a factor?

How long a company has been in business is one of the first things people consider when researching a company to hire. They want to have a degree of confidence that the business has experience and a track record, so the points system factors this in.

Are BBB Accredited Businesses guaranteed a higher grade than non-accredited businesses?


Why are BBB Accredited Businesses getting points?

Grades represent the 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 – and a accreditation raises the level of confidence. To be accredited, a business has been thoroughly reviewed by the BBB, meets the organization’s high standards for integrity and reliability when dealing with consumers, signs a contract with the BBB to continue to abide by these standards, and supports the BBB's efforts to educate and protect the public. In addition, under this agreement, they must work with the BBB to resolve complaints in a timely manner that is equitable for the consumer.

Is it fair that BBB receives money from Accredited Businesses?

Like most standards-based organizations that provide accreditation, we charge a business for the time and costs associated with reviewing and monitoring their organization. As a result, we are able to provide many important and valuable services to the general consumer free of charge, such as the BBB Reliability Reports.

Why do you (how can you) rate non-accredited businesses?

The more information we can provide the public, the better informed they are to make a good choice when hiring a business. Therefore, when we have sufficient information to evaluate a business based on more than a dozen factors, we will provide a report and subsequent letter grade.