What is a Reporting Agency?

September 30, 2015

By Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC

We are often asked what we do, I mean besides build a roster of Accredited Businesses and champion marketplace trust (in fact, that's only about 20% of what we do).  At our core we are a Reporting Agency.  

What exactly does that mean?

First we have to look at the term ‘qualified privilege.’ Wikipedia defines this as: The defense of qualified privilege permits persons in positions of authority or trust to make statements or relay or report statements that would be considered slander and libel if made by anyone else. The person or organization issuing the report usually has a legal, moral or social duty to make it and the recipient will have a corresponding interest in receiving it.

As a neutral third party, BBB reports information about businesses because it is in the public interest of safety and good business practices. If a business is receiving complaints due to questionable business ethics, we are allowed to report it. Conversely, our reporting process also allows us to indicate if the business is properly rectifying situations with their clients should they arise.  This is also where transparency in the marketplace is of paramount importance to BBB. We make every effort possible to make the business aware they have a complaint filed and reported and afford them every opportunity to respond to the complaint. All of this is public information and can be found in BBB Business Reviews database.

What we don’t do with our reported information and internal data!

There are numerous organizations that collect information on consumers and sell it to marketing companies. Credit bureaus are one example. BBB does not sell data on businesses in our database, accredited or otherwise, to marketing companies looking to capitalize or follow the money trail.

Many believe we report on businesses because we are government reporting agency. Nothing could be further from the truth. BBB has never been funded by the government in our 100+ years in existence. We are simply a not for profit organization with long held beliefs in how businesses and consumers should act with respect to service and transactions. Our ability to report is solely funded by our Accredited Businesses who passed our stringent guidlines for Accreditation, because they believe in transparency as strongly as we do.