Top 5 Things Your BBB Does NOT Do

October 27, 2015

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

Better Business Bureau has been around for over 100 years yet there are often misconceptions about what it is we do and do not do. For decades the public has turned to us to file complaints and to access our free dispute resolution system. In the digital age the public has access to BBB Business Reviews, and more recently, online Customer Reviews.

We are a reporting agency that does its part to ensure a ethical and responsive marketplace. We also offer BBB Accreditation to those businesses who want to be part of an association that benefits the community as a whole and aligns with their own sense of business ethics. As a not -for-profit and non-governmental organization, there are areas that BBB does not get involved with.

Here are the top 5 things that BBB does not do (just to clear up any confusion):

  1. BBB is not an enforcement agency. We cannot command a business to comply with a consumer complaint nor can we force a consumer to accept what a business may offer in terms of resolution. Our job is to get the two parties to the table to try and reach an amicable solution. It is very possible a consumer or business may still be unhappy with the result at which point they need to decide if further steps are necessary. If litigation is started, BBB would no longer be involved. However, even if a company faces litigation it will have little impact on their BBB rating. As far as we are concerned the company made a good faith effort to resolve the issue. BBB does not enforce ad reviews. An ad review is done to correct false or misleading advertising. We can ask a business to change their advertising to bring it into compliance with the BBB Code of Advertising but we can't force them to make that change. That said, a BBB Accredited Business is obligated to make changes if asked or they stand to lose their Accreditation.

  2. We do not offer A+ grades to join BBB: BBB has been accused in the past of ‘pay to play’ tactics in order to get a good rating on our website and generate revenue. This we do not do. Businesses MUST be able to adhere to our Standards of Trust in order to be considered for accreditation. On average, Accredited Businesses have better letter grades on their BBB Business Review because they have to. As an Accredited Business they are obligated to maintain a B+ standing or risk having their accreditation revoked; this DOES happen and BBB loses those fees.

  3. Health practitioner complaints: BBB does not deal with complaints relating to services provided by a doctor or other health practitioners. These professions normally have their own associations or regulatory bodies that deal with these types of complaints.

  4. Take sides: BBB is a neutral third party. While we do have many A+ rated businesses in our database, we do neither recommend nor discourage any business to consumers. We collect information on businesses and publish legitimate complaints and indicate how a business deals with them so that consumers can make an informed decision when purchasing a product or service.

  5. Product issues or recalls: Fundamentally BBB is concerned about service received and whether or not a business is responsive to complaints. We do not accept complaints that deal with faulty equipment or product recalls. These can become a legal issue and fall outside BBB purview. That said, we do hope businesses follow their own return policies and warranties.


If you have any further questions about BBB, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. 604-682-2711