BBB Serving Wisconsin served consumers and businesses throughout the state more than 5,611,450 times in 2016.
BBB published 6,717 customer reviews (either positive, negative or neutral) to our website, which was an increase of 5 percent from 2015. Customer reviews were viewed by the public 201,667 times, an increase of 33 percent.
Submissions to BBB Scam Tracker, an important, interactive tool for consumers throughout the U.S. and Canada to report scams and fraud, continued to increase. Scam Tracker allows the BBB to collect, track, and share the information with media, law enforcement, and the public. To date, almost 58,000 scams have been reported throughout North America, more than 1,700 in Wisconsin.
Consumers viewed free BBB Business Profiles on businesses and charities 2,547,070 times in 2016, a 9-percent increase.
BBB served 15,589 telephone callers and an additional 2,315 consumers who connected to BBB through the “live chat” function on our website.
The number of complaints processed within our purview was 9,185. The BBB was able to obtain responses for 89 percent (an increase of 3 percent) of the complaints, thanks to a strong commitment by Wisconsin businesses to customer engagement and their brand reputation.
BBB complaint detail gives people seeking trustworthy businesses more information from which they can base their decision. Complaint detail was viewed by the public 228,320 times (an increase of 10 percent).
Monitoring of advertising is also a core service of BBB. In 2016, BBB challenged 252 ads for questionable claims, a 77-percent increase. BBB requested immediate cease and desist from unauthorized users of its logo, requested substantiation of certain advertising claims and, in some cases, asked companies to modify their advertising to eliminate false or misleading information.
In addition, BBB Serving Wisconsin conducted 113 investigations and sent 50 press releases to the public including informational pieces, business alerts, and scam notifications. This resulted in more than 1,970 TV, radio and newspaper stories. BBB Serving Wisconsin also continued posting regular, sometimes-weekly blogs for various online and print publications, including Patch.com, Now.com, and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS) online publications. BBB press releases are sent out regularly and can be found on the home page of our website under “news.”
A popular event, ShredFest, was held in May for the tenth consecutive year. ShredFest is BBB’s bi-annual free community shredding event held in Milwaukee, Appleton and Madison. BBB Serving Wisconsin and its Foundation helped thousands of people avoid identity theft by collecting, shredding and recycling 47 tons of personal documents in 2016. For information on the May 6, 2017 ShredFest (Milwaukee) and June 3, 2017 (Appleton) events click here.
In 2016, 6,678 of Wisconsin accredited businesses chose to reaffirm their commitment to the BBB’s Standards of Trust, a 2-percent increase.
BBB Serving Wisconsin increased its social media presence to more than 6,487 followers on Twitter and 23,204 “likes” on Facebook, a combined increase of 8 percent.
BBB offers free “Request a Quote” opportunities for consumers through its website. Choosing to “request a quote” allows a person to obtain free quotes, estimates, information or proposals from BBB accredited businesses. In 2016 the Wisconsin BBB forwarded 3,808 requests for quotes to accredited businesses, a 7-percent increase.
In April, BBB awarded 10 scholarships to Wisconsin High School seniors who demonstrated high character, leadership, and ethical values. Each of the ten students received a $2,500 scholarship to attend an accredited college of their choice. The 2016 “Student of Integrity” scholarship was sponsored by the BBB of Wisconsin Foundation, Baird, Brewers Community Foundation, Briggs & Stratton, Dave Jones, Inc., Horizons Law Group, LLC, We Energies Foundation, with additional contributions from chairman Roger Schroeder, Robert Bradley, Donna Conant, Paul Sara, and William D. Goodman.
BBB of Wisconsin Foundation has given scholarship gifts to students totaling $102,500 since 2010.