The Better Business Bureau offers bad business protection
Who are you going to call these days when you don’t know who you can trust when trying to get work done on your home or making an investment or other major purchase? With so much business online, there are many stories of businesses taking a customer’s money and then disappearing with no way to contact them. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) was created to give customers a voice to fight back.
The BBB was established in 1912 to help people looking for reputable businesses. Its formation was caused by a lawsuit against Coca Cola and other big companies over truth in advertising. Many small truth in business organizations were created in the initial response to this lawsuit long ago, but they all merged in 1946 to become what is now the BBB.
First and foremost, the BBB deals with consumer complaints about their experiences in the business market. The organization investigates complaints and publishes their findings, along with substantiated consumer reviews of companies, both positive and negative.
“While many consumer complaints are legitimate,” said James Price, Regional Manager, Central Tennessee Region, “we are looking into all of them. There was a used car company about which we received a complaint. The person who complained said that the company would not take back a car that had stopped working. Upon reviewing the complaint, we discovered that the person complaining was an Uber driver who had not done any maintenance on the car and had put 60,000 miles on it This was not a legitimate complaint.
For more than 100 years, the BBB has worked to build trust between businesses and communities, Price explained. Over the past century, the independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization has identified key things businesses can work on to build customer trust.
Although they list many companies on their website, rating them from A to F, the best companies are those that have been accredited by the BBB and display the organizations seal of approval. These companies must adhere to a specific set of standards, including honest advertising, telling the truth, being transparent, honoring promises, being responsive, protecting customer privacy, embodying integrity, and most importantly, building community trust.
“We don’t accredit all categories of businesses,” Price explained. “There are certain categories whose business practices are inherently untrustworthy.”
When a major dispute arises, the BBB often mediates between the two parties, acting as a non-partisan third party at no or minimal cost.
One of the things the BBB updates daily is its scam tracker. Price frequently goes on WGNS radio to alert the community to the latest scams going on in the area. He also speaks frequently to groups of elders, as they are the most exploited.
“I tell them not to make any purchases without first checking our website,” Price said. “And, we tell them never to answer calls from scammers. Don’t use the STOP button, it’s a response to a scammer. Completely ignore the call and remove the number from your phone.
Always looking for new ways to help build trust between businesses and the community, the BBB continues to add services. Many people don’t know that they now act like Angi. You can go through the BBB to get quotes on services from their accredited companies and have them sent to your email address.
They strive to promote great local businesses through their annual Torch Awards and Spark Awards. The Torch Awards honor and publicize companies that are dedicated to ethical practices and their commitment to promoting ethical practices in the marketplace by all companies in their category. The Spark Awards honor business owners 35 and under or business owners who have been in business for less than three years who demonstrate a high level of character and dedication to building a trustworthy marketplace .
“Our impact in the community is huge,” Price said. “We build credibility, provide greater visibility, and differentiate trustworthy companies from untrustworthy ones.”
Last year, the BBB reached more than 285 million people and saved consumers $2.6 billion through their scam alerts and the promotion of ethical business practices through their accredited business partners.
Dependent on non-governmental sources of funding, they are hosting their annual big fundraiser, a Songwriters Night at The Factory in Franklin on September 30, 2022. More information about the Songwriters Night can be found here.
“Standards are important,” he says, “because your customers are your livelihood. If you don’t meet their perceived expectations, they’ll find someone else who can.