Frequently Asked Questions about the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
What is the meaning of BBB?
BBB stands for the Better Business Bureau.
What is the BBB?
For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. Millions of people turn to BBB each year to view BBB Business Profiles and Charity Reports all available for free on BBB.org. BBB Accredited Businesses support the mission and vision of BBB, and their dues and contributions allow BBB to offer its information and services to consumers at no charge. The Better Business Bureau is not affiliated with any governmental agency.
When did BBB start?
BBB was founded in 1912 and is a private, nonprofit organization focused on advancing marketplace trust. More on our mission and vision here.
How do I find and contact my local BBB office?
Use our BBB Directory to find a BBB location near you. Your BBB serves businesses, charities, and consumers in your community.
How do I check a company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
Go to BBB.org and enter the company name and location of the business (if known) into the search box. You may also contact your local BBB office that serves your community.
How do I check a company’s BBB accreditation?
A BBB Accredited Business will display the BBB Seal of Accreditation on its Business Profile. On BBB.org/search, you can filter to only see Accredited Businesses.
Does BBB report only on Accredited Businesses?
No. BBB reports on accredited and non-accredited businesses alike. Our business profiles display a business's accreditation status.
How do I become BBB Accredited? My business is interested in learning more about accreditation.
If you are interested in applying for accreditation, first review the BBB Accreditation Standards. To become a BBB Accredited Business, visit http://www.peratalk.com/become-accredited to get started.
What are the standards for BBB Accreditation? What does my business need to have to be considered for BBB Accreditation?
Our Standards of Accreditation are built on our BBB Standards for Trust. The BBB Standards for Trust, eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business, are a comprehensive set of best practices for how businesses should treat the public in a fair and honest manner. Businesses with a good marketplace track record, including maintaining a B or better rating, may apply to become a BBB Accredited Business.
Does BBB monitor BBB Accredited Businesses for continuing compliance with standards?
Yes. Every BBB Accredited Business is monitored for continuing adherence to BBB Standards for Trust.
What is BBB’s Rating System?
BBB ratings represent the BBB's opinion of how the business is likely to interact with its customers. The BBB rating is based on information BBB is able to obtain about the business, and is significantly influenced by complaints received from the public. BBB seeks and uses information directly from businesses and from public data sources. Find more information about our rating system here.
BBB maintains Business Profiles on more than 5.4 million companies, including a letter grade rating that presents BBB’s opinion of the business’s responsiveness to customers based on complaines filed with BBB file information about the business. The BBB Rating System uses points based on marketplace behavior, including how the business responds to consumer complaints, transparency, truthful advertising, and more. In some cases, a business’s grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite requests for the information. The rating system automatically updates the letter grade when new information is added to the file, such as current size of business or new complaints.
Can BBB recommend a reputable business for me to deal with?
Our basic policy is to refrain from recommending or endorsing any business, product or service. This is done to ensure continued public trust in our fairness. BBB Accredited Businesses must meet certain standards to qualify for accreditation and to remain accredited. You can search on our website for BBB Accredited Businesses by location and/or industry by using the BBB Accredited filter on any set of results in a category. BBB Accredited Businesses are clearly marked with the accreditation seal.
How do I file a complaint, post a customer review, or report a scam, or a bad ad?
• File a complaint against a business at BBB.org/complain.
• Leave a customer review for a business you’ve used at BBB.org/Leave-a-Review.
• Report a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money) at BBB.org/ScamTracker.
• Report a questionable or deceptive ad at BBB.org/Ad-Truth.
What is a BBB Complaint?
BBB handles disputes that relate to marketplace issues experienced with the services or products a business provides. The complaint must meet our acceptance guidelines. BBB contacts the business and asks for a response. Read about our BBB complaint process here.
How do I file a complaint with the BBB on a business?
Start here with our online complaint form to file a complaint on a business with the Better Business Bureau.
Are BBB reviews the same as BBB complaints?
No, reviews are not considered as part of a company’s rating, as complaints are. A consumer files a complaint when the consumer wants BBB’s help to resolve a dispute with a company, usually (but not always) involving a monetary claim, and wants to share the outcome with the public. Customer reviews allow consumers to share with BBB and the public their opinion – good or bad – about companies with which they had a marketplace interaction. Unlike most review sites, BBB requires consumers to provide their name and shares this information with the business to confirm the interaction and prompt a response. This and other measures help maintain the integrity of BBB’s customer reviews by reducing the incidence of fake reviews. More about BBB Customer Reviews.
How can I write a review of a business?
Go to our Leave a Review page to leave a review for a business.
Two additional ways for consumers to share information with BBB about substandard marketplace behavior are BBB Scam Tracker, where you can report a scam to other consumers (whether or not you’ve lost money), and BBB AdTruth, where you can share with us questionable or deceptive ads.
How can I report a scam?
Alert the public about your experience with a scam by completing a scam report at BBB Scam Tracker.
What can BBB do to stop rip-offs and scams?
Although BBB does not have legal and policing powers, we alert the public about marketplace fraud through alerts on scams. BBB works closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, providing them with valuable information on potential frauds. We are often the first organization to know about a developing scam and alert authorities and the public. When a scam develops in one part of North America, the news travels quickly between BBB offices that, in turn, alert the public in their communities. Read more on recent scams on our BBB Scam Tips page.
If BBB funding comes from businesses, how does the organization ensure fairness to consumers?
BBB’s value to the business community is based on our marketplace neutrality. Our purpose is not to act as an advocate for businesses or consumers, but to act as a mutually trusted intermediary to promote trustworthy business practices, resolve disputes and provide information to assist consumers in making wise buying decisions. Businesses have supported BBB for more than 100 years because a trustworthy marketplace is in everyone's best interest.
What do BBBs do besides resolve customer complaints?
BBBs do a lot more than help settle disputes. Through the support of their BBB Accredited Businesses, BBBs work for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses, and providing information to consumers before they purchase products and services. BBBs also provide many services to local businesses and consumers in their communities; find your local BBB here.
Does BBB report on government agency actions against businesses?
Yes, BBB reports on actions against businesses and/or their principals brought by government agencies that involve legal or regulatory violations that are relevant to consumers. This information can be found in BBB Business Profiles.
Does BBB report on private and small claims court actions against businesses?
Private lawsuits are generally not reported on by BBB. However, BBB may report on criminal convictions against a business or its principals if the matter relates to the business's marketplace dealings with the public.
What is the IABBB?
The International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB) is the network hub for BBBs in the US, Canada and Mexico. Like BBBs, IABBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers -- instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all. IABBB and BBB National Programs are separate but related nonprofit organizations that coordinate to fulfill this mission in different ways, in place of the former Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB).
How can I report a problem with a BBB or IABBB?
If you've experienced a problem with a BBB office or employee or with IABBB, please report it here.