DENVER (CBS4) The Better Business Bureau (BBB) was established as a business membership organization, but has developed a reputation as a consumer advocacy organization as well. The BBB works as an arbitrator between customer and company or charity. It’s also a place many consumers are going to research businesses before they hire them.
The BBB holds no legal authority. It definitely holds some weight when consumers are making spending choices and also when a consumer wants some resolution with a company.
The Bureau reports that 2 million consumers inquired about a business or a charity in the Denver – Boulder area last year. That’s the highest number in the BBB’s 100 year history.
“Honestly, I think they’re just checking before they do business, and I believe that number is going to get higher and higher,” said Suzanne Bacon, Vice President of Operations at the Better Business Bureau.
Most people are checking online. The BBB’s A+ through F rating system comes with detailed information about why that business earned their score. Consumers can find out if a business has been indicted or if there is an alert for bad behavior.
“Out date is updated almost every minute,” Bacon added.
In addition to millions of inquiries, the BBB fielded 25,000 complaints last year. According to their records, the Bureau was able to resolve complaints against BBB accredited businesses 98-percent of the time. For non-accredited companies, the BBB resolved 83-percent of complaints.
What’s becoming more clear is that consumers are paying attention, so if you’re a company you should take note.
“Respond to complaints. If you get a complaint, we’re not saying that you have to give that consumer a full refund, we just want to hear your side of the story,” Bacon explained.
Not responding to a complaint can drive down your rating with the Better Business Bureau, something any consumer can access for free.
Sometimes a company you want to research doesn’t show up on the BBB Web site. The Bureau says give them a call and they’ll open a new file on that business, investigate it, and give the business a rating.
– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith