Some people think the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can shut businesses down or force them to take action on any complaint. Others seem to think we’re a government agency.
In truth, the BBB is a nonprofit business-supported organization that promotes trust in business through voluntary self-regulation. BBB Accredited Businesses promise to uphold our standards, one of which is to be responsive to consumers.
We can't force anyone to respond, but if they're accredited and they fail to do so, we can strip them of their BBB accreditation. That's what happened this week with three firms, Royal Solutions LLC, Lucas Update LLC and John Wood Roofing. It's unfortunate, but a necessary part of the BBB's mission to uphold trust in the marketplace. Details of the expulsions are in today's press release.
But back to how the BBB handles disputes. We take complaints that fall into the following categories:
- Advertising Concerns
- Billing or Collection Issues
- Contract Concerns
- Poor Customer Service
- Delivery Issues
- Guarantee or Warranty Problems
- Product Issues
- Refund or Exchange Concerns
- Repair Issues
- Sales Practice Concerns
- Service-Related Problems
Some complaints are beyond the scope of what the BBB handles. Generally we do not handle employment disputes, disputes regarding pricing, discrimination complaints or complaints about the quality of professional services, such as medical, dental or legal services. If either party has filed a lawsuit, the BBB will not take the complaint.
The BBB also receives complaints about scams, such as fake checks, foreign lotteries or work-at-home schemes. In many cases, there is little the BBB can do about such complaints because the scammers are overseas or the consumer has no valid way to contact the business.
The BBB recommends that consumers first attempt to resolve their dispute by talking with the business about the problem. If the company is unresponsive, consumers can file complaints on our website (https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started). The St. Louis BBB also accepts complaints by telephone during business hours at 314-645-3300.
Other BBB services can help consumers avoid problems in the first place. BBB Business Reviews are available online. The reviews show how many complaints a company has and how the company has responded. If a company has many unresolved complaints, it may be best to avoid doing business with the company.