Better Business Bureau Offers Protection Against Bad Business


Who you gonna call these days when you are not sure who you can trust when trying to get work done on your home or make an investment or make about any other large purchase? With so much business taking place online, there are many stories of businesses taking a client’s money and then disappearing with no way to contact them. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) was formed to give customers a voice to fight back.

The BBB was created in 1912 to help people looking for trustworthy businesses. Its formation was caused by a legal action against Coca Cola and other large companies about truth in advertising. Many smaller truth-in-business organizations were created in initial response to that long-ago lawsuit, but they all merged in 1946 to become what is now the BBB.

First and foremost, the BBB handles complaints from consumers about their experiences in the business marketplace. The organization researches the complaints and publishes their findings, as well as substantiated consumer reviews of businesses both positive and negative.

“While many consumer complaints are legitimate,” said James Price, Regional Manager, Central Tennessee Region, “we vet them all. There was a used car company that we received a complaint about. The person complaining said the company would not take a car back that quit working. Looking into the complaint, we discovered that the person complaining was an Uber driver who didn’t do any maintenance on the car and put 60,000 miles on it.” That 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 last century the independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization has identified key items that businesses can work on to build customer trust.

While they list many businesses on their website, rating them A through F, the best businesses are those who have been accredited by the BBB and show the organizations’ seal of approval. These businesses must live up to a specific set of standards, including honest advertising, telling the truth, being transparent, honoring promises, being responsive, safeguarding client’s privacy, embodying integrity and most of all building community trust.

“We don’t accredit every business category,” explained Price. “There are some categories whose business practices are inherently untrustworthy.”

When a major dispute occurs, the BBB often mediates between the two parties, acting as a non-partisan third party for no fee or a minimal fee.

One of the things the BBB updates daily is their scam tracker. Price frequently goes on WGNS radio to alert the community about the latest scams that are taking place in the area. He also frequently speaks to groups of Seniors, as they are taken advantage of the most.

“I tell them to not make any purchase without looking at our website first,” said Price. “And, we tell them to never answer scammer calls. Don’t use the STOP button, that is a response to a scammer. Just ignore the call completely and delete the number from your phone.”

Always looking for new ways to help build trust between business and the community, the BBB keeps adding services. Many people do not know that they now act very much like Angi. You can go through the BBB to get quotes on services from their accredited businesses and have the quotes sent to your email.

They work to promote great local businesses through their annual Torch Awards and Spark Awards. The Torch Awards honor and publicize businesses that are dedicated to ethical practices and their dedication to promoting ethical practices in the marketplace by all businesses within their category. Spark Awards honor business owners 35 and under or business owners in business for less than three years who demonstrate a higher level of character and devotion to building a trustworthy marketplace.

“Our impact in the community is huge,” said Price. “We enhance credibility, provide greater exposure, and differentiate between trustworthy and untrustworthy businesses.”

Last year, the BBB reached more than 285 million people and saved consumers $2.6 billion due to their scam alerts and promotion of ethical business practices through their accredited business partners.

Dependent on non-governmental funding sources, they are having their annual major fundraiser, a songwriter’s night at The Factory in Franklin, on September 30, 2022. More information is available about songwriter’s night here.

“Standards are important,” he says, “because your customers are your livelihood. If you do not fulfill their perceived expectations, they will find someone else who can.”

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