Becoming Familiar with the Better Business Bureau

Sep 16, 2015

Who hasn't contacted a customer service center only to spend countless minutes, possibly hours, feeling as though you are walking repeatedly through a revolving door over and over only to end up with no resolution or an unsatisfactory resolution to your problem?  If you’ve run into poor service and feel as if there is nothing you can do, please know there is an avenue you can attempt for assistance, and that is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). 

BBB, Connecticut  was founded in 1928, and is an "unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior.” BBB is a private not-for-profit organization, not a government or law enforcement agency. BBB acts as an impartial third party to try to assist both the consumer and business at no cost, in order to resolve the complaint outside of the legal system.

In addition to complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses, the BBB can help you find businesses (or charities) you can trust. If you are looking to hire a company you haven’t worked with previously, say a pest exterminator or a residential paving company, you can use BBB to research the company and quickly find out how they rate, any complaints that may have been filed, and the outcomes of the complaints. Note that not all companies are registered with the BBB.  

A Business Review shows how long the company has been in business, the products or services the company offers, and provides a rating and summarizes the company’s customer experience history. Just like in school, an A rating is what you want! Here is a snapshot of the BBB Dispute Resolution Process:  


(1) Customer Files Complaint with
BBB
(2) BBB forwards complaint to business
(3) Business asked to respond

(4) Customer notified of business response.  


The
BBB’s goal is to close the dispute within 30 business days. 

Here is a real-life example of a time I utilized the BBB. In October 2014 I canceled an auto refill prescription with a mail order prescription service. In December I received the auto refill (of the prescription I previously canceled.) I returned the unopened prescription via USPS, signature confirmation. It cost me less than $6.00 to return via signature confirmation and I was able to verify that the company received the return shortly after. In March, I received a collection notice from the company for that $50.00 prescription I returned. After attempting to resolve verbally by a phone call and waiting five days for someone at the company to call me back, I filed a complaint with the BBB. The BBB contacted the company the next day, and on that same day, the company responded to BBB stating they’d updated my account to indicate a zero balance and apologize for the error. The issue was resolved within two business days with the help of the BBB. 

If you have a problem with a company located in Connecticut BBB’s service area and you have been unable to resolve it with the company, the BBB is likely to be able to assist. Complaints can be submitted online using the BBB’s complaint form  or by telephone, at 860-740-4500.  Please note that the BBB is not able to compel a company to respond to a customer complaint. If a consumer/business dispute cannot be resolved informally with assistance from BBB’s complaint staff or through face-to-face mediation, the case may be referred to binding arbitration. BBB maintains a roster of trained volunteer arbitrators who hear the arguments of both parties at a meeting conducted at Connecticut Better Business Bureau, and then render a legally-binding decision to settle the case. Some complaints not handled by the BBB are the following: discrimination claims; matters that are or have been litigated; workplace disputes; claims about the quality of health or legal services.

Tyra Peluso is the Vice Chair of the Personal & Professional Development Committee. She works at the Public Utility Regulatory Authority.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Suzanne Hoyer 28 Jan
    This is a great blog!  I had no idea of what the BBB's mission is, and this is really helpful.  I just wish all CT businesses were required to register with the BBB - it would be such a great resource!

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