Why Should I Check BBB Ratings?

You have probably heard of the Better Business Bureau, or the BBB for short, and realize that they rate business’s performance but may have never understood just how helpful checking this information can be. Checking BBB ratings is one of the easiest ways to find unbiased information regarding the reliability and performance of businesses before you decide to give them your business. The rating scale utilized by the BBB is fairly simple and easy to understand (ratings range from A+ to F), but the comprehensive research behind these ratings is what makes them truly useful.

Before coming up with a rating, the BBB evaluates businesses on the following categories:

  • Complaint History: Their research on complaint history comprises 85% of a business’s score, and takes into account the number of complaints filed with the BBB within the last 36 months, the severity of the complaints, how quickly and in what manner the business responded, and whether or not the underlying cause of the complaints has been addressed.
  • Size of the Business: This is done to establish a ratio between the number of complaints and average number of clients served.
  • Type of Business: Businesses that violate the law or misrepresent the products or services that they provide will receive an F rating. Businesses that generate high customer dissatisfaction due to the inherent nature of the products or services that they offer (i.e. payday loan offices) will receive no higher than a C rating.
  • Time in Business: The greater the length of time a business has been in operation, the more points a business will receive for this category.
  • Background Information: Although this information is not legally required, businesses get lower ratings if they fail to provide it.
  • Commitment Track Record: If a business has failed to uphold commitments to either the government or patrons in the past, this will negatively impact their rating.
  • Licensing: The BBB regularly checks to make sure its accredited businesses have their required licensing, and occasionally performs checks for businesses not seeking accreditation.
  • Advertising Issues: The BBB also checks to make sure that businesses are not misusing the BBB name and are reporting accurate information to customers with regards to their ratings.

This is a tremendous amount of information, and having it all reviewed and compiled into a single rating can make one’s life a lot simpler when searching for information on the best car dealership, bank, etc. to work with. One should know that the information above is willingly provided by the businesses, but the BBB routinely checks to verify this information especially if they are aware of conflicting information. Also, if not enough information is available, the BBB will leave a business unranked. Finally, now that you know what information is compiled to come up with the BBB ratings, it is important to remember that these ratings do not guarantee a business’s reliability or superb performance in every instance, but they can provide a decent idea of what to expect when engaging with BBB rated merchants.


Overview of BBB Grade. Better Business Bureau, 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2012

Wendy Clay

Wendy Clay

Wendy Clay is a Virginia Community College System graduate and a current undergraduate at the University of North Carolina. She is pursuing a degree in public health with a minor in exercise and sports science and plans to attend medical school upon the completion of her degree. She has diligently served those around her for many years as a tutor for rural school children and as an advocate in the fight against hunger in her community and around the world.

At The University of North Carolina Wendy plans to actively participate in a student group, Health Focus, which will enable her to use her knowledge and love for health and nutrition to educate youth in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area. She also hopes to promote voter registration amongst her fellow students.
Wendy Clay