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Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit accreditor of ethical businesses. The BBB also acts as a consumer watchdog for questionable sales tactics and scams.

Accreditation allows companies to be certified as legitimate and reputable businesses. For consumers, BBB offers free business reviews of over four million businesses and investigates complaints.

As an avenue for voluntary industry self-regulation, the BBB offers a business code that organizations can pledge to adhere to, paying a fee and receiving a BBB logo to display as a sign of reputability. The BBB also intermediates customer complaints in an official capacity. The organization resolves about 75 percent of more than 885,000 consumer complaints per year.

Fraudulent activities the BBB has dealt with, and raised awareness of, include telephone cruise contest frauds, “Can you hear me?” scams and various tech support scams.

Although the BBB is not affiliated with any government department and endorses no particular business, the organization itself isn't without controversy. The non-profit has been alleged to give higher ratings to businesses which pay a membership to the organization, a charge which they deny.

This was last updated in February 2017

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