14 Top Better Business Bureau Checking Tips

Business Bureau Checking: The Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) is a non-profit consumer protection agency that operates in the United States and Canada.

The BBB gathers and compiles information about businesses of all sizes, which it then uses to prepare reports on each business.

These reports are made available to consumers, with the intent of establishing a trustworthy business community.

Businesses are given a grade between A+ and F depending on multiple factors that affect their reliability and trustworthiness.

Knowing how to check a business at the Better Business Bureau will allow you to see if any complaints have been filed against the business.

It will also give you access to the BBB’s report on that business

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Business Bureau Checking: 
Business Bureau Checking:  https://canadabusiness.ca

Business Bureau Checking:

1. Make sure you know the name and correct spelling of the business.

Due to differences in business structures, it may be difficult for you to locate the report for a particular company.

So visit the company’s official website in order to find the correct spelling.

  • The Better Business Bureau may have the report filed under the parent company’s name.
  • Check the company’s website to see if it is a subsidiary of a larger parent organization.

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Business Bureau Checking:

2. Visit BBB’s website.

Navigate your web browser to the BBB website and choose your country of residence.

Next, enter either your city and state/province OR postal code in order to go to your local area BBB’s webpage.

Don’t worry if the business you are searching for is located in a different city or state.

Searching through your local BBB’s webpage still allows you to search the entire BBB database.

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Business Bureau Checking:

3. Search for the company.

Type the name of the company in the search form, and specify the location of the business by city or zip code.

Click the “Search” button to begin the search.

You can also search by a specific industry category.

In order to find new businesses that you may be interested in engaging with.

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Business Bureau Checking:

4. Navigate to the business’s profile page.

Look through the search results until you find the business.

Click on the company’s name to arrive at their profile page.

From here, you can access all the information that the BBB has made available about the company.

The information on the report is provided by the companies and is not directly verified by the BBB. You can either click to:

  • Read BBB’s Report on this Business
  • File a Complaint
  • Submit a Customer Review

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Business Bureau Checking:

5. Check the business’s BBB rating.

The rating, which will range from A+ to F, will be displayed prominently at the top of the profile page.

Click the link reading “Reason for Rating” to learn more about the factors determining the company’s rating. Occasionally, businesses will be listed on the BBB website but will not have a rating.

This means that the BBB has not gathered enough information on the company to issue a rating.

The BBB ratings grade are based on a business’s:

  • Type of business and time in industry.
  • Complaint history with BBB.
  • Engagement in transparent business practices.
  • Failure to honor BBB commitments.
  • Known advertising issues.
  • Licensing and government actions brought against the business.

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Business Bureau Checking:

6. Check to see if any complaints have been filed against the business.

Consumers can file official complaints against a business with the BBB.

And these complaints (and their status) are available on the “Complaints” tab on the profile page.

Complaints are listed for the last three years.

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Business Bureau Checking:

7. Read customer reviews.

Consumers can post reviews outlining their own personal experiences with the business.
Customer reviews are great for learning about how the business delivers specific services.
In addition to being able to read customer reviews, the BBB website also allows consumers to rate their customer experience based on whether they had a positive experience, neutral experience or negative experience.
When provided there is also the option to see trends in customer review experiences.

8. Consider filing a complaint with the BBB.

Part of the reason why the BBB is so respected is that they allow consumers across the country to report businesses through the use of the same complaint filing formats and procedures.

Once the complaint is received the BBB acts as an impartial mediator and provides access to dispute resolution tools in order to resolve the complaint.

  • The additional value of the BBB, aside from just mitigating the complaint process, is the BBB’s ability to collect and make public information and data regarding consumer interactions with specific businesses.

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Business Bureau Checking:

9. Determine whether a complaint needs to be filed with the BBB.

If you have had an unpleasant experience with the company you searched for.

It may be a good idea to file a complaint in order to hopefully prevent future consumers from also having a similarly bad experience.

The BBB handles complaints between consumers and businesses.

They do not handle employment law disputes, discrimination or healthcare claims, nor matters currently or already litigated.

  • The BBB suggests, but does not require consumers to first try to resolve the issue with the business before commencing the official BBB complaint filing process.
  • The BBB logs complaints in 5 different areas: advertising and sales issues, billing and collection issues, problems with product or service, delivery issues, and guarantee or warranty issues.

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10. Submit your BBB complaint online.

You can submit a complaint through the BBB online website.

Within two business days all information that you submitted is forwarded to the business, who will then have 14 days to respond.

If the response is not received within 14 days, the BBB will send the business a second complaint.

BBB will provide you with an update regarding whether a response has been received or not.

BBB complaints are typically resolved within 30 business days.

  • The BBB cannot force a business to reply to complaint since it has no legal authority.
  • It can cancel BBB memberships for those business members who do not adhere to the standards all BBB members voluntarily agree to follow.

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Business Bureau Checking:

11. Go through the BBB complaint resolution process.

The BBB collects information from both parties in the complaint and employs various dispute resolution tactics in order to prevent the dispute from going to court.

The different dispute resolution processes that the BBB facilitates includes: 

  • The BBB can provide a trained mediator to assist both you and the business with coming to mutually-agreed-upon solutions for the dispute at issue.
  • Informal dispute resolution is provided by a professionally-trained hearing officer who listens and makes non-binding decisions aimed at resolving the dispute.
  • Binding arbitration is provided by a trained arbitrator who listens to both parties, weighs in on the evidence presented and renders a decision regarding dispute resolution which all parties must follow. In order for arbitration to be binding, both parties must agree to accept the arbitration decision.

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Business Bureau Checking:

12. Don’t put too much weight on the fact that a company is BBB accredited.

Though the BBB is a great resource for accessing detailed information about a business, the BBB has come under some criticism for how much weight the public places on the BBB accreditation process.

This is because the BBB accreditation process only requires the submission of an application and fee to the BBB, as well as the business’s agreement to adhere to abstract standards such as operating with transparency.

  • Consider BBB accreditation as being more like a club membership, as opposed to being a true certification of business excellence. Though BBB accreditation indicates that a business values its’ relationship with the public, this does not mean that the BBB has conducted a substantial, in-depth, on-site review of the company and its operations.

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Business Bureau Checking:

13. Compare information found on the BBB website to information from other consumer-focused business review sites.

Unlike the BBB, some companies such as Angie’s List rely on membership fees from consumers and not businesses. As a result, there is less of an incentive for Angie’s List to inflate ratings, or to otherwise act for the benefit of listed businesses. Though all of these companies also rely on business advertisements, using multiple websites to check out a company is a great way to get a clear picture of a business, its practices, and its interactions with the public.

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Business Bureau Checking:

14. Consider using industry-specific sources to check on a company.

The BBB provides general information about companies, and sometimes the more specific information gets lost in the bigger picture. Take the time to locate more specialised industry-specific sources that review and provide information about businesses. For example, if you are checking on a computer parts company, consider looking at reviews on PCWorld.com, or other sources related to computers.


  • The BBB is a nonprofit organization supported by fees from its member organizations. It has no legal powers other than publicity and cannot force any business to rectify a complaint. The BBB’s main value to consumers is its’ ability to publicize and track the unfavorable practices of specifically identified businesses.
  • Many, especially small local businesses, are not members of the BBB and do not provide information. Lack of membership by itself should not be cause for undue alarm.
  • While being a paid member of the BBB is not a factor in the ratings according to the BBB, there have been complaints that non-members do not receive the high scores of paid business members.
  • Anyone can file a complaint and a review – whether or justified or not. Consider carefully before placing too much reliance on any single complaint or customer review.
  • You can compare the reports of similar businesses through the BBB website. Just search for a general term such as “plumbers” to see a list of all plumbing businesses in the area specified.

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