Why Use the BBB?

When you need work done on your home, there’s a lot on your mind. It’s a costly venture inside your house (an already expensive endeavor), so you likely feel a strong pressure to get it right. Hiring the wrong contractor can lead to financial and emotional hassle. But many of us are not home repair experts. It helps to have a resource to use like the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB measures businesses by what it calls its Standards for Trust. These eight principles include the following: build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor promises, be responsive, safeguard privacy and embody integrity. For a business to receive accreditation from the BBB, they must maintain a good public track record and a B or better rating. If businesses do not uphold their commitment to these standards, their accreditation is revoked.

“[Accredited businesses] have a positive track record and made a commitment to high ethical standards of doing business. They recognize the necessity of trust and self-regulation to build our economy,” said Michael Cook, president and CEO of the BBB serving Southeast Louisiana.

For consumers looking to use the BBB, their first step should be to visit bbb.org. There, they can find information on accredited and non-accredited businesses alike. There will be a BBB rating, complaint history and customer reviews. The Get a Quote function allows users to quickly and easily contact multiple accredited businesses at once.

“When applicable, get everything in writing, check references, get multiple price quotes, and verify licenses and insurance,” said Cook.

Cook said the BBB provides a fuller picture for customers than other consumer review websites. If one person had a bad experience with the company, that quote can be front and center on some sites even if it is not indicative of the business’ overall body of work.

“Many times, the information is one-sided without the businesses giving their side or a remedy,” Cook said. “People trust the BBB because the information it provides is substantiated, objective and local.”

The latter point has always been important to the BBB’s mission for its 100 plus years of existence. Their goal is not to serve as an advocate for businesses or consumers, said Cook, but to be neutral, “a mutually respected intermediary to promote trustworthy business practices, resolve disputes, and provide information to assist consumers in making wise buying decisions.”