What To Know About the Better Business Bureau and Financial Products

When navigating the world of financial products like auto loans, investment brokerages, or financial advisors, it’s crucial to vet the companies you’re considering. But where do you start? One popular resource is the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but understanding how it works can be a bit complex. Let’s break it down in simple terms.

What is the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?

The BBB isn’t a government agency; it’s a nonprofit organization with regional offices across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Founded in 1912, its mission is to build trust between consumers and businesses. Here’s how it helps:

  1. Rating System: The BBB rates businesses based on their responsiveness to customers, not necessarily on how good their products or services are.
  2. Review System: Customers can leave reviews to share their experiences with a company.
  3. Accreditation: Businesses can become accredited by meeting certain criteria, signaling they’ve gone the extra mile to be trustworthy.
  4. Complaint Process: The BBB offers a platform for consumers to file complaints against businesses and aims to resolve them.
  5. Reporting Scams: It provides a channel to report scams or deceptive advertising.

How BBB Ratings Work

Contrary to popular belief, BBB ratings don’t necessarily reflect how good a business is. Instead, they indicate how likely a business is to respond to customers. Ratings range from A+ to F and consider factors like complaint history, business transparency, and government actions.

What Does BBB Accreditation Mean?

Businesses can pay to become accredited by the BBB, which allows them to use the BBB logo and signals trustworthiness. To maintain accreditation, businesses must uphold certain standards like advertising honestly and resolving complaints promptly.

Filing a Complaint

Consumers can file complaints against businesses through the BBB, which acts as a mediator. Accredited businesses are expected to respond within a set timeframe, and complaints are typically resolved within 30 days.

Benefits and Criticisms of BBB Ratings

While the BBB can be a valuable tool for consumers, it’s not without its drawbacks. Benefits include its extensive database of business ratings and its potential to influence businesses to address complaints. However, criticisms include conflicts of interest due to accreditation fees and the possibility that businesses without accreditation may not be thoroughly scrutinized.

Using BBB Ratings to Evaluate Financial Service Companies

BBB ratings can provide insights into the trustworthiness of financial service companies, but they shouldn’t be the sole factor in your decision-making process. Consider them alongside other research tools and take them with a grain of salt.


The Better Business Bureau serves as a valuable resource for consumers seeking to evaluate the trustworthiness of businesses, including financial service companies. While it’s not perfect, understanding how it operates can help you make more informed decisions.


1.How reliable are BBB ratings?

BBB ratings can be helpful, but they’re not infallible. Consider them alongside other factors when evaluating a company.

2.Is BBB accreditation necessary for a business to be trustworthy?

While accreditation can signal trustworthiness, it’s not a requirement. Some reputable businesses may choose not to pay for accreditation.

3.Can businesses manipulate their BBB ratings?

While there have been allegations of businesses influencing their ratings through accreditation fees, the BBB has taken steps to address these concerns and improve transparency

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