How to File a Complaint With the Better Business Bureau (2024)

The best way to avoid work-at-home and home business scams is to know the tricks and deceptions illicit businesses use. There are resources to help if you think you might have been scammed or you're having problems with a company. One good option is to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The BBB, a membership-based nonprofit organization, helps consumers settle disputes related to sales, contracts, customer service, warranties, billings, and refunds. It accepts complaints even if the company that's harmed you doesn't belong to the Better Business Bureau.

What Is the Better Business Bureau?

The Better Business Bureau is a private organization with a stated vision to provide "an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other." Its mission is "to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust." The intent is for consumers to have an unbiased resource to guide them.

Membership in the BBB is voluntary, and businesses pay fees for "accreditation" with the organization based on several factors, including the company's size. Fees range from several hundred dollars to more than $10,000.

Accredited businesses must meet a set of ethical standards set by the BBB, which then rates companies based on their record on a scale of A+ to F. The BBB maintains profiles of more than 5 million companies.

Each BBB office maintains files on businesses headquartered in its service area. Every office in the U.S. and Canada posts its reliability reports on the organization's web at BBB online.

When You File a Complaint With the BBB

The Better Business Bureau accepts complaints involving all types of businesses—online, offline, BBB-accredited businesses, and non-BBB-accredited businesses. It also accepts complaints against charities and nonprofits.

You're creating a record of your grievance when you file a complaint with the BBB, so other consumers can look up if a business has had previous complaints. They can then make a more informed decision as to whether to trust that business. The BBB tracks the responses from companies so you can use it as a tool to find out if a company has responded to solve the problem.

Note

Just because a company has a record of BBB complaints, this doesn't necessarily mean it's bogus. It can be a red flag, however, that might prevent someone else from jumping in and getting scammed or having a bad experience. The key is to determine the nature of the complaint and the company's response.

What the BBB Won't Do

The BBB isn't a government or law enforcement agency, so it can't enforce the law or force a company to take action.

The BBB does not take complaints regarding matters that are in litigation or those that involve discrimination or employee/employer disputes. Nor does it accept complaints against government agencies.

Tips on Filing a Complaint

The BBB won't process anonymous complaints, so you'll be required to provide your contact information in any complaint you file with them.

Additionally, BBB complaints must include the company's name and enough information to forward the complaint to the company. Finally, the complaint must involve a consumer-to-business or business-to-business transaction that relates to the advertisem*nt or sale of a product or service.

How to Report Work-at-Home Scams to the BBB

The BBB allows you to file a complaint online with just a few easy steps:

  1. Visit the BBB online
  2. Search for the company's name, and specifically search for the location where you did business if it's a nationwide business
  3. Click on the company you want to file the complaint against from the list of results
  4. Click the link that says "File a Complaint" on the company profile
  5. Follow the instructions and submit

Note

Choose the "file a complaint" option if you're looking for a refund or another resolution so the BBB can mediate on your behalf. You can file a review or scam report if you don't have a good resolution to your complaint.

What to Expect After You File a Complaint

You'll receive an email confirmation after you've successfully filed your complaint with the BBB. It should include information on which BBB office is handling your complaint and provide a link to a PDF file of your complaint for your review. You might receive direct contact from a Dispute Resolution Specialist, who will work with you until the matter is resolved or until the BBB reaches a dead end.

Getting Your Money Back

Having the BBB mediate your complaint can sometimes result in a refund, but the BBB isn't able to force companies to fix the dispute. There are a few other places where you can report a problem that might or might not result in getting your money back.

Note

The best way to get your money back if the company doesn't refund you through its own policy is to file a fraud complaint through your bank or credit card company.

It's always better to do your due diligence and research companies before doing business with them. The Better Business Bureau is a great resource to learn about companies, discover if there are any complaints, and get help resolving problems.

How to File a Complaint With the Better Business Bureau (2024)
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