What happens when you file a complaint with BBB?

I sometimes get asked what the point is of filing a complaint with BBB. What does BBB do to the business? I say, well that’s a good question! And then I explain that one common misconception about the BBB is that we are a government agency.  We aren’t, in fact, we are a nonprofit organization, so we do not have the same authority as government agencies to take action against businesses.

However, what we CAN do with consumer complaints is….

(1) Report on consumers’ experience and make that information part of a company’s public BBB Business Review so that other consumers will be informed about the experience and the complaint. Depending on the type of response from the business about the complaint, the fact that you filed a complaint may impact the business’ BBB rating (included on their Business Review) as well.

(2) Report on trends and the volume of complaints we are getting about a company, scam or industry and make that trend data available as a resource for government and regulatory agencies that do have the authority to investigate and prosecute and regulate businesses.

(3) Report consumer complaint information to the media! We work closely with local and national media outlets to publicize what we’re hearing from consumers like you (here you can see several recent interviews on Dateline, FOX, KXAN, WOAI, and there’s always more on our Facebook page).

(4) The dispute resolution process (what you  go through when you file a complaint) also allows businesses an opportunity to respond to customer concerns and many consumers are able to achieve resolution with BBB intervention that they may not have otherwise received.

Truthfully, if you really ask me, the best response that I always try to leave people with is to consider that last year (2010) we received over 25,000 complaints and more than 84% of them were resolved. In other words, getting your resolution is the point!

If you’ve filed a complaint with BBB, let us know what made you decide to do so. What was the point for you?

-Lydia

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22 Responses to What happens when you file a complaint with BBB?

  1. Good and thorough answer. I just filed a complaint on line and understand you will give the company 30 days to respond. After that, if still refusing to meet their responsibilities, do the remaining BBB Complaints usually go to small claims court?

    • Hi George. Thanks for leaving your comment. The general turn around time for a complaint to be closed in our office is about 30 days, although it can be less. If a company chooses to not respond to a complaint, it will be reflected in their BBB Business Review and impact their BBB rating. It is then up to you as the consumer to decide if you wish to pursue the issue in small claims court. BBB does not have anything to do with the small claims court process. We’re here to help facilitate a free alternative to small claims court or other costly processes. I hope you and the business can work toward a successful resolution George!
      ~ Erik

      • patrinsinger says:

        Erik,
        I have already tried to resolve this with the companies – that’s the point of going to you at the BBB. The BBB is a waste of time. You have done NOTHING for me, and the companies just laugh about the ‘threat’ of the BBB. Don’t know who pays your costs, but you should be shut down.

      • Elena Lee says:

        @patrinsinger
        The point of the BBB is to help fellow consumers.
        When I was looking to buy a UPS, I chose APC over CyperPower due to their BBB pages.

        When buying high value items, check the BBB pages for the companies making said items, ensure that the company will be honorable if things go wrong.

  2. Sherry says:

    There is NO point! I filed a report with the BBB and it did absolutely nothing!
    I was billed by a company that I never gave authorization to for services that I did not request, and my BBB complaint did nothing because the company refused to resolve it. So I thought to myself, “two can play this game,” and I refused to pay the bill because they were scam artists and thieves who didn’t deserve my money (and they had a horrible BBB rating too).
    But guess what??? The con artists at the company sent the bill to collections and now I have a negative report on my credit history and bad credit score. The BBB did a whole lot of no good.
    You know, I wish I could just go around billing people for random things. And I wish I could also send fake bills to collection companies and ruin innocent people’s credit scores if they don’t fall for my billing scam and pay me. What a nice way to make a living. And the BBB can’t and won’t do anything about it!

  3. patrinsinger says:

    I agree. The BB itself is a scam. Since the BBB is proud of NOT being a governmental agency, it should act when a consumer is being wronged. I have submitted two concerns for companies who are taking the public. In both cases, the BBB says they have no jurisdiction and I can pursue legal action if I want. Supposedly the companies will get a ‘bad rating’ on the BBB website. Since the BBB doesn’t forward the concerns on to people who can make a difference, what does it matter that a ‘negative’ comment was made? Disappointing.

  4. Cody says:

    The BBB is a total waste of time that always seems to side with the company, not the consumer. Siding with the companies is actually what the useless BBB considers a resolution, what a joke!!

  5. Alan says:

    BBB is worthless. I go to file a complaint about a wrongful billing and there is no option to do so. Any other option I click it tells me the BBB doesn’t handle those situations and to contact someone else to complaint to. Looks like the mob: pay the BBB some membership fee and you can get away with anything.

  6. Marc says:

    BBB gets sponsormoney by the industry
    We should start issues about the BBB itself.
    Maybe they will ask themself what the hell the are doing!

    Total wast!

  7. Ashley says:

    I personally have had a great experience with the BBB. After filing a complaint with them I was able to get just under $2,000 back from a company that did no provide their promised services.

  8. DS says:

    It really is pointless to file a complaint with the BBB. It is a toothless agency that does nothing except shuffle paperwork between the parties. Do not waste your time or energy submitting a claim, they can’t help you if the company refuses to do the right thing..

  9. Jackie Smith says:

    I agree the BBB is useless I filed a complaint and the BBB sent me an email stating that the case will be closed and they do understand that I am not satisfied but the company made an attempt to resolve the issue. The company never made any attempt to resolve the issue or to refund my money. I really don’t see the point of filing a complaint with the BBB. Plus, companies will continue to scam people because they understand that nothing is being done by the BBB. These companies are aware of the fact that as long as the they answer the complaint whether it is lies or not the case will be closed. So, these companies have nothing to fear they can do basically whatever they want to people steal. scam, lie and get away with it. The BBB is a total disgrace for helping the public.

    • patrinsinger says:

      My wife and I agree. The company didnt respond and the BBB said “Nothing we can do, you’ll have to address your issues through legal means.”

      So, do consumers such as we band together and speak or write to someone? Who’s in charge of monitoring and funding the BBB? Is anyone at the BBB even monitoring their own site? Hello?!

  10. Dan says:

    BBB is just a way to facilitate a conversation with a vendor or contractor. It is just one avenue you have at your disposal. In my mind, if you cannot resolve it yourself, go to the BBB. If the vendor doesn’t care about BBB rating you will likely not get any satisfaction. This is not BBB fault. They can only help if the company cares about their rating and that is all BBB promises.

    If this does not resolve your issue, you have small claims court and social media reviews. Websites like Yelp and Angie’s List are how people research contractors and vendors reputation these days. If you cannot get satisfaction and can’t and decide not to go to court, social media or the threat of social media is the only bullet you have left in the gun. Many companies are trying to create a virtual presence creating online ‘word-of-mouth’. It doesn’t take a lot of negative reviews to turn consumers off to a vendor and just move on to the next guy. I actually wish more people would write online reviews so that we are all more educated about who we are entering business deals with.

    • I appreciate your comment, I really do. Evidently Small Claims Court and social media pressure are the only ways to really get the word out and make poor vendors back up their product. Evidently it’s also true the BBB is a lame duck and not empowered to really do something with good follow-up and effective intervention. If so, it’s time to realize our error and close the BBB and put those resources into a more effective means to help citizens being bilked by businesses.

  11. Kim Greene says:

    What if we not get any paystub but the company is taking out Texas and give the most personal check

  12. Pam says:

    BBB is a waste of time! They don’t do anything for you. I totally agree with everyone who said they didn’t help them or get a resolution. I’ve filed a complaint and attached my email trail. The business took my emails and edited them and the BBB chose to believe them.

  13. Daniel says:

    I’m shocked to read all the negative comments about the BBB. I have never enlisted the assistance of BBB until approximately one week ago, however I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I was scammed by nearly $500; after filing the complaint with the BBB, I not only had a response from the company within a week, but they agreed to refund the entire amount, ultimately solving my entire problem.

  14. Melody Stemple says:

    The BBB is completely one sided!! I filed a complaint with the BBB due to a bad breeder selling dogs with genetic illnesses that is covered in the contract and then refusing to comply. They offer to resolve it then email you right back and say it’s not happening. They do this so that they can say see we did offer but they fail to disclose the complete truth!! I paid $1,000 for a dog and have spent over $10,000 in vet bills for genetic health issues covered in my guarantee!!!

    I contacted the BBB and they pos breeder responded they did offer to resolve and I declined to accept, the BBB closed the complaint for that reason, they required to proof, no rebuttals nothing!!! So now this business that is out there defrauding innocent people have the BBB assisting them.
    I have asked and asked to please use common sense because why would I waste my time filing complaints asking for what they say they offered and I declined!!! Makes no sense!!!!
    I honestly don’t see why the BBB is there if they are going to take what the business says and close the case with no proof what so ever!! This is why businesses out there get away with defrauding the public!!! I don’t know where the BBB gets it’s funding but I sure as heck hope it isn’t tax payers money!!!

  15. Amanda Stair says:

    My reason was to have a voice and make the incident known so perhaps if it happens again action can be taken to further prevent disability discrimination.

  16. Brown Eyes (Diann Gavin) says:

    I have an unresolved complaint pending with the BBB against a company who helps you get out of a time-share contract. When approached they present logical scenarios as to how this could unknowingly happen to you. These are ex-timeshare sales people who know the in and out of this business. You are offered the opportunity to buy time-share points, outright, at a substantially reduced price. The contract you sign requires complaint resolution be handled through the BBB. I signed the initial agreement with the company July 2012. I paid $13,800 for the service and replacement points. Needless to say I got none of the services contained in their contract. As time went on my brain cells woke up and realized there is something seriously wrong here. From that date forward I requested all correspondence be handled in writing. So, I wrote them and did everything required of me. I complained to the general manager and the president of the company ,even sending my email trail. Their response, we did much work for you. I filed my complaint with the BBB on March 2014. The first business response was filled with lies even though they had copies of correspondence and dates. Accused me of blocking part of the service when their own timeline refuted this accusation. Obviously they failed to read my first complaint or rebuttal. This business is a BBB member and they have missed the deadline for responding to my rebuttal. Which basically restated my original complaint. I don’t see this information listed on the BBB website? This company currently has an A – BBB rating. The company uses this rating as a big selling point. All previous complaints have been resolved in the company’s favor. Reading the complaints, I recognize the complaints these people had and they were legitimate and valid. My fear, I researched what I call an acquaintance trail, the owner of the business and BBB management are friends serving on other boards together. So, I can only hope my appeal to the BBB was not a waste of time. I will be happy to come back and post my response. It is my understanding when a member fails to reply their membership is cancelled and their rating gets dropped. I am sooo embarrassed that I allowed this to happen to me, I am a para-legal. At the time I entered into this contract the BBB showed A – rating with no complaints.

  17. Chuck says:

    DO NOT GO THROUGH ARBITRATION PROCESS WITH BBB. FILE YOUR COMPLAINT ONLY WITH THE BBB (for a paper trail) AND GO TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT. I went through the grievance process, arbitration and so called resolution. Although the BBB arbitrator agreed that the company had done something wrong, the solution was far from sufficient. The arbitrator ignored much of the evidence presented (including the company misrepresenting itself as a licensed concrete contractor) and misquoted my statements from the arbitration transcript. The company which I complained about received an upgraded rating from A to A+. As a result of my experience, I do not trust the BBB rating system or trust in the ability of the BBB to arbitrate fairly and impartially.

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