Better Business Bureau Sees 7% Dip in Complaints, But Inquiries Up

Consumers asked the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for help more than 103 million times in 2011, up from 87 million in 2010 and the highest rate in the organization’s 100-year history.
However, filings of formal complaints against businesses fell across the United States and Canada – down about 7 percent to 927,000 in 2011 compared to just over one million in 2010.
BBB maintains reviews on more than 4 million businesses and grades them based on complaint histories, responsiveness to customers, licensing, legal and government action, and other factors. About 400,000 are accredited, meaning they meet the BBB Code of Business Practices and are permitted to display the BBB logo in their advertising and place of business.
“When consumers come to us first for information about businesses, they are much less likely to need our dispute resolution services later,” said Carrie A. Hurt, CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), the umbrella organization for the 116 BBBs across North America.
Roofing contractors, general contractors, used car dealers, auto repair services and plumbers were the top business categories generating BBB inquiries in 2011.
“These are mostly big-ticket items,” Hurt said. “People tend to do more research when they are spending a lot of money, such as on homes and cars. We get most of our inquiries on our website,, which gets more than six million visitors a month.”
Cellular telephone service providers, auto dealers, television cable service providers, collection agencies and banks were the leading categories for complaints in 2011.

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