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Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.
To be accredited by BBB, a business must apply for accreditation and BBB must determine that the business meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses must pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.
Standards of BBB Accreditation
Establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.
- Have been operational (actively selling products or services) in any BBB service area for at least the most recent six months, unless the principal(s) previously operated a similar business with an eligible record (one that qualifies for BBB accreditation).
- Fulfill all licensing and bonding requirements of applicable jurisdictions; provide all license and bonding information upon application for BBB accreditation; and provide periodic updates upon request of BBB.
- Be free from government action that demonstrates a significant failure to support BBB ethical principles in marketplace transactions (this requires a determination by BBB as to the nature of any violation, whether it was caused or condoned by management, and actions taken to resolve underlying issues that led to the government action).
- Be free of an unsatisfactory rating and maintain at least a B rating at the accrediting BBB and the BBB where it is headquartered, if different.
- In its relationship with BBB: meet all applicable standards within the Accreditation Standards; cooperate with BBB’s activities and efforts to promote voluntary self-regulation within the business’ industry; honor any settlements, agreements or decisions reached as an outcome of a BBB dispute resolution process; and complete the required application and pay all monetary obligations to BBB in a timely manner.
Adhere to established standards of advertising and selling.
- Follow federal, state/provincial and local advertising laws.
- Abide by the BBB Code of Advertising. Supply, upon request, substantiation for advertising and selling claims. Correct advertising and selling practices, when recommended by BBB.
- Adhere to applicable BBB industry codes of advertising.
- Cooperate with BBB self-regulatory programs for the resolution of advertising disputes.
- Use the BBB name and logos in accordance with BBB policy.
- Avoid misleading customers by creating the false impression of sponsorship, endorsement, popularity, trustworthiness, product quality or business size through the misuse of logos, trustmarks, pictures, testimonials, or other means.
Tell the Truth
Honestly represent products and services, including clear and adequate disclosures of all material terms.
- Make known all material facts in both written and verbal representations, remembering that misrepresentation may result not only from direct statements but by omitting or obscuring relevant facts.
- Ensure that any written materials are readily available, clear, accurate and complete.
Openly identify the nature, location, and ownership of the business, and clearly disclose all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.
- Upon request, provide BBB with all information required to evaluate compliance with BBB standards. This may include, but is not limited to business name, address and contact information; names and background of principals; business and banking references; licensing and/or professional accreditation; and a complete description of the nature of the business.
- Clearly disclose to customers:
- direct and effective means to contact the business
- terms of any written contract
- any guarantees or warranties accompanying a product
- any restrictions or limitations imposed (e.g. limited supply, maximum number available per customer)
- the business’ return/refund policy
- any recurring commitment into which the customer may be entering, including information on how future billing will occur
- total cost of the transaction, including tax, shipping and handling, and other related charges
- If selling products or providing services on Web sites or via other electronic means:
- provide any required product labeling information
- disclose the nature and terms of shipping, including any known delays or shortages of stock
- provide an opportunity to review and confirm the transaction before the sale is completed
- provide a receipt summarizing the transaction after the purchase
Abide by all written agreements and verbal representations.
- Fulfill contracts signed and agreements reached.
- Honor representations by correcting mistakes as quickly as possible.
Address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally, and in good faith.
- Promptly respond to all complaints forwarded by BBB by:
- Resolving the complaint directly with the complainant and notifying BBB, or
- Providing BBB with a response that BBB determines:
- is professional,
- addresses all of the issues raised by the complainant,
- includes appropriate evidence and documents supporting the business’ position, and
- explains why any relief sought by the complainant cannot or should not be granted.
- Make a good faith effort to resolve disputes, which includes mediation if requested by BBB. Other dispute resolution options, including arbitration, may be recommended by BBB when other efforts to resolve a dispute have failed. BBB may consider a business’ willingness to participate in recommended dispute resolution options in determining compliance with these standards.
- Comply with any settlements, agreements or decisions reached as an outcome of a BBB dispute resolution process.
- Cooperate with BBB in efforts to eliminate the underlying cause of patterns of customer complaints that are identified by BBB.
Protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their information.
- what information they collect;
- with whom it is shared;
- how it can be corrected;
- how it is secured;
- how policy changes will be communicated; and
- how to address concerns over misuse of personal data.
Approach all business dealings, marketplace transactions and commitments with integrity.
- Avoid involvement, by the business or its principals, in activities that reflect unfavorably on, or otherwise adversely affect the public image of BBB or its accredited businesses.
BBB Accreditation Reviews
BBB routinely monitors its files on all Accredited Businesses to affirm that they continue to meet all BBB Accreditation Standards.
BBB Accreditation Process
Not every business is eligible for BBB Accreditation. Businesses must meet, commit to and maintain the BBB Accreditation Standards (Accreditation Standards) in order to be eligible for and maintain BBB Accreditation. The BBB Accreditation Standards represents sound advertising, selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business. The Code is built on the BBB Standards for Trust, eight principles that summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business.
In order to be eligible for Accreditation a business must complete an Accreditation application.
Upon receipt of a fully completed BBB Application for Accreditation, BBB staff:
- Reviews the application
- Researches the business and its principals
- Verifies the information presented in the application
- May request additional information
- May request proof of specific information on the application
After the review and verification process, BBB will then evaluate if the business meets the BBB Accreditation Standards (Accreditation Standards).
Once BBB has finished its evaluation, the application for BBB Accreditation is either approved or denied. If the applicant is found in compliance with the BBB Accreditation Standards it will be presented to the BBB Board of Directors, or a committee of that board, for final approval. If the application is denied, BBB will contact the applicant, indicating the BBB Standard(s) that were not met and any recourse available to the applicant.