October 17, 2007 Arlington, VA – Start With Trust. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is telling consumers to do just that through a new brand and public outreach campaign. Launching nationally today and in local markets in the next several months, the effort will promote how BBB can help consumers make better choices and more informed pre-purchase decisions.
In 2006, BBB handled a record-breaking 1.2 million complaints from consumers, marking the fifth consecutive year complaints have risen. And, according to a national survey by Princeton Research Associates International, about one in five adult consumers in the U.S. (22 percent) have contacted BBB in the past three years to get information about a business or charity.
“While our current consumer use is impressive, we aren’t reaching as far and deep as we want to and don’t want consumers to lose out on what we have to offer,” said Steve Cole, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “The purpose of this campaign is to let more consumers know that they can find businesses they can trust and avoid ones that have a bad track record by checking them out with BBB.”
The 95-year-old non-profit organization provides a wealth of free information, consumer advice and company reports that measure the trustworthiness of all sorts of businesses. BBB Reliability ReportsTM are a key resource for consumers to research businesses before they choose to work with one. Reports are based on factual information gathered by BBB, such as if a business is licensed or not, the number of consumer complaints filed, and whether a government agency has taken action against a business.
Added Cole, “There are many sources, including online review sites and blogs, that offer opinions on whether a business is trustworthy or not. Consumers should start their research on businesses at BBB where they can get reliable, objective information.”
BBB also provides consumers an easy way to identify trustworthy businesses through its Seal program. Businesses accredited by BBB earn and display the BBB Seal and contractually agree to meet and uphold the organization’s high standards for integrity and reliability. BBB reviews each business that applies for the BBB Seal and strictly enforces its standards, accrediting only those meeting and upholding BBB accreditation standards, and revoking Seals from those businesses that don’t.
“Though nearly 60 percent of consumers currently understand that BBB affiliation is only available to companies that meet high standards of trustworthiness, reliability and responsiveness, we want that number to grow significantly,” said Cole. “Our public outreach campaign will make consumers more aware that businesses earning the BBB Seal pledge to follow through on their commitments and right any wrongs if an honest mistake has been made.”
BBB’s reinvigorated brand includes a redesigned logo and Web site and new tagline (Start With Trustsm) to better emphasize the variety of services that consumers can access through the organization. To help get the word out, BBB has launched a national sponsorship campaign on National Public Radio and produced new print, outdoor, television and radio advertisements for use in local markets. The campaign will be rolled out across North America over the next several months.
BBB has also introduced a series of how-to books on buying a home, buying a franchise business and starting a business on eBay. “BBB Insiders’ Guides” include information on how to navigate each process successfully while avoiding common pitfalls and mistakes. The books are available now at major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Borders and Books-A-Million and are also available for purchase on the BBB Web site at, www.bbb.org.
In addition, BBB continues to offer the same services consumers have always relied upon to help in every stage of the buying process, including:
- BBB advice and alerts – BBB provides pre-purchase advice for consumers on a wide range of issues, and posts alerts on the latest consumer fraud incidences and tips on how to avoid them.
- BBB reports on charities – BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM on charities help consumers make informed donation decisions and find trustworthy charities with objective information gathered by BBB.
- Complaint and dispute resolution services – Consumers can contact BBB to help them resolve disputes with any type of business, and for specific automobile manufacturer issues, they can get help from BBB AUTO LINE®.
BBB also promotes truth in advertising through its administration of the advertising industry's system of self-regulation, including the National Advertising Division, Children's Advertising Review Unit, National Advertising Review Board and Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program.
Most recently, BBB launched the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative to drive responsible marketing and advertising of healthy food and beverages for America’s children. The initiative already has pledges from 13 top companies that accounted for more than two-thirds of children’s food and beverage television advertising expenditures in 2004.
For more information about BBB, and to see and access new products and resources, visit www.bbb.org.
About the BBB System
BBB is an unbiased organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business Reliability Reports and charity Wise Giving Reports, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 128 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 3 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about the BBB System.
About the Princeton Research Associates International Survey Methodology
Results for the Better Business Bureau Accreditation Survey of the general public are based on interviews with a representative sample of 602 adults living in continental United States telephone households. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. All interviews were conducted in English by Braun Research, Inc. from May 24 to June 3, 2007. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. For results based on the total sample, the overall margin of sampling error is +/- 5 percent.