Better Business Bureaus are private non-profit organizations financed almost exclusively by accredited business dues—dues paid by businesses and professional firms in local communities.
Each local BBB is governed by a Board of Directors, and the day to day operations are customized by each BBB from the guidelines set by the national organization, the Council of Better Business Bureaus. There are 128 BBBs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico that directly help nearly 20 million consumers and businesses each year.
Our mission is to advance marketplace integrity through business self-regulation, assist in resolving disputes, and correct abuses to serve the best interests of the consuming public and business. Staunchly neutral, the BBB does not endorse or recommend any product, service, or company. Our credibility stems from our role as an impartial third party reporting factual information which has been brought to our attention to assist the consumer in exercising their own best judgment.
Originally founded in 1912 by the American Advertising Federation to monitor and attempt voluntary modification of advertising which was misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent, the BBB's role now includes the handling of inquiries and complaints as well as extensive public education programs.
Your Better Business Bureau of San Diego & Imperial Counties, founded in 1921, currently delivers over 4,500 Business Reviews a day to consumers. Most callers are seeking pre-purchase information on companies with whom they are considering doing business. In 2009, your local BBB handled more than 4.9 MILLION instances of service. These services represent approximately $4 billion in local buying decisions annually.
Most businesses are honest and dependable; but regretfully a few are not. If you're not sure, call our 24 hour Consumer HelpLine at (858) 496-2131. Our automated system locates information by company telephone number so be sure to have it handy when you call. During the week from 9:00am to 4:00pm information counselors are available to assist you if you don't have the correct telephone number. The system can also cross-reference by company name and address. If you know the approximate dollar amount you are thinking of spending with the company, that information is very helpful in our ongoing market research.
What we offer:
BBB Business Reviews
Reports on over 125,000 local companies, and national soliciting organizations are in our system or online. This report will let you know how long the company has been in business, what they do, and if they have responded to customer complaints or inquiries from the BBB about the nature of the business. You can listen to these reports FREE 24 hours a day on our Consumer HelpLine at (858) 496-2131 or request that they be mailed or faxed to you, or you can obtain them online at www.bbb.org.
How a Company report is developed:
Once the BBB receives several inquiries about a company, we send them a questionnaire asking for basic business information. If the company completes and returns the questionnaire a report is initiated. A report may also be developed if the BBB receives a complaint on a company, or is made aware of a government legal action. The reports contain information which is reflected in our files and that reflect a company's customer service history. The reports indicate whether the company responds to complaints that consumers file with the BBB or if they ignore them. If we receive a series of identical complaints alleging the same problem, that pattern of complaints will appear in the report. If there is a government legal action that includes allegations which could affect a consumer's decision to do business with that company, the legal action would be mentioned.
Free Dispute Resolution
If you have a problem with a company located in San Diego or Imperial County and you have been unable to resolve it with the company, the BBB can try to assist you. You may request a complaint form to be mailed or faxed to you by calling our 24-hour Consumer Hot Line at (858) 496-2131 or you can file a complaint online at: www.bbb.org. Consumers should note that the BBB is unable to force a company to respond to a customer complaint. We are a private not for profit organization, not a government or law enforcement agency. The BBB acts as an impartial third party to try to assist the consumer, at no cost, to resolve the complaint outside of the legal system. There are some complaints which we are unable to process. These include employee-employer issues, landlord-tenant issues, a complaint that is or has been filed in the court system, complaints which request apologies for rude treatment by a company, or those that request that the BBB act as a collection agency or give legal advice. If we are unable to assist you in processing your complaint, we will try to provide you with the name of the appropriate agency, if known, who may be able to assist you or give you tips and general advice on the issue.
The Bureau also offers dispute resolution for accredited companies in the form of Arbitration. Complaints that can not be settled through our normal mediation can be settled through arbitration. The Bureau has a pool of approximately 50 volunteer arbitrators. If a complaint is transferred to arbitration, we hold a hearing in our office in which the company and the consumer meet with an arbitrator. The arbitrator decides the case and that decision is legally binding for both parties. We offer this service free to accredited businesses.
Free Detailed Information on National Charities
A quick phone call can provide you with detailed information on most national charities which includes a break down of where the dollars go. These reports can be invaluable in your giving decisions, whether for business or for yourself and your employees. These charity reports are available online.
Free Lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by Type of Business
We can provide you with a list of BBB accredited businesses who provide products or services you are particularly interested in to assist you in locating a company to do business with who has met the BBB's standards. These companies have all agreed to respond to customer complaints so you can have an additional measure of confidence when purchasing a product or service. The lists are available free through our automated system 24-hours a day at (858) 496-2131. They can also be faxed or mailed to you.
Free Yellow Pages of BBB Accredited Businesses
Your local BBB publishes a Yellow Pages twice a year which includes a complete listing of BBB Accredited Businesses by type of business, important information for consumers, and general tips and advice. The BBB Yellow Pages is distributed FREE to households through local newspapers. You may also request a copy from our Customer Care Representatives between 9:00 am and 4:00pm, Monday to Friday, or by writing to us. You can also view the latest version of the BBB Yellow Pages online.
Free TIPS and General Advice
Your BBB develops information on subjects of interest to consumers, and in areas in which we see local trends. We offer these reports to businesses, consumers, and the media free of charge in the form of press releases, tip booklets, and reports on specific industries. Staff members are featured speakers at business and community meetings, and are frequently called on by government agencies and the media for comments on recent scams and for information we have developed.
Your BBB monitors local print and broadcast advertising on a daily basis and any questionable advertisers are asked to substantiate their claims or modify their ads to conform to both the law and ethical business practices. The national BBB organization monitors national advertisers and asks for similar modification and substantiation. If our efforts are unsuccessful, the records are turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency to pursue. Your San Diego BBB has also launched two landmark industry advertising ethics programs involving the home furnishings industry and home improvement contractors. These programs contribute to the ethical advertising from participating retailers. Your BBB, giving you a reason to believe what you read!
Better Business Bureau of San Diego & Imperial Counties
4747 Viewridge Ave Suite 200
San Diego, California 92123
(858) 496-2131 24-hour Consumer HelpLine
(858) 496-2141 FAX