Frequently asked questions about the upcoming BBB Ratings system
Your San Diego Better Business Bureau is joining other BBBs throughout North America and will use revised versions of the BBB Business Review that feature a rating. Your BBB’s reports feature a more visually appealing and user-friendly, version that replaces the scale of “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory” with a more comprehensive letter grade scale (A+ through F). BBB Ratings rival the many consumer review sites with a system that is based on 16 standards and is developed using objective information and actual incidences of a business’ behavior that are verified and evaluated by BBB professionals.
Below is a FAQ about the BBB Ratings system. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (858) 637-6199.
-- What is the ratings system?
It’s an A+ through F letter-grade scale. The grades represent BBB’s degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns.
-- What are the factors that go into a business’ rating?
· BBB experience with the industry in which the business operates
· The business’ length of time in operation
· Information on required competency licensing
· Government actions against the business related to marketplace activities
· Advertising issues evaluated by your BBB
· The number of complaints to your BBB from the business’ customers
· Complaints to your BBB from the business’ customers that are serious in nature
· Whether the business has responded to complaints received by your BBB
· Whether complaints have been resolved in a timely manner and/or the business has demonstrated a good faith effort to resolve them
· Whether the business has honored commitments to the BBB to arbitrate disputes and comply with arbitrator decisions
· Whether the business has provided your BBB with background/operational information
-- How are the factors weighted?
Businesses are awarded points on more than a dozen factors, which are weighted based on BBB’s assessment of the importance of each factor. The points are calculated by a computer-generated formula and a letter grade is awarded based on the point range the businesses fall into.
In most cases, complaint history drives a business’s letter-grade rating. Nearly 85 percent of the scoring is determined by consumer-reported complaints that have been verified and evaluated by BBB, such as the number of complaints, the severity of complaints and how a business resolves complaints.
-- What do you tell a business that wants to know how to increase its letter grade?
First and foremost, we will want to examine what the specific deficiencies are – i.e., the issues that contribute to the business’ rating. From that research, we can then offer specific, qualified guidance on how the business can improve its BBB rating. In general, we recommend to any businesses that it consistently treat its customers in a fair and honest manner and, if honest mistakes are made, take prompt and appropriate action to resolve issues in a fair and timely manner. If you have more questions please contact us, and we can see what’s holding you back and what you can do to improve your rating.
-- What does NR mean?
No Rating. Generally, BBB assigns a business an “NR” (No Rating) under the following circumstances: type of business is not appropriate for BBB rating (i.e., psychics, astrologers, spiritualists, etc.), BBB doesn’t have enough information on the business and/or hasn’t had sufficient time to assess the business, or BBB has determined the business is no longer operating.
--Will larger businesses receive lower grades because they likely will receive more complaints due to the sheer volume of business they do?
No. The scoring and weighting system factors this in.
-- Why is length of time in operation a factor?
How long a company has been in business is one of the first things people consider when researching a company to hire. They want to have a degree of confidence that the business has experience and a track record, so the points system factors this in.
-- Why do you (how can you) rate non-accredited businesses?
The more information we can provide the public, the better informed they are to make a good choice when hiring a business. Therefore, when we have sufficient information to evaluate a business based on more than a dozen factors, we will provide a report and subsequent letter grade.
--Why should a business become/stay an accredited business if they already have an “A”?
The difference between a non-accredited “A” rating and an accredited “A” rating is the commitment to adhere to BBB standards. The process of becoming accredited is valuable because consumers trust our accredited business and know that they have contractually agreed to and are held to our higher standards.
--Why doesn’t the BBB give out lists of all companies with an “A” rating? (i.e. not just Accredited Businesses)?
The BBB does not refer companies that we have not evaluated against our trust standards, which are separate from ratings. It is the BBB’s mission to connect consumers with trustworthy businesses. Therefore, we do not refer unaccredited businesses by providing lists. Additionally, we send lists by type of business (TOB), not by rating.
--Does the BBB give out lists of Accredited Businesses with an “A” or higher rating only?
The BBB only sends out lists by type of business, not ratings. By doing this the BBB remains neutral and allows the consumer to make the choice of who to do business with.
--Why don’t the BBB Yellow Pages of Accredited Businesses show the letter rating?
A business rating is fluid and can change quickly depending on the behavior of the business. Therefore, we don’t list it in the BBB Yellow Pages. Please refer to our website (bbb.org) for the most up-to-date information including ratings.
--If the BBB doesn’t judge the validity of a complaint, why does the complaint impact ratings?
There are a total of 16 objective criteria that determine a company’s grade; number of complaints is only one of the criteria. The BBB must remain neutral, so, we do not judge the validity of complaints.
--Why does the BBB add points for having a license? Will points be added for being in an industry that does not require a license?
Points are not added for having a required license. They are only subtracted for not having a required license.