CLEVELAND - The Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland is "pulling back the curtain" and publishing detailed content of consumer complaints in its free BBB business reports.
BBB made this change in response to feedback from consumers. Research showed consumers were looking for more detailed information on the types of complaints companies receive and how those complaints were ultimately resolved. This change also gives companies more of a voice in the complaint process, allowing consumers to directly observe their response to customer issues.
"We believe this will provide consumers with a unique and highly valuable resource when making purchase decisions" said BBB President David Weiss
BBB began publishing complaints in October 2011.
"We now display detail on about 6,000 complaints filed, and going forward expect to publish detail for about 9,000 complaints per year," said Weiss.
"Based on inquiry activity since the change, we think consumers are excited by it," Weiss said.
The 553,000 requests for BBB reports year-to-date through July, 2012 is up 20% from 462,000 for the same period last year.
Previously, complaints were classified into twelve categories with the type of each complaint being reported, along with basic information on how that complaint was closed. Weiss notes that the complaint detail "gives viewers a chance to see what's ‘behind the curtain,' to judge the merit of the complaint for themselves, and importantly, to see exactly how the company responded to and handled the complaint." Private information such as names and addresses of consumers is redacted.
BBB reports on (and will publish) complaints for three years from the date they are filed.
Consumers can also post and read customer reviews
A new feature allows consumers to post customer reviews and rate a business on a scale of 0-10. BBB quietly began offering this option last August and currently receives several reviews each day.
"We understand that publishing customer reviews is a tricky business, and have procedures in place to exclude posts from people who are not customers of the company, or who appear to be posting bogus ‘positive' reports," notes Weiss. "We like the interactive nature of this feature, and since our reporting has traditionally been complaint-oriented, wanted to give consumers a chance to say nice things about a business."
To submit or read a customer review, go to http://www.clevelandbbb.org and look up BBB's Business Review on a business. There is a "Customer Reviews" tab and a link to "Submit a Customer Review" in the report.
Unlike many other customer review sites, as soon as a review is sent to BBB, a copy is emailed to the business so they can provide a response – and notify BBB if the reviewer is not an actual customer.
"Consumers crave granular information they can trust. BBB complaint detail and customer reviews give people seeking trustworthy businesses more information than they'll find anywhere else."
BBB provides free reports on over 4,100,000 businesses throughout North America – including those that are not BBB accredited. To search for trustworthy businesses, go to http://www.clevelandbbb.org
BBB services are supported by over 2,700 BBB Accredited Businesses throughout Greater Cleveland which adhere to BBB's rigorous business practice standards.