Whether you own a company or you're trying to deal with one, you might make use of a Better Business Bureau company search. If you're a business owner, you can search for yourself to see what customers might find or you can search for that business you're thinking about partnering with. Customers use these searches to confirm they're not being scammed. For many, a BBB search is the starting point that allows them to differentiate between different options. Here's what you should know about these searches, their utility, and the potential limitations of each search.
In some cases, quality BBB records can be purchased
While a Better Business Bureau company search can be helpful, there are some limitations, especially in smaller towns and cities. Companies that give money to the BBB can sometimes have inflated records. Like any other business, the BBB caters to its clients, so those who give money can minimize their own bad reports. This can make BBB searches unreliable in places where small town corruption has a bigger impact.
Complaints are generally listed online
Even if the actual BBB score a company gets can be manipulated by donations, the Better Business Bureau will generally list all relevant reviews in a database online. People who are willing to dig beyond the initial score can form their own opinions by reading the relevant reviews. Understand that disgruntled customers can sometimes make things seem worse than they really are. A savvy person digesting these records will take into account a large sample of positive and negative records alike in order to fully understand a company.
A Better Business Bureau company search shouldn't be your last effort
BBB listings are not exhaustive in nature. While they can give you a good sense of whether a company is legitimate, there are other things you can and must do to investigate a company fully. A handful of quality review sites exist online to give you an unbiased picture of how customers have been treated by the company. The best business searches take into account plenty of these. If you start to see various negative reviews pile up over a long period of time on multiple sites, you can bet the company has mistreated its customers in some way.
Personal background searches can augment a BBB search
Many people find that the BBB search is only the first step to a good investigation. You might go that extra step by looking at the individual record of the person who owns the company. Conducting this sort of background check will shine more light on what you learn about the company itself through your Better Business Bureau company search.
The smart consumer or business person always knows who she is dealing with. Before you sign on to a big business deal or enter into a long-term consumer relationship with a company, consult as many sources as you can. While the BBB might not be the end-all, it's a free search service that can get you started. Wouldn't you like to know if many customers have bad things to say about a particular company?