The BBB is handing out letter grades

Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Better Business Bureau is now assigning letter grades to local businesses to help consumers make better-informed decisions on where to spend.

Businesses will receive a grade ranging from A+ to F, which replaces a less detailed scale of "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory."

Consumers can research the grades of thousands of local businesses by reviewing BBB Reliability ReportsTM, which are available online and free of charge at

In addition to noting the business's letter grade, BBB Reliability ReportsTM also include details about integrity and performance, such as the number of complaints a business has received, their response to complaints, and details on any government actions against the business.

"Given the current tough economic conditions, consumers literally can't afford to make bad buying decisions," said Kathy Graham, President/CEO, BBB of Coastal Carolina, Inc. "These reports make it extremely easy and convenient for consumers to research and compare local businesses - before they buy."

BBB's proprietary ratings formula takes into account 16 weighted factors, using objective information and actual incidences of a business' behavior that have been verified and evaluated by BBB professionals.

Specific issues affecting a business's rating are described in detail in BBB Reliability ReportsTM.

Ratings factors include:

  • The business's overall complaint history with BBB, including the number and severity of complaints to BBB from customers

  • Whether complaints have been resolved in a timely manner or the business has demonstrated a good faith effort to resolve them

  • How long the business has been operating and whether it meets appropriate competency licensing

  • Government actions against the business related to marketplace activities

  • Advertising issues evaluated by BBB

  • Whether the business is a BBB Accredited Business and has committed to BBB standards

Rating factors also take into account BBB's opinion as to whether business models and industries operate in violation of the law, misrepresent products and services, and are likely to generate trade practice concerns and/or have high levels of customer dissatisfaction.

As part of its strategy to build trust in the marketplace, BBB also recently changed the way businesses affiliated with the organization were designated, from "BBB Member" to "BBB Accredited Business." The "Accredited" designation highlights the fact that businesses have been evaluated by BBB and have contractually agreed to meet and uphold BBB's high standards for integrity and reliability when dealing with consumers.

Both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses in BBB's database will receive a letter grade as part of their report.