The Better Business Bureau offers consumers free reviews and ratings of more than four million businesses and service providers. The BBB handles disputes between consumers and businesses, and also warns the general public of known scams.
Businesses can become accredited by the BBB by reaching a high standard of excellence, followed by dues-paying membership into the bureau. Membership and accreditation are contingent upon the businesses maintaining high ratings and standards of practice. In return, the BBB allows these businesses to use its trademarked logo on websites, buildings and other marketing materials. If a business does not provide start dates, size of the company and other basic information, the BBB may list that business as Not Rated. A low rating from a company not providing information would explain to consumers that the company may not necessarily have violated any business practice but chose not to provide sufficient business details.
Founded in 1912, the BBB is a non-profit organization consisting of 112 chapters in the United States and Canada, as of September 2015. The BBB is not affiliated with any government or civic agency or organization, and it does not make specific recommendations or endorsements. The BBB has received criticism, however, for having a history of giving dues-paying businesses an "A" rating, though the BBB denies these claims.