What Is the Better Business Bureau?

Founded in 1912, the Better Business Bureau, or BBB, is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote ethical business practices across the United States and Canada. The motto of the organization is "Start with Trust."

The BBB handles consumer disputes against businesses, but it is not affiliated with any governmental agency. Its main purpose is to encourage better business practices and set proper marketplace standards. Businesses that adhere to the standards and guidelines imposed by the organization can receive the BBB accredited businesses status. 400,000 North American businesses have the accreditation, according to data provided by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The historic average of successfully resolved complaints filed by customers who have not been treated fairly by a business is 70 percent.

The BBB has 128 regional branches across the United States and Canada. It collects information on all local business, whether they are accredited or not. Consumers can file complaints either by filing a complaint at the local bureau or online. The BBB claims to treat all parties equally when it comes to disputes, which makes it an effective neutral arbitrator. The mediation services offered by the organization are free for both consumers and businesses.