For Immediate Release – July 23, 2009 - In an economy that has consumers watching every dime, companies strive for ways to stand out from the competition. Businesses routinely advertise their affiliations with organizations that lend credibility and trustworthiness. The Better Business Bureau is one of the oldest and most highly recognized agencies that foster ethical business practices. Consequently, the BBB logo is misused, at times, by companies that are not BBB accredited and don’t meet BBB standards.
“Consumers often mistakenly believe that the advertising medium verifies a company’s affiliations with organizations before using the BBB logo and similar marks in a company’s ad,” said BBB president, David Weiss. “The media does not have the resources to do this and, besides, it is the company’s responsibility to ensure their advertised claims are truthful.”
The most recent edition of the AT&T Yellow Pages, for example, contains several advertisements which are falsely claiming BBB accreditation. These include ads placed by:
Affordable Fence – This Berea company had its BBB accreditation revoked in 2007 due to a failure to resolve customer complaints. It currently has 35 complaints in the last 36 months and an “F” grade rating. The BBB has previously contacted Affordable Fence about BBB logo misuse. The company had agreed to remove the logo from its advertising.
Allied Exterminating – The BBB first contacted Allied Exterminating in 2007 regarding the unauthorized use of the BBB logo in area yellow pages directories. The Cleveland company has an “F” grade rating due to the logo misuse.
Transmission World – Transmission World has an “F” grade rating due to unanswered consumer complaints. The Brookpark company was contacted about its misuse of the BBB logo in the 2008 AT&T directory and responded by stating that the error was AT&T’s fault. We are awaiting their response to the continued misuse this year.
BBB offers the following advice for verifying a company’s affiliations:
- Don’t just take a business’s word for it. If a company is claiming BBB affiliation, visit www.cleveland.bbb.org and review the BBB Reliability Report and rating from BBB, as well as additional information on the business’s management and complaint history.
- Businesses will often post the BBB Accredited Seal on their Web sites to show customers that they meet and uphold BBB’s standards. To verify accreditation, consumers should click on the BBB logo which will redirect them to either a confirmation page or the company’s reliability report hosted on the BBB Web site.
- Check the truthfulness of a company’s claims to be a member of or endorsed by any organization or agency. Contact the organization directly and verify the company’s affiliation.
- Consumers who believe a business is fraudulently claiming affiliation with the BBB or any other entity should notify the BBB and file a complaint either via letter, online at www.cleveland.bbb.org or over the phone.
BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 126 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.cleveland.bbb.org for more information about BBB.