The Better Business Bureau® (BBB®) is a US-based, national private corporation made up of smaller local associations with the stated purposes of maintaining files on businesses' reputations and helping to reconcile customer disputes with member companies. The organization specifically excuses itself from certain issues, including employee complaints, allegations of discrimination or those potentially related to lawsuits and legal or medical malpractice. Almost every small town or county has a Better Business Bureau® and some large metropolitan areas boast several. Complaints to the Better Business Bureau® are easily made. A customer can telephone his local BBB® to initiate the complaint, write a letter addressed to both the local and national offices, or make a complaint online through the organization's national website.
Telephone complaints to the Better Business Bureau® only initiate the complaint process at most of the associations. BBB® offices will mail a paper complaint form to the customer for collection of the claim details prior to beginning the dispute resolution process with the business in question. The claim form can then be returned to the Better Business Bureau® office by mail or fax. Information that can be garnered during the initial telephone report process can include the names and telephone numbers of the BBB® representatives, whether the business is a member in good standing with the local community association and whether other similar or recent complaints have been made against the company.
Letters outlining customer issues are another way to communicate complaints to the Better Business Bureau® and are often taken more seriously than telephone calls. Complaint correspondence should explain as clearly as possible the details of the customer's complaint and request a specific action on the part of the business to satisfy the dispute. Letters may be mailed or faxed to the BBB® office and it may also be helpful to "cc" or "carbon copy" a copy of this letter to the business with which the customer has a dispute. An advantage to writing a formal letter of complaint is that the customer has a copy documenting his complaint and his actions.
The easiest way to make complaints to the Better Business Bureau® is online through their national website. The online method leads a customer step-by-step through filling in a form that includes the nature of the complaint, the specific business in dispute, the customer's contact information and the details of the complaint itself. The complaining customer should make a copy of the final complaint form as well as notes on the date the complaint was made online to the agency.