Dallas, TX, February 12, 2013 -- In 2012, Better Business Bureau serving Dallas and Northeast Texas provided a total of 7,393,774 instances of service, up 26% from 2011. The most-used BBB service, free BBB Business Reviews provided to customers who are checking out businesses, jumped 27% for a total of 2,953,789. Visits to the BBB Dallas website increased 15% to 2,955,030. Use of mobile phones and the free BBB iPhone app to access BBB online was up 329% to 340,296. The BBB automated information line handled 66,764 calls in 2012.
Most contacts to the BBB are pre-purchase inquiries from customers who want to check out a particular business or find BBB Accredited Businesses. The BBB provides Business Reviews on both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses. BBB Business Reviews include basic information on a business, including whether the business is BBB accredited, and show the BBB Rating for the business on a scale from A+ to F.
In all, BBB Dallas provided 2,953,789 Business Reviews in 2012, up 27% from 2011. The types of business with the most inquiries to BBB Dallas were:
1. Roofing Contractors – 133,126
2. Electric Companies – 72,679
3. Security Systems – 54,842
4. Air Conditioning Contractors – 53,840
5. Collection Agencies – 53,590
6. Auto Dealers - Used Cars – 52,307
7. Foundation Repair – 43,004
8. Mortgage Brokers – 40,387
9. Debt Relief Services – 40,386
10. Multi-Level Selling – 40,269
The BBB also provides tips on marketplace issues and refers consumers to other BBBs or agencies when indicated. For complaints that are out of BBB purview or otherwise cannot be handled, the BBB suggests other steps. BBB Dallas provided 17,822 instances of counseling and referral in 2012.
The BBB accepts customer complaints on businesses, both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses. Complaints may be filed online at www.dallas.bbb.org by clicking “File a Complaint”, or may be sent in a letter. The BBB sends complaints to the business and asks for a response. Then the BBB checks with the customer to see if the matter is resolved. The outcome of the complaint may affect the BBB rating for the business.
In 2012, BBB Dallas received 37,150 complaints, an increase of 5% over 2011. The top types of businesses with complaints were:
1. Internet Shopping – 1,762
2. Consumer Finance & Loan – 1,099
3. Internet Marketing Services – 1,075
4. Dating Services – 826
5. Telephone Companies – 628
6. Mortgage Brokers – 551
7. Collection Agencies – 546
8. Auto Dealers - New Cars – 543
9. Electric Companies – 517
10. Bus Lines – 508
BBB arbitration is available to BBB Accredited Businesses to help resolve complaints. In BBB arbitration, a trained community volunteer conducts a hearing. Both the business and consumer agree to abide by the arbitrator’s decision. In 2012, BBB Dallas administered 92 arbitration hearings, nearly double the number of hearings in 2011.
Fulfilling its original mission to promote truth in advertising, the BBB conducts a local advertising review program. The BBB monitors local ads and also receives complaints from the public. The ads are reviewed for compliance with the BBB Code of Advertising, which sets out basic principles for truthful advertising.
For ads that may not meet BBB standards, the BBB contacts the advertiser and asks that the claims be substantiated, modified, or discontinued. The outcome of an advertising review case may affect the BBB rating for a business.
In 2012, BBB Dallas closed 406 advertising review cases, 220% more than 2011. In most cases (81%), the desired result was obtained -- businesses responded to the BBB and either substantiated, modified, or discontinued the challenged claims.
When BBB learns information about an offer or business that raises questions of possible deceptive or fraudulent practices with consumers, BBB investigates further. Steps may include reviewing customer complaints; reading business websites, advertising, or contracts; determining associations with other businesses; researching applicable laws or regulations; or requesting information or clarification from the business.
In 2012, BBB Dallas completed 56 investigations and two industry studies, one on payday loans and another on deductible assistance programs for roofing. Following an investigation, if indicated, BBB may add detail about the business or its practices to the BBB Business Review, inform the public through news releases or working with news media, or refer information to appropriate law enforcement. BBB Dallas investigations resulted in 8 news stories and 64 referrals to law enfocement in 2012.
BBB in Dallas is engaged in ongoing communications efforts to encourage consumers and businesses to contact the BBB, to provide timely and helpful marketplace information, and to help warn both consumers and businesses about current schemes. In 2012, BBB in Dallas sent 12 news releases, resulting in 106 media mentions and speeches in 2012.
BBB Dallas posted 231 news items and tips for consumers and for business to the News Center on the BBB Dallas website in 2012.
In addition, BBB Dallas posts to Facebook at www.facebook.com/dallasbbb, to Twitter at www.twitter.com/dallasbbb and to YouTube at www.youtube.com/thedallasbbb.
The first BBB Dallas Student Video Showcase was a project with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. Winners were announced in June, 2012, on Facebook and Twitter, and videos were posted on YouTube. The winning showcase video, "Don't Fall for It," shows how things aren't always what they seem when it comes to trust. The winning "making of" video shows production of another showcase video, "Start with Trust". See all the videos here: http://tinyurl.com/acjq2nv
BBB was a sponsor of the State of Search Conference held in November, 2012, by the DFW Search Engine Marketing Association. BBB spoke on "BBB in the Digital Age." BBB also presented a video, "Maximize Your Search with BBB," at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdrcdr-ptq4.
Twice a month, the BBB Bulletin newsletter is emailed to BBB Accredited Businesses. In 2012, Bulletin distribution totaled 80,032.
BBB is an independent, non-profit, business-supported organization. Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas, Inc., was founded in 1920 and today is supported by BBB Accredited Businesses throughout the BBB’s 13-county service area.
BBB Accredited Businesses are screened, approved, and monitored. BBB Accredited Businesses must continue to meet the BBB Code of Business Practices, which is based on the BBB Standards for Trust: Build Trust, Advertise Honestly, Tell the Truth, Be Transparent, Honor Promises, Be Responsive, Safeguard Privacy, and Embody Integrity. BBB Accredited Businesses that do not continue to meet the accreditation standards are revoked, and the revocation is reported in the BBB Business Review.
BBB Accredited Businesses are identified in BBB Business Reviews, through dynamic seals online, on plaques and decals, and in Accredited Business rosters. Customers can request rosters of BBB Accredited Business by type of business. In 2012, 903,707 rosters were requested, up 53% from 2010.
Consumers can also click on “Request a Quote” on the BBB Web site to hear from a BBB Accredited Business. In 2012, there were 24,781 “Request A Quote” referrals, an increase of 41% over 2011.
In 2012, BBB Dallas launched a refreshed online BBB Accredited Business Directory. New features include more ways to search for accredited businesses by category and area served, photos and videos posted by BBB Accredited Businesses, and BBB news.
BBB Dallas representatives conducted 7,020 accreditation interviews in 2012, enrolling 1,241 new accredited businesses, for a total of 5,734 BBB Accredited Businesses at year’s end.
BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas is an independent, non-profit business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair business practices and works for trust in the marketplace. BBB helps consumers find and recommend businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's Standards For Trust. BBB provides services for both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses. BBB services include BBB Business Reviews on businesses, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by category, customer complaint resolution services, advertising review for truth in advertising, and tips and alerts for consumers and for businesses. The BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas was founded in 1920 and is one of 114 BBBs serving the U.S. and Canada. Last year, people relied on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips, and scam alerts more than 103 million times. For more, start at www.dallas.bbb.org