Frequently Asked Questions about the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Frequently asked questions

What Does BBB Stand For?

BBB stands for the Better Business Bureau.

What is BBB?

BBB is a nonprofit, independent organization that helps consumers find businesses and charities they can trust. Millions of people turn to us every year to view business profiles and charity reports.

BBB Accredited Businesses in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley support the mission and vision of our local BBB office.

How long has BBB been around?

The Better Business Bureau was founded in 1912 and has been advancing marketplace trust and fostering ethics in commerce ever since.

How do I find and contact my local BBB?

Visit us at Contact us at [email protected]. Or, call (408) 278-7400 in Silicon Valley or (213) 631-3600 in the Los Angeles area. You can also view our directory to find a BBB near you.

How do I check a company’s rating with BBB?

Go to and enter the company name and location in the search field.

How do I find out if a company is BBB Accredited?

A BBB Accredited Business will display the BBB seal of accreditation on its website and profile.

When you search for businesses on you have the option of viewing only BBB Accredited Businesses or all businesses.

Does BBB report only on accredited businesses?

No. BBB reports on accredited and non-accredited businesses.

How can my business become BBB Accredited?

To apply for BBB accreditation, first review our accreditation standards. If you comply with our standards, visit to get started.

What are the standards for BBB Accreditation?

BBB standards of accreditation are built on our standards for trust.

It’s a comprehensive set of best practices for how businesses should treat the public in a fair and honest manner.

Does BBB monitor accredited businesses for compliance with these standards?

Yes. Every BBB Accredited Business is monitored for continuing adherence to BBB standards for trust.

What is BBB’s rating system?

BBB assigns letter grades to each business and these ratings reflect how a business treats its customers. Some of the factors include:

  • The information we have on the business.
  • Complaints received from the public.
  • How the business responds to consumer complaints.
  • Transparency.
  • Truthful advertising.


When new information is added to a business’ file, such as recently filed complaints, BBB’s standard rating algorithm automatically updates the letter grade.

Can BBB recommend a reputable business for me?

BBB does not recommend or endorse any business, product or service. However, BBB Accreditation is a good place to start. 

BBB Accredited Businesses must meet strict standards to qualify for accreditation and to remain accredited. You can search on our website for BBB Accredited Businesses by location and industry.

How do I file a complaint, post a review, report a scam or a deceptive ad?

What is a BBB complaint?

Filing a complaint with BBB is a good way to resolve an issue with a business. You can file a complaint against any business (both BBB Accredited and non-accredited) on our website providing you are a bonafide consumer of that firm. If your complaint meets our acceptance guidelines, we’ll help you resolve the dispute.

How do I file a complaint about a business with BBB?

Step 1. Search for the business you would like to file a complaint against.

Step 2. Answer a few questions to help us process your complaint.

Step 3. Provide details about your complaint.

Here’s how the process works:

  • We will process the complaint within two business days.
  • The business will be asked to respond within 14 calendar days from the date you filed the complaint. If a response is not received, a follow up letter is sent.
  • You’ll be notified of the business’ response when BBB receives it and be asked to respond.
  • You’ll be notified if the business fails to respond. Complaints are generally closed within about 30 calendar days from the date filed.

Are BBB reviews the same as BBB complaints?

No. Reviews are not considered as part of a company’s rating, but complaints are.

Complaint – Consumers file a complaint when they want BBB to help resolve a dispute with a business. The outcome is shared with the public. 

Reviews – Customer reviews allow consumers to share their experience with a company.

Unlike most review sites, BBB reviews are verified. We require consumers to leave their name and we share this information with the business to confirm that the transaction took place. Unlike other platforms or blogs, BBB verification helps prevent consumers from writing fictitious reviews and protects the integrity of trustworthy businesses.

How can I leave a review of a business?

Visit to leave a review.

How do I report a scam?

Alert BBB and the public about your experience with a scammer by reporting the scam to BBB Scam Tracker.

What can BBB do to stop ripoffs and scams?

BBB does not have legal or policing powers and cannot compel a company to act. Instead, we alert the public of marketplace fraud through our scam alerts.

BBB works closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Since we are often the first to know about a developing scam, we alert the public and relevant authorities by providing them with valuable and timely information to help prevent future scams from taking place.

How does BBB ensure fairness if it gets its revenue from accredited businesses?

BBB’s value to the business community is based on our marketplace neutrality. We help businesses manage their reputations.

Our purpose is not to act as an advocate for businesses or consumers. We act as an objective, trusted resource to promote trustworthy business practices, resolve disputes and provide information to assist consumers in making wise buying decisions.

Businesses have supported BBB for more than 100 years because a trustworthy and ethical marketplace is in everyone’s best interest.

Does BBB report on government agency actions against businesses?

Yes. BBB reports on regulatory violations or legal actions against businesses by government agencies and that information helps consumers make smart decisions. This information can be found in the company’s BBB business profile.

Does BBB report on private and small claims court actions against businesses?

BBB generally does not report about private lawsuits or disputes between parties in a court of law. However, BBB may report on criminal convictions against a business or its principals if the matter relates to its dealings with the public.

What is the IABBB?

The International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB) is the network hub for BBBs in the US, Canada and Mexico.

IABBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers, fostering consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

IABBB and BBB National Programs are separate but related nonprofit organizations. They coordinate to fulfill this mission in different ways.

How can I apply to the BBB of Los Angeles and Silicon Valley?

More than 1 million consumers search for BBB Accredited Businesses in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley every year. Stand out from your competition by becoming BBB Accredited.

To get your business in Los Angeles or Silicon Valley accredited, apply to get accredited on our website now. Call us at (213) 463-6199 if you have any questions or require further information.