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8 of Our Most Frequently Asked Questions
The following list contains the most frequently asked questions regarding the Better Business Bureau of Northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe Basin. If your specific question is not addressed in this FAQ, just contact the BBB and we will be happy to answer your question.

Question 1 - Can any company become a BBB member?
Answer - No. Membership in the Better Business Bureau is by invitation only to those companies who have an established history, and agree to maintain a high level of business practice standards.

Question 2 - Are the BBB and the Chamber of Commerce the same thing?
Answer - No. While each organization plays an important role in the enhancement of trade in the community, they both serve separate functions. Chambers of Commerce promotes the community through economic development and other activities. Better Business Bureaus protect the community and work to promote an ethical marketplace.

Question 3 - If your funding is from business, how can you be fair to the consumer?
Answer - The Better Business Bureau's value to the business community is based on its neutrality. The purpose of the BBB system is not to act as an advocate for businesses or consumers, but to act as a mutually trusted third party to help resolve disputes, to facilitate communication, and to provide information on ethical business practices. Businesses have supported the Better Business Bureau for over 80 years because an ethical marketplace is in everyone's best interest.

Question 4 - Why can't the BBB stop rip-offs and scams?
Answer - Many times the Bureau does. Although the BBB systems does not have legal and policing powers, Bureaus provide information about marketplace fraud through media releases and alerts.

Bureaus work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, providing them with valuable information on potentially fraudulent activities. Many times BBBs are the first organization to know about a developing scam and they alert authorities and the public. When a scam develops in one part of the country, the news travels quickly to the 180 BBB offices in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico that in turn alert the public in their communities.

The public can help to stop rip-offs and scams by contacting the BBB before they do business with an unknown company and by notifying their BBB of a potential scam. Remember - If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Question 5 - Does the BBB report on all companies or only its members?
Answer - The BBB issues reports on members and non-members alike. As a policy, the Better Business Bureau does not recommend or endorse any company, product or service, and applies the same reporting standards to companies, regardless of their BBB membership. BBB reports may, however, note the fact that a company is a member of the Better Business Bureau.

Question 6 - Why do I have to call long distance to get a report on a company?
Answer - There are 180 BBB offices in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Each office maintains files on companies headquartered in its service area, which may extend to over a 200 mile radius. Local Bureaus have the most current information on companies from their complaint files, plus additional information gathered from various area sources such as local, state and federal government agencies. Bureaus also carry reports on companies that conduct business nationally. Call your local BBB first to see if it has the company report that you need.

Question 7 - Why can't you make the business take care of my complaint?
Answer - When the BBB receives a complaint, we present it to the business in question and request their assistance in working out the problem with their customer. Most companies appreciate the fact we have given them an opportunity to know about the complaint and they try to resolve the problem with their customer. In most instances working with the customer means that their patronage will be preserved.

BBB members agree to respond to consumer complaints presented by the BBB. If they don't respond, it is a violation of their membership standards and their membership will be revoked by the BBB Board of Directors.

Some companies do not want to work with their customer or the BBB to resolve disputes. Because the BBB is not a government or law enforcement agency, the Bureau cannot force a reply from a company; nor can it administer sanctions. However, a company's unwillingness to respond to the BBB or a customer will be noted in the company's reliability report the BBB provided to the public. The customer is free to pursue other alternatives.

Its very important to let us know if you have a complaint. The Better Business Bureau reports on all complaints it processes for a three year time period. Having the complaint history on a company can help you decide if you want to do business with them and will possibly help you ward off problems.

Question 8 - What good is the BBB if it can't help me resolve my problem?
Answer - BBBs can help solve consumer/business disputes. As private non-profit organizations, however, they cannot force a solution on parties to a dispute. Most BBBs do offer alternative dispute resolutions, such as mediation and arbitration to help resolve consumer disputes. These alternatives can save both businesses and consumer the time and expense of going to court.

Better Business Bureaus do a lot more than help settle disputes. Through the support of their local business membership, BBBs work for an ethical marketplace by maintaining standards of truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses and providing information to consumers before they purchase products and services.


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