We at the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) are very excited to start our blog on Area Voices! Before we get started, we thought a little refresher course might be a good idea. Most people have heard of the Better Business Bureau, but not everyone knows who we are. A lot of people think we’re a government entity, which is incorrect. The BBB is a non-profit agency dedicated to promoting the highest ethical relationship between businesses and the public. We receive no tax dollars and are funded entirely by membership dues paid by our Accredited Businesses (or member companies). Not just any company can be an Accredited Business, however. They have to meet stringent guidelines before qualifying for accreditation.
When you hear we’re funded by our Accredited Businesses you might assume we’re on the side of business. While it’s true the Better Business Bureau was founded by ethical business owners back in 1912 (right here in Minneapolis) and one of our main goals is to make all businesses better “ both Accredited and Non-Accredited,” our ultimate aim is to ensure that the marketplace operates as efficiently and fairly as possible, for both businesses AND consumers. We do that by encouraging and promoting ethical behavior and practices in the business community, and also through consumer education.
Every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the BBB has trained operators available to answer questions from the public. Callers in Minnesota and North Dakota can call toll-free at 1-800-646-6222. These operators are also able to mail or e-mail relevant reports and reference materials which help consumers make educated purchasing decisions and avoid losing hard-earned money to dishonest operators and fraudulent schemes. Information is also available 24 hours a day through our automated phone system, as well as on our website www.bbb.org
The Better Business Bureau plays a vital role in the health of the marketplace. Thanks to the support of our Accredited Businesses we’re able to: provide a forum where businesses and customers can resolve their differences amicably; monitor advertising in Minnesota and North Dakota and challenge questionable claims by advertisers; offer Business Reviews on companies (both Accredited and Non-Accredited); and provide the public with timely fraud alerts and updates regarding unethical business practices. Our presence and the services we offer help the marketplace function more efficiently and minimize the need for more government regulations. Currently, there are 122 Better Business Bureaus throughout the United States and Canada. Our BBB is headquartered in St. Paul, but we also have satellite offices in Fargo and St. Cloud.
Now that you know a little bit more about who we are and what we do, we hope you’ll tune into our blog from time to time, and that you’ll continue to use our services–or, if this is all new to you, that you’l stop by our website to learn about the many services we offer free of charge.
As far as this blog, it will likely evolve over time, but look for helpful consumer tips, updates on the latest scams and reflections on trends in the marketplace. We’ll talk about North Dakota and our efforts to expand our presence there. We might even try a humorous post from time to time. As most of you MAY have noticed, we’re living in fairly angry times. And humor is often the best medicine.
We also want to hear from you. After all, we’re YOUR Better Business Bureau and we’re here to serve you!