Wisconsin Better Business Bureau: Annual report — More consumers using BBB services than ever before

CONTACT: Susan Bach, Director of Communications

PHONE: 414- 847- 6085

FAX: 414-302- 0355

E-MAIL: [email protected]

Milwaukee, Wis. – Consumers turned to the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) nearly 3.5 million times last year, a 55 percent increase in activity from 2009.

“For more than 70 years, the Wisconsin BBB has stood for high ethics and exceptional business standards,” said Randall Hoth, president/CEO of the Wisconsin BBB. “Last year’s statistics show that the BBB remains the go-to source for information on how businesses conduct themselves with customers, suppliers and other companies, even in the Internet age.”

BBB Business Reviews and letter grades from A+ to F reflect customers’ experience with businesses over a three-year period. Grades are based on 16 factors, including how long a company has been in business, number of customers served, how it handles disputes and whether complaints are addressed promptly, among other variables.

Requests for BBB reports on businesses jumped to 1,084,842, up 47 percent from 2009. The number of complaints opened with the Wisconsin BBB rose slightly by 2 percent to 15,228. The BBB fielded 19,001 telephone calls. However, the bulk of traffic came through the local BBB website, which logged 2.25 million page views for the year.

The BBB’s dispute resolution service was able to obtain responses for 82 percent of the complaints filed with the BBB by consumers, and, of those complaints, more than 90 percent were resolved.

Monitoring of advertising remains an important function at the BBB, which challenged 165 ads for questionable claims or noncompliance with BBB standards, an increase of more than 300 percent from 2009. The BBB asked the companies to modify their ads to eliminate false or misleading information.

Another important function of the BBB is consumer education, which occurs through media alerts, social media sites, consumer newsletters and educational events, such as ShredFest – the BBB’s bi-annual free community shredding event. In 2010, the Wisconsin BBB collected, shredded and recycled more than 87,000 pounds of personal documents from consumers, which is up more than 36 percent from material collected in 2009.

BBB services to the public are free. Consumers may obtain Business Reviews 24 hours a day by going online to http://www.bbb.org or by calling 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Northeast Wisconsin) or 800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). To subscribe to the BBB’s free Consumer e-newsletter, go to wisconsin.bbb.org/newsletter. The Wisconsin BBB’s social media sites are http://www.twitter.com/WisconsinBBB, http://www.facebook.com/WisconsinBBB and http://www.youtube.com/BBBTVChannel.

Top 10 Industries For BBB Inquiries

1. Roofing Contractors


2. Construction & Remodeling Services


3. Heating & Air Conditioning Contractors


4. Auto Dealers – Used Cars


5. Auto Repair & Service


6. Home Builders


7. Windows – Installation & Service


8. Home Improvement Contractors


9. Landscape Contractors


10. Mortgage Brokers


Total for all industries


Top 10 Industries For BBB Complaints

1. Mail Order & Catalog Shopping


2. Auto Repair & Service


3. Auto Dealers-Used Cars


4. Internet Shopping


5. Furniture-Retail


6. Auto Dealers-New Cars


7. Department Stores


8. Insurance Services


9. Consumer Finance & Loan


10. Tanning Salons


Total for all industries


For more information or further inquiries, please contact the Wisconsin BBB at http://www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), (920)-734-4352 (Appleton) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).