The BBB, or Better Business Bureau, is another avenue for filing complaints for work at home scams. The BBB accepts complaints even if the company doesn't belong to the Better Business Bureau. By filing a complaint with the BBB, you are creating a record. When others search the BBB when they see an opportunity they're not sure about, these complaints appear. Just because a company has a record of BBB complaints doesn't make it bogus, but it can sure be a red flag that could prevent someone else from jumping in and getting scammed.
What is the BBB?
The BBB - Better Business Bureau is a private organization whose stated vision is to provide: "An ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other" and its mission is "To be the leader in advancing marketplace trust." The intent is for consumers to have an unbiased source to guide them. Membership in the BBB is voluntary, and businesses pay fees for membership. Consumer complaints against member BBB businesses are typically monitored by a dispute resolution specialist and followed to conclusion. The BBB acts as an intermediary between the business and consumers. However, the BBB also plays an important role in maintaining records of complaints against non-member companies. In this way, consumers can see if a business has previous complaints against it and can make a more informed decision on whether to trust that business.
The BBB rates companies based on their record on a scale of A+ to F (the BBB previously used a numerical scale). I can tell you from first-hand experience, that even A-rated BBB members are not always easy to deal with.
There are 128 BBB offices in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Each office maintains files on businesses headquartered in its service area. Every BBB in the U.S. and Canada posts its reliability reports on the web via the BBB online.
Because the BBB is not a government or law enforcement agency, it cannot enforce the law or force a company to take action. However, the unwillingness of a business to respond to the BBB is noted in the company's record and may be a further indication that it is a company you would be best to steer clear of.
About Filing a Complaint
The Better Business Bureau accepts complaints involving all types of businesses - online, offline, BBB members (accredited businesses) and non-BBB-accredited businesses. They also accept complaints against charities and non-profits. Most complaints are related to marketplace transactions, including advertising claims.
Because the BBB will not process anonymous complaints, you will be required to provide your contact information in any complaint you file with them. Additionally, BBB complaints must include a company name and enough information to forward the complaint to the company. Finally, the complaint must involve a consumer-to-business or business-to-business transaction that relates to the advertisement or sale of a product or service.
Where to Report Work at Home Scams to the BBB
The BBB allows you to file a complaint on its website at: https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/getstarted.aspx. You might also want to check before you file your complaint if the company is a BBB-accredited business or not, and if there are any other complaints about it, by doing an advanced search at: http://search.bbb.org. The page has three tabs you can use to pull up the information on the company you're looking for. The Phone, URL, Email tab is excellent for researching online scams and even email scams. Searching this way may provide you with physical locations and company names you might not otherwise have known.
What to Expect After You File Your Complaint
After you've successfully filed your complaint with the BBB, you'll receive an email confirmation. That confirmation typically includes information on which BBB office is handling your complaint and provides a link to a PDF file of your complaint for your review. From that point on, you may receive direct contact from a Dispute Resolution Specialist, who will work with you until the matter is resolved or the BBB reaches a dead end.
This Better Business Bureau article is part of the Reporting Work at Home Scams series.