Your Better Business Bureau

Your Better Business Bureau

By Dennis Horton

By Dennis Horton

Manager of Public Affairs, BBB

The Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois is approaching its 75th anniversary. And although it seems a closely-guarded secret for 13 of those years, there has been a regional office of the BBB located here in Rockford.

The Mission Statement of the bureau is:

“To promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence.

“Our goal is a fair and healthy marketplace for the benefit of consumers, businesses, and through that, the community.”

The services and benefits of the BBB are not open to all businesses in our 19-county service area (from Chicago west to the Mississippi and the Wisconsin/Illinois border south to about I-80), only to those that meet and maintain the standards of the BBB. Therefore, membership in the Better Business Bureau is by invitation only.

To be a member, a business must agree to uphold ethical advertising and selling standards and be free from governmental action that involves its marketplace conduct. Additionally, it cannot have a pattern of complaints, must resolve complaints that are brought to the BBB’s attention, and must also have been in business at least one year.

The Better Business Bureau is not a government agency. Another common belief is that the BBB exists only as a place to file complaints against businesses. The fact is that:

1. We are business’ only incorporated, non-profit, fraud-fighting organization. Being unbiased, we are able to do many thing for the public and legitimate business.

2. We increase the financial resources available to legitimate business by promoting sound business practices and reducing fraud.

3. We investigate schemes that compete unfairly with legitimate taxpaying firms and work to keep the consumer informed about rackets, which seek to divert funds from legitimate channels.

4. We promote truth and accuracy in advertising.

5. We help eliminate unfair competition through the support of ethical trade standards.

6. We warn the public against get-rich schemes.

7. We provide dependable and factual business-reliability reports.

8. We offer mediation and, if needed, binding arbitration to help settle disputes.

9. And we provide a Charitable Solicitations Program making information available on charities before you give. Information is available on national, state and local charities.

That’s who we are and what we do.

Thanks to The Rock River Times, you will find us here as a regular feature.

As the Better Business Bureau’s Manager of Public Affairs for the Regional Office, I will endeavor to keep you informed on everything from consumer fraud alerts to protecting yourself when Internet shopping.

If you have need to contact us, call (815)963-2222, or go to our website, We are located at 810 E. State Street, Suite 303, in the River District. For membership information, call (815)490-9283.

Next: Electronic Check Conversion—what’s it about.

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