The Better Business Bureau//Building trust in the marketplace
Friday, December 7, 2018
Posted by: Jacki Presnal
By Jamie Killin
The Better Business Bureau has been serving its communities for more than 100 years, helping to set the standard for ethical business behavior through its accreditation services and other programs.
The Better Business Bureau in Phoenix has a long history itself, beginning as the Better Business Bureau of Maricopa 80 years ago after the then Merchants and Manufacturers Association learned of the concept in a nearby city.
“They wanted to copy it but decided to create a Better Business Bureau versus doing it inside the Merchants and Manufacturers Association, which was an association for businesses and business services,” said Matthew Fehling, the president and CEO of BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest. “So, in 1938 they set up a Better Business Bureau of Maricopa.”
Since then, the Better Business Bureau and its associated foundation have helped to alert consumers of scams, provide important insights into businesses, help resolve disputes, educate the community on business best practices, provide scholarships and more.
Many don’t realize that the Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit and that the organization doesn’t receive funding from the government or community members. Instead, it is primarily funded by its business members.
“The earnings that we make and the income over expense don’t go to the benefit of any kind of shareholders or anything like that. It goes back out into the community that we serve,” said Fehling. “Our mission is broad enough to encompass a lot of different activities that we believe advance it.”
That mission centers around protecting consumers and businesses alike through both Better Business Bureau services as well as the foundation, which focuses heavily on education.
“We go out to educate consumers or businesses or vulnerable populations on wise investing and how not to get scammed,” said Fehling of the foundation. “We honor students who are doing the right thing in athletics. We have a partnership with the Arizona Interscholastic Association where we honor ethical athletes. We have a new program honoring cadets that are in ROTC programs at their high schools. So we do a fair amount of work to educate the youth.”
At its core, the Better Business Bureau aims to help businesses regulate themselves, making them less susceptible to government regulation and less likely to engage in unethical and harmful business practices.
“The Better Business Bureau’s goal is really to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. So by that, we want buyers and sellers to trust each other,” said Fehling. “Trust is kind of the bedrock of the free market enterprise. When you take out your wallet or your purse and pull out a piece of paper that happens to be green and has a number on it, you trust as a shop owner that you’re going to be able to deposit that into the bank and pay some bills. I mean, even that requires trust.”
Today, the Better Business Bureau in Phoenix continues to grow, with expanded services across Arizona, mergers in Southern California and new services to better serve consumers and businesses.
While the mission has remained the same for the past 80 years, the organization has continued to find new services, such as the ability to leave reviews in addition to filing complaints, offering meeting space to partners, and providing online education resources. Through these resources, the Better Business Bureau plans to continue growing and strengthening the Phoenix business community.
“Ethics, integrity and doing the right thing are not generational,” said Fehling. “People may say, well, the Better Business Bureau has been around for 100 years. But if you look at the way we started and what we did then versus what we do now, we’re tremendously different in the services we provide. But one thing remains true and that is that we believe that all of the services we provide advance our mission.”
To learn more, visit bbb.org/us/az/phoenix.
To read the online article, click here