Better Business Bureau
Since 1912, the focus of the Better Business Bureau's activities is to promote an ethical marketplace by encouraging honest advertising and selling practices, and alternative dispute resolution. Their mission 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." Today there are more than 138 BBBs around the country, with more than 14 million consumer contacts each year. The BBB has been active in Mississippi since 1964.
The BBB in Mississippi is headquartered at 601 Renaissance Way, Ste. A, Ridgeland, MS 39157. Services may be accessed at http://ms.bbb.org, via telephone at (800) 987-8280, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BBB provides many services for consumers, including:
Reliability Reports. The BBB issues reports on Mississippi businesses, to help inform consumers and potential consumers. Generally, a report will contain information about the length of time the company has been in business, a summary of the company's complaint history or other experience, and information developed through special BBB investigations.
Dispute Resolution. The BBB helps resolve complaints brought by consumers against businesses. Advanced dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration and mediation, are available.
Accreditation. The BBB provides a way for companies to signify their reliability through the process of Accreditation. BBB Accredited Businesses must sign an agreement to abide by the BBB Code of Business Practices, which holds them to the highest standards of trust and accountability.
Advertising Review. The BBB monitors advertising throughout Mississippi and challenges companies which make questionable or unsustainable claims in their advertising.
Charity Review. Through the Charity Review Program, the BBB conducts a thorough review of organizations soliciting donations from the public, to determine whether they meet generally-accepted standards in their use of donated funds. As part of this program, the BBB offers a BBB seal to charities which meet these standards, to help them communicate their high standards to potential donors.
Investigations. The BBB often conducts investigations of questionable marketplace activities, which may involve "shopping" companies which have been reported to be engaging in unethical activities. Results of the investigations are announced in the BBB's reports and through the media.
Alerts. The BBB helps warn consumers about possible scams and ripoffs, and provides information to help consumers make better business decisions.
Special Events. During the first week February each year, as part of Mississippi Consumer Protection Week, the Better Business Bureau partners with the Attorney General and Secretary of State (through the Mississippi Consumer Education Partnership) to sponsor Shred Days across the state. During 2010, shred events were held in D’Iberville, Hattiesburg, Jackson and Tupelo. Additionally, the BBB hosts a shred event in D’Iberville each fall as part of a nationwide BBB shred campaign. Participation in shred events is part of the BBB ongoing efforts to inform consumers about identity theft issues and current scams.