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Is the BBB Important When Choosing an Auto Repair Shop?

When you need to take your vehicle in for maintenance or repairs, it’s always wise to be an informed consumer. Better Business Bureau (BBB) reviews are a great online resource for drivers, and the specific BBB rating can tell you a lot about the integrity and service level of a particular repair shop.

Overview of the BBB

The BBB is a nonprofit organization that operates independently of the government. It gathers and publishes consumer reviews of over four million businesses across North America, with the ultimate goal of advancing marketplace trust. According to the bureau’s mission, trust is two-fold. First, integrity means operating ethically and intently with respect to consumers and other players in the market. Second is performance. How effectively does the business deliver a product or service? Also, are customer concerns being addressed in a timely and resolute manner? The BBB aims to set these standards by applauding industry role models, identifying and addressing poor conduct, and educating both consumers and business owners.

Ratings & Reviews

Until 2009, the BBB rated businesses as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Today, however, each business receives a specific letter grade between A+ (high) and F (low). A subject’s rating represents information from its BBB profile, which is created using data from consumer complaints, various public sources, and the business itself. Information includes the following:

  • Complaint history
  • Nature of the business
  • Transparency of operations
  • Length of time the business has been operating
  • Compliance with BBB commitments
  • Licensure requirements and any government intervention
  • Response to BBB advertising challenges

The rating process involves a thorough investigation into each of these factors. For example, the bureau looks not only at the age and number of complaints filed against a business, but also at how the company has historically responded to those complaints. If the bureau is unable to reasonably confirm how long a business has been operating, it will assume a start date based on when the BBB file was created. Note that the last factor refers to the way a company uses its BBB rating; any known falsification or public misrepresentation will likely result in a lower grade.

Points System

The BBB further divides the rating factors above into specific categories, each carrying a different weight and range of potential points. For example, “unanswered complaints” ranges from 0 to 40 points. In other words, a business that responds to most of its complaints will typically receive a high score in this category. It can earn an additional 30 points based on the number of complaints that are actually resolved. In some categories, however, points are deducted from a maximum score of zero. This means that a business can receive negative points for failing to honor, say, a legal order or trademark law.

Ratings are based on a 100-point scale. An A+ requires a combined score of at least 97, whereas anything below 60 receives an F. In some cases, the bureau may assign a grade of NR (Not Rated), which usually indicates a lack of information or that the subject is under review or is being updated.

Using BBB Ratings to Evaluate Auto Repair Shops

A BBB rating is essentially an appraisal of how a business is likely to treat its customers. It sheds light on the quality and delivery of a company’s product or service as well. For vehicle owners, this is gold. Unless you perform the repair yourself, you are putting a considerable degree of trust in whichever auto shop you take your vehicle to. A BBB profile can tell you about any filed complaints, how often they occur, and how quickly the shop works to resolve them.

It is also wise to check whether or not the auto repair shop is BBB accredited. This requires a separate application as well as a commitment to certain BBB standards, such as advertising honestly, maintaining customer privacy, acting with transparency, and responding to customers quickly and in good faith. Think of good faith as an honest repair quote. In many cases, the bureau may also ask a business to present further proof of information before granting approval. In addition, all approved applicants pay a fee that supports various services that the BBB offers to the public. While accreditation is not a requirement to be listed with the bureau, it does signify a strong degree of commitment to these standards and shows that the company cares about the opinions of its customers.

The BBB continuously monitors all profiles to give consumers the most up-to-date information. Whether you’ve been referred to a specific auto repair shop by a friend or you’ve done a quick search on your own, it’s a good idea to quickly reference the bureau’s published list of auto repair reviews and ratings. Again, the most reputable shops will have an A+ rating. Better still, is an accredited shop with an A+ rating. This designation can give you that extra degree of confidence that the shop owner and mechanics have your best interest in mind.