New Year’s Resolutions

By | January 1, 2015

Better Business Bureau Serving suggests ethical behavior on the part of both consumers and businesses is always a good idea, so here are some resolutions for both businesses and consumers. Ethical behavior is always a two-way street with both businesses and consumers playing a role in creating trust in our marketplace. The vision of Better Business Bureau is an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other. The accomplishment of this goal falls on both businesses and consumers, especially during this busy time of year.BBB guidelines for businesses are established through the “BBB Code of Business Practices,” which include eight standards.They were created to assist BBB in guiding businesses to embody ethics and integrity and trust through self-regulation by several means, including dispute resolution, advertising review and exposing unethical behavior in the marketplace. BBB Accredited businesses agree to uphold these standards when they join BBB, but both accredited and non-accredited businesses are held to these same standards by BBB and are rated on the exact same criteria.The eight standards of the BBB Code of Business Practices are:• “Build Trust.” This is accomplished by business as they establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace. • “Advertise Honestly.” The first function of BBB when it was formed in 1912 was advertising oversight, it continues today through the “BBB Code of Advertising.”• “Tell the Truth.” Businesses are asked to honestly represent products and services to consumers to promote trust in the marketplace. • “Be Transparent.” Companies are encouraged to openly identify the nature, location and ownership of businesses as well as all policies, guarantees and procedures that bear on a customer’s decision to buy.• “Honor Promises.” It is important for all companies to abide by written agreements and verbal representations in order to build trust and foster consumer confidence in local businesses. • “Be Responsive” if problems arise. Sooner or later, it is likely that every business will experience an unhappy consumer. BBB recommends businesses address marketplace disputes quickly, professionally and in good faith. • “Safeguard Privacy.” Businesses should only collect personal consumer data as needed and always protect it from mishandling and fraud. “Embody Integrity.” Approach all business dealings, transactions and commitments with integrity in order to earn the trust of consumers.These simple standards provide a clear path for all businesses to follow in order to earn the trust of consumers. This, in turn, also helps local businesses grow as they establish a strong reputation as one that embodies integrity within the business community.Businesses and consumers have ethical responsibilities in business transactions. Consumer’s responsibilities; in part; include:• Be responsible. Start With Trust®. Check with BBB before doing business to learn the reputation of a business anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. Do your homework first.• Be honest.• Shop around for the best price. BBB regularly receives inquiries on whether or not businesses are allowed to “overcharge” for products and services. A business has a right to charge whatever they want from products or services and consumers are under no obligation to buy them.• Read and understand contracts and know your rights before signing. Ask about a store’s refund and exchange policy before you buy. Terms and conditions play a major role in internet purchases.• “As Is” means exactly that when purchasing a used car. It is the responsibility of the consumer to make sure the vehicle is in good mechanical condition by having it checked out with an independent mechanic.• Do not assume you have the right to a refund or exchange and keep or print receipts when making purchases. Each business usually has its own return policy that determines an amount of time after purchase that an item can be returned and whether you will receive cash or a store credit. It is the responsibility of the consumer to know these terms.• Trust your instincts and do not be pressured. Recognize the warning if an offer seems too good to be true. Contact the BBB at bbb.org or 691-1533 any time of the day or night for information on businesses throughout North America.