Chicago, IL, January 7, 2009 - Inquiries to the Chicago Better Business Bureau that serves all of northern Illinois jumped by 71 percent in 2008, a significant sign that consumers are getting smarter by investigating companies before doing business with them, according to the BBB president. The increased inquiries were accompanied by only a slight two percent increase in complaints over last year.
"We are very pleased that the BBB has become a greater resource for consumers who are following our advice to check out the record of a business first before signing a contract or making a purchase," says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business of Chicago and Northern Illinois. "If consumers would consistently do this simple first step, there would be many fewer upset and dissatisfied shoppers."
The total number of inquiries fielded by the BBB in 2008 was 1,908,860, a marked increased over the 1,111,719 in 2007. Complaints to the BBB, however, remained fairly steady increasing only two percent or 879 for the 54,844 complaints handled in 2008 compared to 53,965 handled in 2007.
"When we add the BBB Online stats to our inquiry count, which reflect the number of times that consumers click on our online seal on accredited business sites, we had over 3.3 million requests for our company reports. This is the most in our history!" said Bernas. "This continues to show the value of the Better Business Bureau to maintaining an ethical marketplace."
The reason for the varied increases, says Bernas, is the intensive education campaign the Better Business Bureau has sponsored through the use of billboards, print and online advertising, and publicity.
"Our billboard and advertising campaigns support the theme of using the BBB to 'Find a business you can trust!' It appears that consumers are taking us up on our offer in record numbers," explains Bernas.
The top 10 types of businesses receiving complaints for northern Illinois in 2008 were: (Department Stores, Financial Services, New Car Auto Dealers, Collection Agencies, Insurance Companies, Travel Agencies & Bureaus, Television-Cable, CATV & Satellite, Airlines, Natural Gas Companies, and Moving Companies.)
Consumers seeking Free BBB Reliability Reports can visit our website at www.chicago.bbb.org or call 312-832-0500.