General

What is the Business Consumer Alliance?

We are a private, non-profit organization developed to monitor and report on the business practices of companies. Our mission is to promote business self regulation and we are governed by our own Board of Directors.

Isn't Business Consumer Alliance part of the Government?

No.

Isn't Business Consumer Alliance supported by my tax dollars?

No. We are supported primarily by dues paid by Business Consumer Alliance member businesses.

If your funding comes from businesses, how can you be fair to the consumer?

The purpose of Business Consumer Alliance is not to act as an advocate for businesses or consumers, but to act as a mutually trusted intermediary to resolve disputes, to facilitate communication, and to provide Reputation Reports on companies.

Complaints

How do I file a complaint?

To file a complaint against a company doing business in our service area, please use our online Complaint Form.

How do I respond to a complaint?

If you are a company representative, you may respond to a consumer complaint by clicking on the "Log In" button on top of the page.

How long does the complaint process take?

We strive to resolve complaints quickly.  The process, though, can take anywhere from one day to a few weeks.   Here is a brief summary of the process:

What kinds of complaints do you accept?

Business Consumer Alliance only accepts consumer-business complaints and business to business complaints alleging misrepresentation in advertising or a problem with a company's goods or services. 

We do NOT accept the following:
  • Complaints about employee-employer disputes
  • Complaints about government agencies
  • Complaints about any matter that has already been decided by or is pending in a court of law
  • Complaints about disputes between private parties
  • Complaints relating to landlord/tenant disputes
  • Complaints where the transaction took place more than a year ago
  • Anonymous complaints

I called Business Consumer Alliance and was told that what I am asking from the company is unreasonable. Isn't Business Consumer Alliance supposed to be on the consumer's side?

No.  Business Consumer Alliance works to achieve an outcome to disputes between consumers and businesses that is satisfactory to all parties. A list of types of complaints that we do not accept is included in the response to the previous question.

Do you accept anonymous complaints?

No, because we believe it is essential to the integrity of the reporting process that the company is given a reasonable opportunity to respond to complaint allegations. Also, it's impossible for us to verify the legitimacy of a complaint if it's filed anonymously. We do allow customers to post reviews about a business.  You do not need to disclose your name to post a review.

I filed a complaint with Business Consumer Alliance, but the company hasn't responded. Why can't you make a business respond and satisfy my complaint?

We are not a government or law enforcement agency, therefore, we cannot force a company to reply to a complaint, nor can we administer sanctions against the company. Failure to respond to complaints will, however, negatively affect a company's rating, and maintaining a good report is very important to most companies. Often the company will respond once it realizes the impact a negative report may have on its business.

Business Consumer Alliance is allowing a customer to file what I believe is an unfair complaint about my business. I'm a Business Consumer Alliance Member business - aren't you supposed to be on my side?

No. While Business Consumer Alliance is supported by the dues paid by Business Consumer Alliance member businesses, it acts as an intermediary to help settle disputes between consumers and businesses whether the company is a Business Consumer Alliance member or not.

How long does a complaint stay on file?

Generally, complaint information is kept between 12  and  36 months depending on how the business responded to the complaint,  but in some cases it is kept for a longer period of time.

Reports

What is a Reputation Report?

A company's Reputation Report is developed by  Business Consumer Alliance and includes information about the company. The information is compiled from various sources which may include any or all of the following: the company's Business Consumer Alliance file, which includes complaint and response information, the company itself, the company's customers, and government, regulatory, and licensing agencies, if applicable.

One of the most important aspects of the report is the rating we assign to the company. The ratings range from AAA to F and are determined by the company's composite score of such factors as its type of business, length of time in business, compliance with competency licensing requirements, complaint volume, complaint history, seriousness of complaints, response to complaints, and our experience with the company's industry in general. The scoring system takes into account the importance we feel each factor is to the company's reliability and the rating assigned is our opinion of the company's overall reliability.

Doesn't Business Consumer Alliance report only on Business Consumer Alliance Member businesses?

No. We issue reports on Business Consumer Alliance Members and non-member businesses alike, but our reports indicate whether the company is a Business Consumer Alliance Member.

What if the company information I have does not match any company in your database?

First, verify that you entered the information correctly.  If everything is correct, we may not have information on the company yet. You may submit information about a new company by clicking on the "Submit New Company Information" button that is displayed on the company search screen when our system is unable to locate a company with the information you entered.

Membership

Why should my company join Business Consumer Alliance?

Being a Business Consumer Alliance Member offers benefits to your company and your employees. To review some of the benefits available to Member Businesses only, view our Member Benefits Page.

How do I become a Member of Business Consumer Alliance?

Both our Member Agreement  and Member Application are available online.

How long does it take to become a Member Business?

All applications are screened to determine suitability for Business Consumer Alliance Membership; however, most are processed and given provisional Membership within one or two business days.

If my company is approved for Membership, do you contact me, and if so, how?

New Member Businesses are generally notified by letter that they are approved for Membership and will also receive a Member packet in the mail.

How much does Membership cost?

Annual Membership fees vary depending on the size of the company. Please contact our Member Services department for more information.

Customer Reviews

Business Consumer Alliance encourages the public to post reviews describing their experience with a business.  BCA accepts reviews on all businesses, charities or anyone offering a service.  Following are some of our guidelines:

Can I review a business if I haven’t actually done business with them?

In some cases, yes.  In general, we require that you actually frequent the establishment you’re writing about.  Sometimes, though, you may not actually purchase a product or service, but may want to write about the business’s condition or the attitude of their employees.  We ask that you make it clear in your review that you didn’t buy the goods or services, but are simply commenting on the ambiance or facilities.

How do I rate my review?

Just below the frame where you write your review, you’ll find a set of five stars.  Simply click on the star rating you want to assign to the business and it will appear opposite your review once it has been published.

What if I later decide to edit my review or the rating I’ve given. Can I change it?

Yes. You can edit a review after it’s been posted. You can also change the star rating of the review.

I’m a business owner. Can I comment on or respond to a review that’s been posted on my business?

Yes.  BCA has a feature that allows you to comment on a review or respond to reviews.  Your response will appear directly below the subject review.  Your response needn’t be limited to negative reviews.  You can also comment on five star reviews.  To post a response or comment, you’ll need to be registered as the owner of a business. 

Does BCA filter reviews for authenticity?

Yes we do.  We do our best to ensure that the reviews posted are authentic.  If we determine, in our sole judgment, that a review may not be genuine, that is,  it may not have been posted by a customer, we will remove it.  No review process is perfect, though, so it’s important that the reader determine for themselves how much weight to give to any individual review.  In some cases, we’re able to validate reviews meaning that we know that the review was posted by a customer.  In those cases, we’ll mark the review as “Verified.”

What is a “Featured Review”

Members of BCA are permitted to designate a review as “Featured.”  This means that the business believes the review is significant and worthy of the reader’s attention.  If a review is “Featured” it will be displayed at the top of the review list.