Shopping online can feel like walking through a bustling bazaar. Unique finds and great deal are everywhere, but not all sellers are created equal. This is true whether you’re shopping for gifts, buying clothes, ordering vitamins from an online pharmacy or reserving a hotel room for your next trip off island.
To ensure you spend your hard-earned money at reputable vendors, visit the Better Business Bureau before you click “buy.” This trustworthy, independent nonprofit vets businesses of all sorts. Here’s a look at steps to use BBB — and other tools — to ensure you’re engaging with trustworthy companies online:
Visit Third-Party Business Review Sites
Independent platforms like BBB offer free resources to check a business’s reputation. Newer players like Yelp, Trustpilot and Amazon are helpful, but BBB has additional benefits. It also existed before the internet.
Founded in 1912, this nonprofit was created to foster honest advertising and ethical business practices. In today’s digital age, its function continues to be of paramount importance.
Uniquely, when searching the BBB website, it’s possible to limit results to accredited businesses.
Accredited businesses are committed to BBB’s mission of creating an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other. They’ve been researched and vetted. Licensing has been checked, government actions reviewed, background searches have been completed. BBB has reviewed complaints and subsequent responses.
Read Responses to Complaints
Businesses will inevitably garner complaints online. What distinguishes a trustworthy business from a less reliable one is how it responds to these complaints. A good business will acknowledge the complaint, take responsibility if at fault and take clear steps to rectify the situation.
The BBB regularly reviews how accredited businesses respond to complaints.
Lean on the Tried and True
With online forums and social media platforms constantly evolving, hallmark institutions like the BBB remain stalwart. In this complex and often confusing digital age, trustworthy tools like the BBB remain as useful as ever.
Online shopping should be enjoyable — and as scam-free as possible. Taking a few extra minutes to research vendors can limit potential hassle. Deals can be too good to be true; that’s why BBB is here to serve you.