Chapter 3: Business Organizations
"The Better Business Bureau"
Students have learned that nonprofit organizations are not
just limited to co-ops and civic groups. Many other groups
also organize to promote the interests of their members. For
example, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) helps protect the
consumer. The BBB is a nonprofit organization sponsored by
local businesses to provide general information on companies.
It maintains records on consumer inquiries and complaints
and sometimes offers various consumer education programs.
Students will use information from the Better Business Bureau
Web site to find out more about the purpose of this consumer
Previous Knowledge Expected
Students should be familiar with the following terms:
consumer: person who uses goods and services to satisfy
wants and needs
nonprofit organization: economic institution that operates
like a business but does not seek financial gain; schools,
churches, community service organizations
Content Standards (from the National Council on Economic Education)
Standard 1: Productive resources are limited. Therefore,
people cannot have all the goods and services they want; as
a result, they must choose some things and give up others.
Standard 10: Institutions evolve in market economies
to help individuals and groups accomplish their goals. Banks,
labor unions, corporations, legal systems, and not-for-profit
organizations are examples of important institutions. A different
kind of institution, clearly defined and well-enforced property
rights, is essential to a market economy.
1. Students will find detailed information about a nonprofit
2. Students will identify the organization's mission statement.
3. Students will list the type of information that is provided
in a Better Business Bureau business report.
4. Students will identify ways in which the Better Business
Bureau can help them as consumers.
Web Activity Answers
1. The purpose of the BBB system 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 information and ethical business practices.
2. No. BBBs issue reports on members and non-members alike.
BBBs, which as a matter of policy do not endorse or recommend
any company, product or service, apply the same standards
to reporting on companies, regardless of their BBB membership.
3. The BBB Web site provides a database of businesses. Consumers can enter the name of a business directly. The Web site provides information on each business, including the full name and address, the nature of the business, BBB membership, membership participation, customer experience, and additional business names. If no online information is available, the Web site provides links to regional BBDs and their databases and information about contacting a BBB office directly.
4. The BBD Web site outlines the types of complaints it will handle and the steps consumers should take before submitting a complaint. It then requests information about the complaint, such as type of complaint, the name of the business, details of the complaint, and personal information about the person submitting the complaint. Consumers can submit the complaint via the Internet, or they can contact a local or regional BBB office directly.
Encourage students to use the search feature on the Better
Business Bureau home page to find ratings of particular consumer
Have students examine the BBB's "Business Report Database"
or the "Alerts & News" component. What information is available
pertaining to local businesses?
Invite someone from your local Better Business Bureau to speak
with the class.
Student Web Activity