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Customers mostly positive on Better Business Bureau's new review tool

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Customers are mostly positive when it comes to reviewing businesses, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Minnesota and North Dakota says.

Since launching its customer review service in January, the BBB has received more than 1,100 reviews – about 70 percent of them were positive, the organization said in a news release Thursday.

“We are pleased to note that a solid majority of customer reviews filed so far reference positive experiences,” Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the bureau, said in the release. “We know most businesses in our marketplace are upstanding, and we’re pleased to offer this feature to them as a way to stand out and be recognized, and to consumers as another free BBB tool they can use to find reliable businesses.”

BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota is among the 44 BBBs – of which there are more than 100 – to allow customers to submit reviews after dealing with a business, in addition to the business ratings and scam alerts the organization already provided.

The BBB hopes these reviews will help potential customers make better purchasing decisions, as well as give businesses the chance to demonstrate how they interact with customers.

“When we asked consumers and businesses what else they wanted from our BBB, time and again we heard ‘customer reviews,’” Badgerow said in the release. “So this is another tool we now offer, and our reviews are verified, which is fair to both consumers and business owners.”

Different from many customer review websites, the BBB goes through a verification process for all the customer reviews submitted on the BBB website to avoid duplicate reviews and to ensure the person writing the review was in fact a customer. It also gives the business a chance to reply to the complaint, which will also be posted on the BBB website.

Dan Hendrickson, communications coordinator with the BBB, told BringMeTheNews Thursday that through the verification process they've had to turn away a few customer reviews. In one case, the BBB found multiple reviews were filed by the same IP address, meaning a customer was trying to file more than one review for the same transaction.

The BBB also had a case in which a business said someone wasn't their customer. The BBB went back to the customer and asked for proof of a transaction, which the customer provided, and the business then realized it was their customer, Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson said there have been some instances where the customer is looking for a resolution with the company – in those instances, the BBB recommends filing a complaint with the BBB because a business is more likely to come to a resolution that way. Whereas a review can be a "one-way street" and a company may, instead of working with the customer, not respond, or leave it at, "I'm sorry that happened to you," Hendrickson noted.

This is not a common occurrence he added; the majority of the reviews have been positive, and a wide range of companies have been reviewed. Hendrickson said big name companies – such as Target and Best Buy – and the tool trade sector are more likely to get the most reviews.

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