DennisBeaverJune 8, 2018 • By Dennis Beaver

Recently, as clients came into our office, we handed them a sheet of paper and said, “We are going to say the names of three large companies. When you hear each name, please write down the first word that comes to mind about the company, their CEO or management.”

Who were those companies? Wells Fargo, Volkswagen, and going back a few years, Enron.

All of our clients wrote one word–the same word for every company: “dishonest.”

If you feel that something is wrong with the way many businesses are run in America today and wonder, “Is anyone or any organization doing something about it?” the answer is Yes, and it’s a name that we all immediately recognize, The Better Business Bureau, and today’s story tells what they are doing.

Establish trust – Give customers what they paid for

We spoke with San Francisco-based Jarrod Wise, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development for the BBB chapter in Northwest California.

“Our mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust by encouraging the public to have more faith in the business community. Trust is a feeling, and you have that good feeling when you see it. This sense – I can trust these people–is something that builds over time,” he points outs.

Many of the complaints You and the Law receive from readers can be summed up as: “Not getting what I paid for!”

“As a customer,” Wise firmly maintains, “You should get what you pay for. Not only is that legally required, but it’s common sense. It makes good business sense. When that doesn’t happen, trust is lost. To receive BBB accreditation, a business must establish that it is trustworthy. But accreditation can be lost,” he stressed.

What is an Accredited Business?

BBB accreditation carries real weight. But accreditations aren’t handed out easily. A business must prove that it is worthy of the badge.

We learned from Wise there are 8 Standards for Trust, starting with the obvious, really being in business.
“A positive track record must be established that this company has been functioning in the economy for a specific period of time.

“The second standard is truth in advertising. This means avoiding false statements about your product, service, product quality, fake testimonials, pictures or advertisements which claim to offer something, but in reality, do not. In one word, it all comes down to honesty.”

The other standards include:

— Tell the truth. If you say you are going to do something, do it!

— Be transparent – disclose policies, guarantees, anything which would be important to a customer’s buying decision.

— Honor promises. Abide by written agreements and verbal representations.

— Be responsive. If a customer calls, answer the phone!

— Safeguard your customer’s privacy.

— Possess integrity. Obey the law. Treat your customers and employees with respect.

Tackling the problem of trust in business

Wise agrees that there are on-going issues with trust in America and worldwide, “including high profile companies, like Wells Fargo Bank and Volkswagen.”

And just what is the BBB doing to help raise the level of trust?

“We have developed extensive online educational resources at for anyone in business. You don’t have to be one of our accredited businesses and should have been exposed to these important concepts either in high school or college, but likely, today, were probably not. These include:

— Ethical behavior – being honest and doing the right thing.

— Integrity – “Do what you say and say what you do.”

— Speaking the truth with compassion.

— Respecting your customers and employees.

— Learning, mentoring and becoming a life-long learner.

— Adapting to change in a positive way

— Seeking personal improvement

BBB Honors exceptional companies with Torch Awards

Part of the BBB’s mission is to, “Celebrate marketplace role models with our Torch Awards Program. We look for businesses which have gone above and beyond in establishing the public’s trust. We recognize these companies and they, in turn, provide insight for others in what it takes to be ethical in today’s environment.”

“The award was established in 1996, and are given to companies who are committed to helping the community, to hiring employees who possess a good character and encouraging them to act in an honest and ethical manner.

“Part of our logo is a torch, shining a light on ethical behavior. Recipients of the award must establish they have created trust within their own organization, have rewarded employees who think creatively and are courageous enough to challenge existing practices,” Wise explains.

Using “Enables you to see if a particular company has a good or poor rating, and we believe is well worth your time,” he concluded.

We at You and the Law agree.

Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and enjoys hearing from his readers. Contact Dennis Beaver.