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Questionnaire helps BBB serve community

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 12:01 am

This is a consumer advice column written by the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana. It appears Thursdays in Business.

A business owner might receive a Standard Business Questionnaire (SBQ) from BBB and wonder, “Why am I getting this and why does BBB need to know all of this information? They should already have this information about my business because they are, after all, the BBB.”

There are many businesses that go out of business or start a new business. BBB may find out a company is out of business when we begin getting calls from consumers when they can't reach a business, a sign was hanging on the door or any other reason. We begin immediately checking it out. We may also find out a new business has started, so we want to help it establish itself through our database records.

If BBB had a finger on the pulse of the changing marketplace regarding all of the businesses in our 23-county area, we'd be way up there in Mensa. It's impossible to track all the comings and goings of businesses today. So how can a consumer know you exist without sufficient information? Or outdated info?

The SBQ gives your BBB basic information about your company that will enable us to create a file in our local database, striving to keep our files as current as possible for your benefit. In this competitive marketplace, if your business cannot be found by consumers when they go to our website or contact us by phone and there is no business review for your company, most likely you are losing customers. To date in 2012, we have seen a 74 percent increase in consumer inquiries on our website.

Details requested are basic: name, principal officers, number of employees, mailing address, phone numbers and Web address, if you have one. Other info is the type of product or service you offer and date your business began.

Beyond the information requested above, further information is used to assist your BBB in determining a more accurate BBB Rating.

If a mailed SBQ is returned to us, we'll contact you to see whether or not there is a change of address. Please help us if you're contacted. We want the most up-to-date, accurate info possible.

Before you make a purchase, go to the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana website at www.neindiana.bbb.org or call 423-4433 or toll-free 1-800-552-4631 to check out a business.