Last Updated 28 Feb 2020

Better Business Bureau

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The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing marketplace trust, consisting of 113 independently incorporated local BBB organizations in the United States and Canada, coordinated under the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) in Washington, D.C.

The BBB collects and provides free business reliability reviews on more than 4 million businesses to over 100 million requests from consumers in 2012, helping make the BBB's website rank among the top 500 most-visited websites in the United States. The BBB serves as an intermediary between consumers and businesses, handling nearly 1 million consumer disputes against businesses in 2012. The BBB also alerts the public to scams, reviews advertising, and assists when donating to charity.

"Medical quackery and the promotions of nostrums and worthless drugs were among the most prominent abuses which led to the establishment of formal self-regulation in business and, in turn, to the creation of the NBBB."

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BBB's concept has been credited to several court cases, such as United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola, initiated by the government against a number of firms, including the Coca-Cola Company, in 1906 after the Pure Food and Drug Act had become law. Samuel Candler Dobbs, sales manager of Coca-Cola and later its president, took up the cause of truth in advertising in the wake of those judgements.

In 1909 Dobbs became president of the Associated Advertising Clubs of America, now the American Advertising Federation (AAF), and began to make speeches on the subject. In 1911 he was involved in the adoption of the "Ten Commandments of Advertising", one of the first codes of advertising developed by groups of advertising firms and individual businesses.

Similar organizations in succeeding decades, such as the National Better Business Commission, Inc. of the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World (1921), and the National Association of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (1933) merged to become the Association of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., in 1946. In 1970 the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) was established.

Better Business Bureau essay

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