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Businesses Allowed to Use Bureau's Triple-B Logo


Ventura County consumers may as well get used to the letters BBB--they are likely to be seeing more of the monogram in the weeks to come.

The 85-year-old Better Business Bureau has broken with tradition and is allowing its members to print the bureau logo on fliers, mailings and other materials promoting their businesses. The policy change, instituted in June, will affect the tri-county chapter's 2,300 members, about half of which are based in Ventura County.

"I think the change of policy regarding use of the logo is the biggest policy change ever," said Rich Copelan, president of the Tri-County Better Business Bureau. "The [bureau] is a very conservative organization. They're very protective of their name and logo. Before now, the problem has been the [bureau's] implied endorsement of a business using the logo."

For years, the public has had access to Better Business Bureau members through a consumer guide published by the watchdog organization. Member businesses also are allowed to place bureau plaques on the walls of their shops and, for about a year, have been permitted to use the bureau logo on Internet advertising.

But the use of the Better Business Bureau logo in widely circulated promotional advertisements had never been an option. Copelan expects merchants to take advantage of the opportunity.

"It does a lot toward helping them perceive a benefit of membership," Copelan said. "Consumers prefer to do business with our members, and this will help the customer choose."

The Better Business Bureau is changing this long-standing policy at a time when consumer services are at a particularly high demand nationwide, Copelan said.

"The Better Business Bureau gets more calls--inquiries and complaints--than we ever have, even more than [proportional] to population growth," Copelan said. "We currently get over 500 incoming phone calls a day now, 1,500 complaints a month. Over the last two years, inquiries have increased 20% nationwide."

Copelan expects a further jump as the bureau continues to develop an Internet presence. By the end of July, the organization plans to make its entire business-reliability reports available on the World Wide Web.

"It's funny, money is more precious now and more available, too," Copelan said. "Consumers are becoming more cautious, more of aware of scams."

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