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"Rules" of the Trade


by Melvin J. Green, Trademark Infringement Coordinator  


To advertise affiliation with the BBB, Accredited Businesses must meet BBB accreditation standards and sign a license agreement with BBB.  We monitor the use of the BBB logo in all forms of advertisements on a daily basis.  In recent years, the misuse of the BBB logo became so escalated that a full-time position was created to monitor and report such abuse.

The BBB trademarks are a vital part of this organization. The trademark Accredited Business logo is  a symbol of recognition for the BBB's mission and standards. It is a visual representation of tireless effort in building consumer trust, self-regulation, and long-lasting relationships in the marketplace.  Unfortunately, whether knowingly or unknowingly, there are some businesses in the community that are displaying the BBB logo but are not accredited, which constitutes trademark infringement.

According to Jeffrey Elkin, BBB legal counsel and partner at Porter & Hedges, L.L.P., "Protection of the BBB trademarks and logo is very important for maintaining consumer confidence in BBB accreditation.  When a business displays the BBB trademarks or logo, it signifies that the business meets the BBB's high accreditation standards, including a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.  Improper or unauthorized use of the BBB trademarks and logo misleads consumers that a business meets these standards, which damages the credibility of all properly Accredited Businesses."

It is easy to see how this issue could be a major concern for a consumer looking to hire an Accredited Business, only to verify later via, or when there is a service problem, that the business they thought was "accredited" misrepresented itself by displaying the BBB logo.
Taking this information into consideration, it's even more reason for you, as an Accredited Business, to be highly encouraged to proudly display the BBB logo, on your online and offline advertising.  The biggest benefit of all is the logo will show the public that your company represents an ideal:  the ideal that the business community can regulate itself, is trustworthy, and when a consumer has an issue, your company will be responsive with an effort of good faith.
As an Accredited Business, we encourage you to become our eyes and ears.  You are on the frontline every day, so if you see misuse of the logo or are certain that a business is not accredited but is representing itself as accredited, please feel free to contact us via email at [email protected] or [email protected].