The Better Business Bureau, or BBB, strives to be a neutral third party between businesses and consumers, providing free services for the public.
Tiffany Schulz, Southwest Wisconsin regional director for the nonprofit, spoke at the Oct. 31 Waunakee Rotary meeting about the services the BBB offers.
It has been in existence since 1939, with a vision of encouraging an ethical marketplace. It seeks to build trust, provide safeguards and promote honesty and transparency.
Consumers can report on both BBB accredited and non-accredited businesses, and can go to the organization’s website to find information about businesses. They can also call out and address substandard marketplace behavior, Tiffany said. And they can report scams.
The BBB works with local and state agencies, along with federal law enforcement, and has a full-time investigator to look into complaints.
The BBB also celebrates marketplace role models with Spark Awards, provides awards for young entrepreneurs, and offers a scholarship program.
This year, two Spark Award recipients from the area were Michael F. Simon Builders and Willy St Co-op.
Each year, the BBB provides 10 $2,500 scholarship to graduating high school students. The students are asked to talk about ethical dilemmas and how they resolved them.
The BBB also works to educate the public about scams, appearing on local television stations to talk about them.
The BBB is funded through business accreditation fees, but Tiffany said not all businesses that apply for accreditation receive it. Thorough background checks of the applicants are completed as part of the process.
Consumers can visit the BBB’s website,, to view ratings of the member businesses. Tiffany said reviews can also be seen on the site, and these are different than those found on Yelp or Google because they’re vetted and reviewers cannot remain anonymous.
The BBB also has dispute resolution specialists who work with the businesses to resolve complaints.
“If you file a complaint with an accredited business of ours, there’s a much better chance that it will be resolved,” Tiffany said.
Other News:
-John Cullen received his second Paul Harris Fellow. Congratulations, John!
-It’s getting to be time to get those Rotary lights up again at the Village Park. Phil Willems said he will be working at the park starting on Monday and could use some help.
Guests: Steven Redman, guest of Kim Lengfeld; Tim Wohlers, guest of Roberta Baumann.
Corporate Associates: Jean Elvekrog and Jim?
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Birthdays: Nov. 9, Ryan Knight; Nov. 10, Troy Salisbury.
 Anniversaries: Nov. 9, Bill and Jeanette Erickson; Nov. 13, Gary and Jane Epping.
Programs: Nov. 7, Janet Gilmore, History of Wisconsin Fish Fry; Nov. 14, Bob Dinnorf, Holy Wisdom Monastery, Oak Savannah restoration; Nov. 21; Randy Guttenberg, Waunakee School District facility planning and referendum; Nov. 28, Happy Thanksgiving!
Greeters: Nov. 7, Brian Franzen and Greg Garton; Nov. 14, Tracy Graber and Randy Guttenberg; Nov. 21, Rich Harris and Travis Heiser.