BBB is here and already helping Cleveland consumers

By BRIAN GRAVES brian.graves@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 6/19/17

Consumers with complaints have a natural ally in the Better Business Bureau.

And now, there is a local office in Cleveland to help with those situations.

The members of the Rotary Club of …

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BBB is here and already helping Cleveland consumers

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Consumers with complaints have a natural ally in the Better Business Bureau.

And now, there is a local office in Cleveland to help with those situations.

The members of the Rotary Club of Cleveland recently heard more about the organization from its president and CEO, Jim Winsett.

Winsett has overseen the works of BBB in Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia for the past 13 years.

He said the mission of the BBB is to be a leader in advancing trust in the marketplace.

“We always like to emphasize the importance of trust,” Winsett said. “We are trying to create a vision where we have a marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other.”

Winsett said that task was “a little easier 10 years ago than it is today.”

“The Better Business Bureau is now 105 years old. Many people don’t realize that,” he said. “Initially, the BBB started because of issues in advertising that was happening in the marketplace. There was a lot of activity that was false and just not true.”

He said the Chattanooga office was opened in 1960 and the objective is to “educate consumers and business on ways to avoid fraud and make informed decisions.”

“Providing business reviews is really the biggest thing the Better Business Bureau does,” Winsett said. “We hope within our databases we have a report on all businesses that are in the counties that we serve.”

He said the BBB does quarterly seminars for businesses and “routinely does things for consumers as well.”

“There is certainly a need for those type of presentations to be ongoing,” Winsett said.

“We have an annual meeting where we present our Torch Award for marketplace ethics,” he said. “Here in Cleveland, we have several businesses that have been recipients of those awards.”

“The way that happens is throughout the year, we accept compliments on businesses,” Winsett said. “We try to stress to everyone that it is easy to complain, but it’s also important to say ‘thank you’ as well. So, if we receive compliments on businesses, then we share that with the businesses.”

He also mentioned the “National Shred Day” which the organization sponsors annually.

“Indentity theft is the biggest issue happening in the marketplace today,” Winsett said. “It’s critical that we try to assist people in destroying personal documents and try to eliminate the opportunity to get their identity stolen.”

Winsett introduced Lisa Geren, who now leads the BBB’s Cleveland office.

That office is located at 20 North Ocoee St., on the second floor of the Regions Bank building.

Winsett said companies wanting to join the BBB or anyone who has any complaints to report in writing can contact Geren at 423-464-5969.

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