The Free Market Answer for Consumer Protection

The U.S. Federal Government spends billions of your tax dollars every year on consumer protection services. However, if you are interested in lowering your taxes and still receiving the exact same consumer protection services but more efficiently look no further than a free market solution called The Better Business Bureau.

First a quick overview of The Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is a non-profit organization that operates with absolutely zero funding from the government and therefore zero effect on your taxes. BBB issues business reviews on all companies and has been operating for over 100 years now by collecting dues from businesses who qualify and agree to adhere to BBB's high standards for business ethics and marketplace trust. Therefore, consumers know that choosing a BBB Accredited Business is a safe bet due to the rigorous background check completed on each business beforehand. BBB issues ratings for all businesses which is calculated by an algorithm that takes into account several different factors such as complaint volume, time in business, background information and other factors. A common misconception is that company's rating can increase if a business is Accredited with BBB, however, BBB Accreditation is not factored into the algorithm that computes a company's rating in order to keep every business on a level playing field. There are over 100 regional BBB's throughout the United States & Canada. Each BBB is independently governed by their own boards of directors, but must meet international BBB requirements, which are monitored by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The best thing about BBB is the services the organization provides are absolutely free to consumers. The BBB has handled complaints regarding marketplace transactions & advertising issues before the FTC even came into existence, except BBB does not need to collect tax money from you in order to do it. According to the FTC's website, the mission of the FTC is "To prevent business practices that are anti competitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity." The BBB has this exact same mission as well but does not require tax money from consumers. BBB regulates the market through their rating system. Each company has a rating that is calculated by using the algorithm I previously mentioned. If that rating drops then consumers that check up on a company via BBB.org before using them will see that and through due diligence will then decide whether or not to hire a company. In the end, if the rating for a company is bad consumers will not choose to do business with that company and the business will lose profit. The BBB also works very closely with the media so if there is a bad company out there not only will that company have an "F" rating but you will hear about them on the T.V. or radio as well.

The BBB can also help you with all of your financial complaints exactly like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The website for the CFPB states that complaints can be filed related to banks, credit cards, credit reporting, debt collection, money transfer, mortgages, student loans & vehicle or consumer loans. Ironically, BBB handles all of the complaint categories listed on the CFPB website. The BBB can even shut down fraudulent financial websites when the F.B.I. or FTC does not have time to do so.
The BBB can do the work of the FTC & and CFPB without increasing your taxes or adding to the Federal debt which has now currently passed $17 Trillion! Take a look at the chart below which illustrates how much it takes to run each of these government agencies and ask yourself where they are getting the money for this. The answer is you!

Agency/Organization Start Date 2014 Budget for Public Funding
Better Business Bureau (BBB) 1912 $0.00
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 1914 $301,000,000.00
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) 2011 $497,493,387.00

Before making a purchase, smart consumers advocate for themselves by checking background information on a company before choosing to do business with them. Consumers are able to visit www.bbb.org to check a business review online or simply call their local BBB office for detailed information on a company. BBB resolves around 80% of all complaints it receives. If a complaint goes unresolved the rating for the company will be affected and therefore serve as a warning to other potential consumers. Once a business becomes aware of a rating decrease they naturally will have a change of heart and resolve a complaint since businesses are incentivized by profit. However, for the remainder of complaints that go unresolved the consumer should then proceed to file their case in court for a resolution.

Although the government agencies above claim to be a free service to consumers it is ultimately the consumer that is paying for them via increased taxes. The BBB has successfully served the United States & Canada before any of these government agencies were even created and they have done this at no cost to the consumer. If you are in favor of the government agencies listed above then I urge you to call you congressman and ask for an increase in your taxes so that more money can be allocated to government run consumer protection agencies. However, if you have ever filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau then you probably already know that they get the job done must quicker than the government agencies do. The U.S. is currently nearing $17 Trillion in debt and they are wondering where to cut spending. Why not eliminate the government agencies listed above since the free market already has these services covered? Sounds like a Billion Dollars of tax payer money wasted to me.

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