Checking the Reliability or Reputation of a Business

How do you know whether the company you are considering doing business with is reliable and trustworthy?  Its sales presentation may be convincing, but you don’t want to throw away your money or be taken in by a scheme. So, before you make a purchase or donate to a cause from an organization you have not done business with before, you should always do some research about the company.

By law and for reasons of confidentiality, the Georgia Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division cannot acknowledge an open investigation of a company. Hence, our office routinely and more appropriately refers inquiries about a business’ standing to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The BBB maintains a database of more than 6.3 million businesses and reports on 25,000 charities, which summarizes other customers' experiences and can be accessed for free. Complaints from consumers all over the United States, Canada and Mexico form the basis of the BBB’s records. The BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance ( is an affiliated organization whose database is continually updated with information on charitable groups and others who solicit your contributions.

To check the reputation of a business, visit or contact the BBB by phone. All you'll need is the name of the business and the city, state or zip code where it is located. For a list of the various regional BBB headquarters serving the state of Georgia, click here

Keep in mind, however, that even a reputation check with the BBB is not foolproof.  If the BBB has no record of complaints about a business, it could mean that the company whose name you are looking for has moved or changed names—or has simply not been in business long enough for complaints to have been registered against it.

Tips for consumers from the BBB