BBB Hails High Retention Rate at Annual Meeting

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Most members of the Better Business Bureau of the Mahoning Valley Inc. aren’t going anywhere – and that’s a point of pride for its CEO and president.

The BBB, which serves Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties and has more than 1,200 members, boasts a member retention rate of 94.4%, That’s the highest among all the BBBs in Ohio and is the third highest of any BBB in the United States, Canada and Mexico, Carol Potter, president/CEO, told members Tuesday at the 2015 Annual Meeting of Accredited Businesses.

“More people rely on the BBB than ever before. Consumers want to know who to trust as there are increasing opportunities for fraud,” Potter said.

“Your BBB is on the forefront of informing consumers about honest companies and we warn them about identity theft and the prevalent scams and fraud types that are increasing in intensity,” she added.

This year, the local BBB assisted more than 350,000 individuals through online business reviews, dispute resolution services and consumer education.

The most prevalent scam now involves someone calling on the phone posing as a representative of the Internal Revenue Service, Porter reported.

“In case you haven’t heard about this, I will tell you right now: The IRS and other government agencies are never going to start a dialogue with you through a phone call,” Potter said. “They write you.”

This year, she reported, the national Better Business Bureau joined with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s consumer task force “to more effectively issue warnings and tips on the newest threats in the marketplace,” she said.

“The FBI recognizes us as a valuable resource due to our accessibility to the public,” she continued. “We are often the first contact with the consumer who has been hit and exposed to a new scam. That’s why we’re the feet on the ground and the FBI recognizes that.”

The local BBB is doing a “fabulous job” as far as growing and retaining its membership and in terms of diversifying its board, remarked Teri Storey, president of Masonry Materials Plus and current chairwoman of BBB’s board of directors.

She praised the BBB accredited businesses for supporting the nonprofit organization’s standards for trust, “the very basic principles of good business practices.”

Potter thanked Storey, whose final meeting as chairwoman was Tuesday, for her service. “She’s been a huge asset, friend and partner for all the work that we do,” she noted

During the meeting, held at the Covelli Centre downtown, the representatives of accredited businesses present approved a new slate of officers. Officers for 2016-2017 are Terry DiMascio of Aim NationaLease, chairman; Ed Muransky of the Muransky Companies, vice-chairman; Thomas Duncan of Duncan Kitchen and Bath, vice-chairman; John Burgan of John Burgan Real Estate Ltd., secretary; Eric Ryan of the Covelli Centre, treasurer; and Storey, immediate past chairwoman.

“We’ve found [the BBB] to be a big benefit to our company,”said  DiMascio, Aim NationaLease’s chief operating officer. The organization is “a good steward of the community” and involved in several community functions.”

Potter  discussed new materials available to businesses that can be given to customers with information on how to place a customer review on the BBB website. The cards are available at the BBB offices or businesses can request a copy of the digital file to produce their own.

“The business then gives this to the customer at the point of transaction,” she said.

All reviews posted by the BBBB are vetted to make sure they are coming from different Internet addresses to ensure that one individual isn’t posting multiple positive or negative reviews, Potter pointed out.

“We also contact the business to make sure there actually was a transaction,” she continued. “The great thing to remember is 72% of our reviews are positive and what the business needs to do is just respond to positive and negative reviews. That’s what the customer is looking for, that response.”

Pictured: Carol Potter, BBB president/CEO, addresses the organization’s annual meeting Tuesday at the Covelli Centre.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.