The Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island was founded in 1962
and is a non profit membership association of business and
professional companies.  It is a public service agency and its
mission is "to foster an ethical marketplace and to educate and
encourage consumers to use businesses conforming to acceptable
professional standards of conduct."

The Better Business Bureau is professionally managed and maintains
a full time staff.  Although affiliated with the Canadian Council
of Better Business Bureaus, the Vancouver Island Bureau is
governed by the local business people who serve as volunteer
members of the Board of Directors.

The Better Business Bureau provides its services without charge to
the public.

To qualify for, and maintain membership in the Better Business
Bureau, the company must comply with Standards of Membership.

     Your Better Business Bureau is not a consumer advocate which
believes the consumer is always right; conversely, it is not the
"Champion of the Business World" believing that business, big or
little, can do no wrong.
     Better Business Bureaus are a communications link between
business and the consumer, when normal communications may have
failed.  It services both !

Quick Facts about Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island

     *    Vancouver Island Serviced by offices in Victoria and             

                         Victoria  201 - 1005 Langley Street
                                   Victoria BC V8W 1V7
                                   Tel: (604) 386-6348
                                   Fax: (604) 386-2367

                         Nanaimo   108A - 55 Victoria Road
                                   Nanaimo BC V9R 5N9
                                   Tel: (604) 755-7843
                                   Fax: (604) 755-7863

     *    2135 member businesses pay an average of $172 annually
          to provide services to the public free of charge.

     *    In 1993 the Bureau answered 48,000 enquires, handled
          1300 written complaints and processed 30 arbitrations,
          - 11 through to completion.
     *    BBB is a self-regulating organization.  Members are
          expelled for failing to comply with Bureau Standards of          

     *    High public awareness and support of BBB as revealed in          
June 1993 Gallop Poll.  95% of people in BC, 76% of              
people in Canada know BBB.

     The Better Business Bureaus are committed to the principle
that fair dealing is good business for both buyer and seller and
that by far the majority of buyers and sellers are honest and
responsible.  The work of the Better Business Bureaus is therefore
concentrated into two equally important facets:
-    self-regulatory procedures through which the business field      
can discipline unfair trade practices,
-    collection and dispersal of information to buyers to help        
them make sound buying decisions.

     In the course of any given day a Bureau may answer inquiries
on such a diverse variety of topics as a franchise offer from
Toronto, a real estate offer from Alberta or a cosmetic
manufacturer in Los Angeles.
     It is for this reason that consumers are urged to check with
the Bureau before arranging for television service, buying a used
car, registering for a correspondence school course or becoming
involved in a business transaction with any firm or trades person
with whom they are not familiar.  A bureau can furnish a factual
report based on information in its files.  These files are unique;
they are the actual history of customer experience in doing
business with the subject and are continually updated to report
the current record.
     The Bureau will tell an enquirer whether or not there have
been complaints against a firm and, if so, the manner in which
they have been handled.  Every business, like every individual,
will occasionally make a mistake.  It is the attitude of the
company when complaints are brought to its attention that really

     When valid complaints - customer dissatisfaction with a
business relationship - are referred to a Bureau as not being
resolved by normal merchant-customer contact, the Bureau will act
as a neutral and objective mediator to seek a satisfactory
settlement.  In doing so it recognizes that there are two sides in
every dispute, and works to respect the rights of both buyer and
     A formal arbitration process, to be used where no
satisfactory solution can be found by other means, is being used
by most Bureaus.

Refer also to: How to Register A Complaint
             : Arbitration - An Alternative to Court