Originally created 05/18/98

Big BBB improvement 051898 - The Augusta Chronicle



Getting through to the area's Better Business Bureau, which services a whopping 31 counties in our two-state area, was often frustrating. The phone line was open only a few business hours a day and, natuarally, it was frequently busy or the caller was put on hold.

Well, those problems are no more. An around-the-clock automated telephone system has been up and running for about a month. There are a lot fewer busy signals now.

Anyone with a touch-tone phone may call (706) 722-1574 any time of the day or night, seven days a week, to research about businesses, charities, opportunity schemes and the like. If the relevant information is in the BBB's database, as it usually is, the caller will get the answer right away.

This vital new service, which cost the non-profit, member-supported Bureau $18,000 to put in, can do just about anything except take complaints, though it does give instructions on how to file those. The interactive voice system responds to 200-240 consumer calls a day, a sharp increase over the 65-70 calls fielded under the former system.

It's a boon to everybody involved -- consumers, businesses and the Bureau itself. It frees up BBB President Jere Bennett's staff to assist callers needing special help and to devote more time to some of the agency's less publicized, but no less important, programs such as consumer education and fostering ethical business practices.