Better Business Bureaus in some of America’s major cities are testing out a new ratings system for its Reliability Reports on businesses. The old system supplied a “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” rating. The new system gives a greater range of ratings, similar to school grades – A to F.

It’s hard to know yet whether this will simplify or complicate things for consumers.

You can see these reports in Chicago and L.A. and a few other cities. About 5 major cities’ bureaus are testing them out.

Chicago’s BBB president, Steve Bernas says the old system “leaves a lot of gray area however, now with a more definitive A through F grading system consumers can clearly understand the business practices of those companies they are interested in doing business with.”

It’s always a good idea to research a company before doing business with it. Fortunately you can usually start with a Web search.

Jan. 7, 2008