The authors appreciate the support for this project from the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.
Are Consumers Disadvantaged or Vulnerable? An Examination of Consumer Complaints to the Better Business Bureau
Article first published online: 4 MAR 2010
Copyright 2010 by The American Council on Consumer Interests
Journal of Consumer Affairs
Volume 44, Issue 1, pages 3–23, Spring 2010
How to Cite
GARRETT, D. E. and TOUMANOFF, P. G. (2010), Are Consumers Disadvantaged or Vulnerable? An Examination of Consumer Complaints to the Better Business Bureau. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 44: 3–23. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6606.2010.01155.x
- Issue published online: 4 MAR 2010
- Article first published online: 4 MAR 2010
Questions have emerged recently about the appropriateness of defining disadvantaged consumers based on their membership in certain demographic categories, such as income, age, education, and race. This study assessed whether these traditional classifications are useful for understanding consumer complaining behavior with the Better Business Bureau. Results of analysis of more than 24,000 consumer complaints filed with a local BBB office during a 13-year period do not provide consistent support for this disadvantaged consumer perspective. Instead, the emerging vulnerable consumer perspective may provide a more promising basis for future research.