Tony Novak profile picture
  "AskTony" column archive        


Most Popular

AskTony Archive

This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The author is paid for product endorsements and has an ownership or other financial interest in the businesses related to the topics covered.

New questions

Submit consumer finance questions at and health insurance questions at

Sponsored by: Insurance Exchange - your source of valuable information on state and federal health reform benefits.

Core Health Insurance - America's favorite mini-med insurance  with affordable premiums, freedom to choose providers, optional PPO discounts and guaranteed eligibility regardless of medical conditions.

Please support the Web sites that make publication of AskTony services possible.

Using BBB to check reliability

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 9/18/2011  revised: 12/27/2013

Q: I checked online with the BBB and they've never heard of some of the companies you recommended that are listed on the state insurance exchange Web site. EyeMed and Careington International are recognized by the BBB but these companies are not members and are not on the exchange.

A: Each company makes the decision of whether to associate with the Better Business Bureau for a variety of reasons and so it does not make sense to make judgments based solely on BBB membership alone. The BBB membership profile is most useful when combined with other information. BBB membership is unrelated to the decision as to whether a company is listed on an insurance exchange. Each insurance exchange has their own listing criteria and none, to my knowledge, consider BBB membership as a factor. My own endorsements do consider BBB membership as a criteria in selection but this is not the only factor or even a major factor in most cases.

I personally decided to affiliate with the BBB back in the 1980s but then let my membership lapse while the BBB's Philadelphia branch underwent a reorganization that seemed to cause a decline in member services. My membership is active again for 2012 and the profile is listed at

In November 2013 I resigned my membership with the Better Business Bureau in protest to their interpretation of provisions of the Affordable Care Act and how that interpretation adversely impacted some of my clients that work in the health insurance field. I wrote to the BBB requesting an explanation for their bizarre assertions but received no response. A copy of my request for an explanation and resignation letter and available online at

More resources:

Tony Novak Better Business Bureau profile