Each of our reviews, scores, and rankings are derived from our proprietary Ranking Criteria™. We do not have any relationships with companies that guarantee position, rank or score . . . and we never will. Like many sites, we are compensated through affiliate relationships with each company we review; however, our Ranking Criteria™, along with real consumer reviews from people like you, ensure we remain honest and unbiased. Read on to discover more about how user review moderation and expert scoring is processed or select an industry to see our full ranking criteria.

How we rank for

10%Price

The price criteria encompasses any financial charges that a customer may experience when doing business with a company. For debt settlement, companies are scored based off of the following information:

  • Cost of Consolidation

10%Contract

Each time a customer requests services from a company, a contract between the two parties is created. When available, we thoroughly examine the fine print of these contracts and share the information that customers need to know, such as the term length of the contract or the contract cancellation fee. For debt settlement, companies are scored based off of the following information:

  • Minimum Debt Required

15%Coverage

Best Company determines the number of states in which a company’s services are available. This is one measure we use to determine a company’s ability to provide consistent service to its customer base. Companies that operate in more states will receive a higher score than companies that only operate in a few.

5%Accreditations

After debt, we have selected accreditations as the most important thing a debt settlement company can offer. Our survey shows that 68% care if their debt settlement company has national accreditations (more than any other feature, excluding price). The organizations we find most important for companies to belong to include:

  • AFCC (American Fair Credit Council)
  • BBB (Better Business Bureau)
  • IAPDA (International Association of Profession Debt Arbitrators)

15%Time in Business

“Time in business” gives customers an idea of a company’s ability to establish itself and improve its product or service quality over time. Older companies have generally demonstrated greater sustainability, and are typically more reliable than more recent companies—and will therefore receive a higher score.

20%Active

This criterion is related to a company's activity and the accuracy of its profile on our site. To get credit for this criteria, a representative of the company verifies to Best Company that the information about their company listed on our site is correct. Additionally, the company agrees to help us gather a minimum of five new reviews per month to be featured exclusively on bestcompany.com. These reviews are gathered either through our site or through our proprietary review acquisition process. Either way, each review undergoes a validation process by Best Company's integrity team to ensure reviews on our site are verified and legitimate. We feel strongly that the information we feature on bestcompany.com must be accurate. A company that fails to increase their review count by at least five reviews each month is marked as "not active" and the company's overall score is reduced accordingly.

10%Viability

This criterion is related to the company's ability to service customers. Over time, as we learn more about each company and the industry, we are privy to details the general public may, or may not, be privy to. This information could include the financial stability, legal standing, or business practices of said company. Each company listed on our site is initially given full credit for this criteria. However, if we deem a company's ability to service customers becomes compromised, we reserve the right to deduct points from their viability score.

Disclaimer: If Best Company finds a company is engaged in questionable or fraudulent business practices, is flagged consistently for fraudulent review solicitation, or are unable to service new consumers in a timely manner their overall score will receive a penalty until they've resolved the issue. Any such penalties will be disclosed as a warning on the company's profile page.

15%User Score

Here at Best Company, we believe a company is only as good as what its customers say about it; feedback from real customers is crucial to understanding how a company truly operates. The customer reviews score is broken down into three metrics:

  1. The average user score
  2. Total number of reviews
  3. Total number of reviews in the last 12 months

These three metrics not only help us understand what customers are saying, but they also help us determine a company’s relevance and to how many people—all of which are critical to understanding the value of a company in the eyes of the customer. Note: this is different from the “User Score” that is displayed on each company profile, which is simply the average of all user scores published for a given profile, and is independent from a company’s overall score.

User Review Moderation

In order to prevent false and misleading user reviews, Best Company employs a Review Moderation Team specifically assigned to vet all user reviews for all companies listed on the site. This team follows a very specific and strict moderation process that has been designed to gauge the validity of each and every user review submitted to our site.

The Flag System

This moderation process involves a “flag” system, where a flag is assessed for each negative attribute associated with a user review. Too many flags result in a rejection of a user review. Some of the things our moderation staff looks for and assigns potential flags to include the following:

  • Email address verification of the user
  • IP address duplication and region check
  • User review semantic verification
  • Is the user an employee of the organization?
  • Is the user associated with a competitor of the organization?
  • Foul language of any kind
  • Relevance of the content pertaining to the company and the review

As you can probably tell, we take our user review moderation process very seriously. We believe accuracy and authenticity are critical when it comes to user reviews, and are constantly finding new ways to make our user moderation process better. Please note that while we do our best to manually moderate each and every user review, mistakes can occasionally be made; however, we are dedicated to resolving any errors in our process and delivering you better data so you can make a better decision.