Better Business Bureau Agrees To Make Minor Changes

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced today that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has agreed to his demands that it stop awarding rating points for dues and make other minor changes to its rating system.

However, Blumenthal said that he – as well as many consumer advoctates – is concerned that the 120 bureaus around the country and in Canada do not have sufficient resources to verify the information used in its controversial A+ to F ratings.

“I am pleased that the BBB is heeding my call to sever ratings from dues — but more needs to be done,” Blumenthal said. “Pay-to-play — or its perception — is unacceptable and unconscionable, as the BBB has rightly recognized. Cash can no longer inflate BBB ratings, as happened under the old system.”

While awarding the extra points is a positive step, I and other consumer advocates believe that it does not end the abusive practices that have taken place in some BBB chapters where high grades were purchased by becoming accredited BBB members. Nor does it end high pressure marketing where better grades are promised in return for paying annual does, as was pointed out in a recent ABC TV 20/20 investigation.

ABC filmed two small business owners in California with average ratings who immediately were given A+ ratings after they paid $425 each to become accredited members. One company, which had a complaint against it on the BBB website, had the complaint erased. The changes Blumenthal said are being taken will not prevent this from happening. Only by returning to the 95-year-old satisfactory/unsatisfactory rating system and ending letter grades can the BBB restore its lost credibility.

Blumenthal however called it a “significant step.”

He did say he remains ‘troubled by the BBB’s rating system. The BBB lacks the resources to verify much information used to rate, rendering its ratings unreliable and suspect. The BBB cannot rely on the word of businesses about licenses, state laws or other information; objective and independent confirmation is vital to accurate ratings. At the very least, the BBB has an ethical — and perhaps legal — obligation to clearly and prominently inform consumers of the severe and significant limitations of its rating system.”

“I will continue working with the BBB to help assure its rating system is consistent, factual and fair,” he said in a statement.

“The BBB has a long and laudable history of consumer advocacy, and has partnered with my office on many occasions to fight scams. I look forward to continuing our work together in fighting for consumer and business interests.”

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2 Comments on "Better Business Bureau Agrees To Make Minor Changes"

  1. WHY don’t we get rid of the BBB altogether? They have NEVER really had ANY power anyway. ONE more useless organization trying to screw us! They are on the same par as Mike- I’m in your corner- Boguslawski- former “consumer advocate at WTNH!

  2. Kevin Koch | March 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

    Who does the BBB think they are? No, really? Who do they think they are?
    They are not a government sanctioned organization but they sure act with a sense of entitlement. Yes, they are non-profit, so what? I would be happy to run a non-profit business if I could take home 400K a year as just one CEO of 116 different BBB’s.
    Bottom line, they are a business and they make money.

    I would like to know one thing?
    Who does the BBB think the are to post my business name and address on their websites. Who are they to rate my business in a poor light? No one has ever complained about my company. I have been in business for 30 years with no complaints.

    Let me ask you this? If I were to post my competition’s name and addresses on a website and rated them anything other then an A+ I am sure I would get sued. Why does the BBB not even give my business a rating? You guessed it, I am not a member.

    The BBB’s A+ to F “rating” sytem is a bias rating system because most non-member companies are not even rated on their websites but all BBB members are rated with an A+ or an A. Is this a joke? Top that with their so-called accreditation process. They state on their website that some companies don’t qualify to be members! That statement puts a question in every comsumers mind about all non members such as my company? (Crafty buggers aren’t they?)
    What a bunch of BS.
    In my opinion, BBB “Accreditation” is just a carefully crafted scheme that makes members look good and non members look like smucks that don’t qualify to be members. On the BBB website they explain in detail how some companies cannot achieve BBB accreditation. Make no mistake, they are in the business of selling memberships. I would guess that everyone qualifies. I take offense to their accreditation system and consider it as a slander to all non-members. It looks more to me that the BBB today stands more for “Bullshit, Baffles, Brains” then Better Business Bureau.
    The BBB organization operates like a “Sanitized Crime Syndicate” that is pretending to be a consumer advocate. If your business wants a good rating, all you have to do is just pay up. (Suckers)

    My company is not rated and I am proud to stand alone.
    I don’t deal with crooks or gangsters.
    Please join me in doing the same.

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