Dedicated page for reviews and complaints about Better Business Bureau-BBB.
You've probably seen the little blue logo on the websites of companies you visit frequently. A minimalist torch - sometimes accompanied by a letter - means that the company in question is being assessed and reviewed by the Bureau for Better Business, a nonprofit with the vision of an "ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers are trusted".
But can consumers trust the BBB?
Its accreditation system appears to favor companies that are willing and able to pay a premium for good ratings. And there is a lot of controversy surrounding the BBB rating system, and the complaints procedure is not always successful. With so many issues looming, the trust of users who once held it in the BBB may have hit a breaking point.
How do companies get BBB accreditation?
The BBB uses its own accreditation standards based on the BBB's trust standards. These eight principles “summarize the essential elements in order to build and maintain trust in the company”.
The accreditation standard serves as the source code for all companies applying for accreditation. Qualifications include creating and sustaining positive results in the local business market, promoting fair advertising, maintaining transparency and, perhaps most importantly, handling consumer complaints "quickly, professionally and in good faith".
BBB accreditation can cost organizations more than $10,000 per year.
After the company applies for accreditation, the BBB checks whether the company meets their respective standards and rates. However, it pays to be a BBB accredited company… literally.
Companies wishing to showcase these blue torches on their websites and marketing materials must pay an annual fee. Small businesses with up to 100 employees typically pay $500 to $1,500 per year; large companies can pay more than $10,000 a year.
How do BBB complaints work?
If you believe you have been harassed by a particular company, you can file a complaint with the BBB. Organizations deal with "disputes relating to market issues with services or products the company offers". These complaints do not include employer-employee disputes or disagreements, discrimination issues, complaints against government agencies such as the US Postal Service, or matters that have been brought to court.
Once you submit your complaint to the BBB, "whatever you submit will be forwarded to the company within two business days," according to the nonprofit. The company will then have 14 days to respond to your complaint. If no response is received, the BBB makes a second request. According to the BBB's online complaint system, complaints are usually filed and closed within 30 working days.
At first glance, this process seems pretty simple: unlucky users file a formal complaint with the BBB and they should have a response (and hopefully a solution to the problem) in about a month. However, the system is not as clear as it seems.
Are BBB Ratings Reliable?
A 2020 research report by CNNMoney found that more than 100 companies are not as reliable as a BBB rating of A- or higher. In fact, many are investigated by the government for fraud or other illegal behavior when reporting.
The report shows that BBB accredited members have a significant advantage even when their customers don't trust their business. In addition, the ranking system appears to be "very flawed".
A 2021 report found that several companies with high BBB ratings were being investigated for fraud or other illegal behavior.
What exactly does that mean? In essence, an accredited company makes it easier to resolve consumer complaints. The explanation for maintaining BBB accreditation (as well as high marks) is that the company resolves all complaints in a timely manner, but that doesn't mean the "authorization" is genuine.
The CNNMoney report found that BBB members can end complaints with "a general letter and a reply that users say clearly doesn't solve their problem". However, non-members - especially small businesses - with decent reviews are sometimes left with a drastic drop in their ratings after complaints go unnoticed. More importantly, the report finds that the formal complaints filed with the BBB have little to do with the assessments of accredited companies.
What is the best alternative to BBB?
Fortunately for consumers, there are a number of alternative resources available. Potential customers looking for ratings and reviews for companies can always turn to online review sites like www.FileAReport.com, www.FileAComplaint.com
While businesses can pay for advertising on sites like Yelp, the remaining reviews on those sites are written by other users and not determined by outside organizations like the BBB.
So, if certain reliability tests are important to you, Companies that allow users to File Consumer Reports or File A Complaint Online through their Verified Business service - offer alternative business approval stamps. Unlike the BBB, File A Complaint handles disputes in a streamlined online mediation using crowd sourced reviews in a more efficient manner in which parties with insider knowledge of a Companies dealings can vote on a post and remove or approve postings.
After all, your time may be better to check online business reviews, even if they are highly rated by the BBB. Hopefully, while you should exercise caution in any reviews from Yelp or Google, reading honest feedback from other users can help you more than just trust WWW.FILEACOMPLAINT.COM which can help users make better decisions before they do business with a Company.
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