- Dec. 30, 2010 -
Most consumers know it's a good idea to check with the BBB before deciding to work with a company or buy their product. Little do we know that the process in which these ratings are compiled may be unfair or less than accurate. The Better Business Bureau is not regulated by any city, county or government agency; therefore the rules and policies that are set by the BBB are made and governed by the BBB. This may not necessarily be a good combination when dealing with an issue of contractual agreements and civil matters that are sensitive and in need of arbitration at least not for a business The BBB has made it clear that they are not interested in the terms and contractual obligations of the agreements. Each business is rated on their ability to solve a complaint within a reasonable amount of time regardless of what the contract might entail. When a specific issue is covered in the terms of the agreement then BBB gives the business an ultimatum and forces companies to make a decision on either facing a bad rating or crumbling to the pressure. This may seem like a win win for the customer but then the statics begin to lie because the contract should speak for itself. However the companies who maintain there position based on the circumstances and the agreement are punished with a bad rating. Businesses that answered each complaint in a timely matter and are still issued a bad rating should understand they are not alone and my have some recourse. Some companies have sued the BBB http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/may/10/company-sues-...
and there are some class action law suits pending There is a company known as Google that was named "Top Global Brand" and somehow had a bad BBB rating. Here is a link to some of these stories that might educate you in why BBB is a big business extorting companies for big dollars http://www.searchengineguide.com/david-wallace/has-the-be...
. There is new sheriff in town and his name Better Business Bureau.
The Better Business Bureau's model of operations seems to closely resemble that of MacDonald's restaurants--
plenty of individual franchises (or BBB offices) under a central command (The Council of Better Business Bureaus), albeit with much less oversight than practiced by MacDonald's, and that is part of the problem. With MacDonald's you're pretty much assured that a cheeseburger you buy in St. Louis, MO will taste exactly like one in Bend, OR or Macon, GA. With the Better Business Bureau, there is no consistency in grading from region to region, and this lack of oversight is used by the CBBB as an "out." There have been numerous press articles, recent and old, that have pointed out discrepancies in evaluating businesses and questioned the BBB's "pay for play" ethics. These seem to have been easily deflected by the BBB as just being momentary aberrations of a regional nature, and not something to concern, or come under the purview of, the CBBB.
When gathered together, this abundance of filed news stories, from across the United States, paints a compelling picture. Matter of fact, the BBB comes across as a major offender of the very tactics they warn consumers about: high pressure, boiler room sales tactics; false advertising claims; favoritism in exchange for money; and other underhanded business deeds. Indeed, it seems clear from the preponderance of similar articles and observation in these news reports, that the evidence is overwhelming that something is rotten in the CBBB and its BBB Offices, and it seems to be a reasonable assumption that the CBBB is aware of it and unwilling to take steps to fix it.
There are organizations you can contact that are supported by the State of Florida such as 1-800-HELP-FLA which is the Department of Agriculture which do consider the contract a binding certificate and will help resolve issues through arbitration. They do not charge businesses for a membership and will not place judgment on a company participating in trying to resolve issues in regard to their contractual obligations. However, those companies that are not willing to arbitrate are marked negatively and you can obtain this information for future proceedings.
There is a lot of people who believe everything they read is true and by no mistake of their own. There once was a time when businesses had ethics and people thought everything was regulated by the local, state and federal governments. Unfortunately we can't depend on these agencies because many of them are flawed internally themselves. The internet is a vast communication network that has enabled instant reviews and complaints for everyone to see with a simple search. Any consumer browsing these posts should use their better judgment and realize this is only one side of the story. However it is easy to see a pattern of reoccurring complaints that may be an issue with a company.