Better Business Bureau: Legal Extortion or Consumer Advocate?

It is alleged that these BBB employess have ownership interests in firms that enjoy "A" rating, while giving "F" grades to non BBB owned competitive businesses in the same industry.
By: Jimmie Rivers
Jan. 30, 2010 - PRLog -- Investigative journalist, Jimmie Rivers, recently uncovered internal documents from the Better Business Bureau that reveal the truth behind the organizations newest venture--TrustLink.  The documents reveal that TrustLink is the brainchild of the Caliber Group, five BBB offices headed by William Mitchell of the Los Angeles Branch.  This is the same person who was behind the ratings change from Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory to A through F grades, and once again it seems profits are the real reason for the new developments.

The A-F grading system which was unveiled around a year ago in early 2008 were met with immediate criticism.  Essentially, the algorithm behind the Mitchell driven grading system is driven by two main components: Type of Business and Number of Unanswered Complaints.  In his latest stories, Mr. Rivers exposes the faulty logic and unethical BBB practices that have doomed numerous legitimate, honest companies to an undeserved "F" grade.

Internal BBB documents shed light on those businesses, deemed by the Better Business Bureau to be either illegal/scams or those with inherent problems automatically result in an "F" grade.  More ominous, multiple allegations indicate that certain employees of the BBB have used this new algorithm for personal gain.  It is alleged that these BBB employess have owenership interests in firms that enjoy "A" rating, while giving "F" grades to non BBB owned competitive businesses in the same industry.  If true, these BBB employees have not only violated the BBB's own conflict of interest policy, but they may have very well violated the terms of their not-for-profit tax status.  If true, they could be fined millions of dollars.

The other area explored by Mr. Rivers in the latest edition of bbb Roundup is a continuing investigation into the complaint process as currently run by the BBB.  He sat in while a business attempted to answer a BBB complaint.  After multiple attempts this business was finally able to submit their response to the complaint.  However, the BBB insists they never received this response and the business was given an "F" grade for unanswered complaints.

In these economic times, it is obscene that the Better Business Bureau is allowed to continue their unethical policies of slandering and libeling legitimate businesses yet enjoy protection under the anti-SLAPP laws.  The BBB policies hurt the consumer and hurt the small business man while lining the pockets of the BBB.

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bbbRoundup was started to bring the truth to the consumer about nefarious practices of the Better Business Bureau, an organization that has outlived its usefulness and strayed from its purpose.

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