Are They a Watchdog or Not
The BBB complaint business is alive and well. Problems with the Better Business Bureau, have been circulating for years. In my mind this BBB complaint business was a watchdog agency looking out for our best interests.
I thought that they were protecting us from businesses that take money from us..However that is “not really” the case at all. The complaints about the BBB are pointing to a troubling dark side to this agency.
This is not a government agency created to protect us from the bad businesses in the world. Unfortunately, this rating agency is something completely different. They are definitely not a watchdog.
Lately I’ve uncovered quite a bit of negative history about the BBB. It is not new, in fact it has been around for years.The question is, have they changed their ranking methods from the “Pay to Play” methods of years past.
The Better Business Bureau,Really
The BBB is well known and used by millions of Americans each year to decide if a company can be trusted. But, can their rankings and opinions truly be trusted? Does this agency protect the public from getting scammed? The opinions they give are biased and based upon membership.
BBB membership service is offered to allow businesses to post their logo on your site. When it is displayed, it creates an illusion of a great company. When people see the A+, they believe it is a company of the highest integrity and can be trusted.
However, it is clear they favor companies that are paying members over non paying members.
A few years back in 2010 the ABC show 20/20 ran a Special Report on the BBB.
How Does the Better Business Bureau Determine Their Ratings
And BBB states that they do not use reviews for their ratings. No matter how many complaints they get filed against the business(who has a paid membership), it won’t affect their ratings. Why? They feel that one persons negative or positive report on the company is not enough to affect ratings.
But, if you are NOT a paid member, then the only review you get is bad. Also, your rating is placed as an F. They of course dispute this claim.
The BBB, by their own admission, is looking for facts that prove the business is real. The rating is based on information they obtain about the business as well as complaints received. The BBB also uses the time it took to resolve complaints. They compile and report the information to be used by the public to analyze the information and make a decision using your own best judgment.
What Steps Have the Companies Taken to Resolve Complaints
They claim they do not weigh as heavily on the number of complaints, but wants to see if the company has taken steps and resolved them quickly. They also claim to “weigh” how recent the complaints are.
Any company who has a lot of complaints is doing something wrong, period. Something is definitely questionable in their business practices. And they should not be given a ranking of A.
Take look at what BBB says about Prime Corporate Services,LLC
I did a review on PCS called the Prime Corporate Services Review, and concluded the practices at PCS were less than honorable.
BBB Gave Prime Corporate Services an A Rating
They gave this company an A rating and they have 30 complaints against them. But if you read the wording carefully, the BBB is not endorsing the business, their product quality or how well they perform their services. Then what are they rating? Whenever they give a business an A, it certainly appears like an endorsement of that company?
One of the factors that BBB states it uses is whether the complaints were “recent or not”. PCS had 8 complaints in the last year, and still maintains an A rating? It can’t be true that how recent the complaints were reported is also a factor.
Reason for Ratings
BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that raised the rating for Prime Corporate Services, LLC include:
- Length of time business has been operating
- Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
- Response to 19 complaint(s) filed against business
- Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business
Length of time in business is understandable. Ok, that makes sense to a point. Does that mean the longer the business has been around, the more complaints they are allow to receive? Or they are established and since they have been doing this awhile they are trustworthy?
PLC had a total of 30 complaints,and if they determined they were “not honoring” a refund request, the BBB considered that as an acceptable resolution? It was not an acceptable solution for the consumer who filed the complaint!
Poor Ratings are Unjustified
Here is a post by Kyle of Wealthy Affiliates questioning the F rating given by the BBB:
Kyle also thinks “good” rankings are a product of payments. The “poor rankings” are because people are not “paying members” of the BBB. He suggests that “as a paid member” you can defend your companies name, but you cannot if you are not paying the BBB.
He tells his personal story of how the BBB has given Wealthy Affiliates an F rating all because of one complaint, in 50,000 and 3 total complaints in 8 years. Compare that to their A+ rating of Prime Corporate Services, with 8 complaints in the last year alone. They have only been in business half the time.
You Pay to Play
In Dec 2010, a site called bbbscam.net posted this article Selling the Grade
It compares several businesses and rankings that appear completely based upon whether the business is a paying member or not. The differences in ranking are startling, while the complaints against the companies are the same.
One company( a paying member) has a A+ with one unresolved complaint, while another(non-paying company) with the same one unresolved complaint gets an F rating.
Another(paid member) company with 14 complaints has an A+rating, while a non-paying Fortune 500 company has an F rating with one complaint.
The President of BBB, Steven Cox announced they would look at reforms on December 29,2010. What did they do to change anything? The changes they reported later, were of little if any impact.
How Complaints are Resolved by the BBB
There are two different ways the BBB handles complaints.
- The complaint was addressed by the company.
- a report is released stating the complaint was resolved.
I have not seen yet where the BBB blames the company in any way for any wrong doing, ever. So as a consumer looking to file a complaint, don’t waste your time.
They are not the best place to file your complaint and I will tell you why. If they have a complaint filed against one of their accredited members, then they have an incentive to help resolve the issue quickly and to make your complaint “go away” by any resolution. So, they are not working for you.
Complaints about the BBB from Consumer Affairs
Consumer Affairs posted a list of complaints about the BBB and their own handling of complaints. Take a look for yourself. A look at recent complaints confirms not much has changed over the years. You can go here to read the entire list of the Top 73 Complaints About the BBB at ConsumerAffairs.com.
They are not going to resolve you complaint by getting your money back. They publicly tell you they are mediators. All that means is they will resolve the matter in some way. They are alluding to a type of agreement or settlement.
However, if the company states “they did nothing wrong”, then the matter is resolved! Don’t think for one minute you are going to get your money back! It is unlikely at best.
I can only warn you not to bother wasting your time with the BBB. There are legitimate websites to go to that will help you to “Get Your Money Back!” Isn’t that what we really want? I explain more below, and give you the website addresses, so please, be patient and read on.
A few Examples Of the BBB Complaint Business
August 25, 2016
One complaint with documented proof of fraud, and was denied. The reason? Because the company said they didn’t do it. The BBB sends an email back saying: “We are sorry “you” couldn’t resolve your complaint”.
The company involved kept their rating because the dispute got marked resolved. Denial of a claim with documented proof of fraud is despicable!
This was no help for the consumer, also the company didn’t have to do anything to make it right. A win-win for the company!
Another complaint was for a defective clothes dryer. After several attempts,the claim was not processed. Also, even speaking to several different people, did not resolve the problem.In the end nothing was done.
Once again no help for the consumer. Another win-win for the company!
The BBB solicits Businesses
A business owner reports the BBB calls them to join because of their A+ business rating. The business owner declined their offer and requested the don’t call back. The continued to hound and harass the business owner to send them money. He told them in “not so many nice words,” he wasn’t going to pay.The reason was because he wanted no part in their “Pay to Play” scheme.
Another person filed a complaint that took 3 months for the BBB to respond. They then tried to use the papers in court, and the judge called them “worthless”. This person goes on to say: “Agreeing to be any part of the BBB is insane. You would be paying them your blood, sweat and tears to the BBB. However, they would not be there for you. Pass the word, do not harm your business by joining the BBB.”
This rating system by BBB is a scam! The ratings improve after a payment is made. A rating goes from F to an A+.
After reviewing many documents, articles posted by different websites, and news reports, it is clear that the BBB has some very disturbing issues.
To find out if a company is a member of the BBB, you can visit their website at bbb.org and check their rating.
Clearly these ratings are good because the business made a payment to the BBB. Plenty of good legitimate companies have poor ratings simply because they will not pay BBB.
Websites for Help to Get Your Money Back:
If you have a complaint to file, go to a legitimate help source.
- Use the Attorney Generals Office in your state, or the IC3 division of the FBI. These are the legitimate government sites for complaints.
- More help can be found in the article- What Steps to Take if You Get Scammed.
If you had any complaints that you filed with the BBB, tell us your story below. If you take the time to share them with us, it may help others to avoid the same waste of time.