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July 4, 2009
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August 4, 2009

BBB New grading system

It seems that the BBB can no longer be trusted to give unbiased reports on businesses.

When a consumer files a complaint with the BBB on a business, the BBB contacts that business and informs them of the complaint. If the business does not respond, they are given an F rating for not addressing a customers concerns.

When a customer files a complaint and the customer is the problem (hey it happens), the BBB does very little investigating.  A recent customer purchased a power supply and attempted to get a refund 6 months later. He said it never worked and now he wants a refund. Company policy is either you bring it back within 10 days, or you can get a replacement if it is defective.  The policy is printed on all our sales receipts. It is also displayed (rather largely) in all our stores.

The customer filed a complaint with the BBB and they tried to force us to take the part back.

While our company has a A rating, I do not believe the new system is fair, transparent or accurate.

The old rating system gave consumers a quick answer on if a company was safe to do business with. A business either had a satisfactory or unsatisfactory rating. If you had addressed all the consumer complaints against your business you had a satisfactory rating. It didn’t mean you had no complaints, it just  means you resolved them (almost impossible to have no complaints if you have been in business for many years). If you had consumer complaints and you did not address consumer concerns you had an unsatisfactory rating.

The problem with the new system is that business who don’t want to pay the BBB yearly ($400+) do not get an A rating. You can be in business for 25 years with thousands of satisfied customer and not a single complaint and only have a C rating. I would love to do business with someone who hasn’t had single complaint in 25 years. But a quick glance at that business reveals a C and you would probably continue looking for someone else. The company with an A may have hundreds of complaints but since they are a dues paying member, they have an A.

It seems the BBB wanted a way to generate more revenue. It allows companies to buy a good rating, while penalizing business who are not members. The real problem is that it erodes the reputation the BBB has worked so hard to build, one that consumers trust and depend on.

People have a right to have their voice heard when they are mistreated by any business. The BBB is one of the few advocates for consumer protection. When the BBB tries to make consumers happy by forcing companies to violate policy is bad business. Especially when the BBB receives 85% of its funding from businesses.