Better Business Bureau, Pay for an A?
Consumers beware, in this post you will find I have included links to some of the most credible and powerful internet resources I know of for this article. The BBB ratings have been exposed, the BBB is a scam itself. Yes, you read that correctly, their rating system is a pay to pay system. You pay to get an “A”! No pay, no “A”.
My research and reference for the content of this post are as follows: ABC News, LA Times, New York CBS Local, Business Time and Wikipedia. For your convenience and reference, I have included hot links to various news, articles and information throughout allowing you to simply click and verify the validity of all I have shared in this writing for yourself.
Let’s say you’re a Houston Texas homeowner considering hiring a contractor to replace your Roof, Siding or Windows. You are in the market for a company who is reputable and you have done your own research on the various companies. After receiving estimates from several home improvement companies, you have found one you are seriously considering on hiring.
You go onto the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website to check out the company and what their reputation is with them. You see a B or No rating, however did you know that a business owner can improve, or should we say buy, a better rating from the Better Business Bureau just by being a member and paying a $425 + yearly fee?
Well, this is in fact TRUE! A business can simply go from having a “no rating or low letter score” status to an “A” status with a simple transaction of funds (money) in the BBB Letter Grading System. As a business owner, the thought of this made me furious, so this is when I took it upon myself to do more research. Many homeowners have NO idea this is how the BBB works and this is indeed what is happening in the letter grading system they have set up. How does this make a person feel as a homeowner?
Realizing that one might be looking at considering hiring a company and that the company very well could have gone from a low or no rating status to an A+ rating just by paying a fee? The truth of this is a bit disturbing. Not to say that the BBB is a “bad” organization, but their ratings systems are in fact are quite misleading and obviously a scam as will be verified in what I am exposing here. Don’t right out believe me, please research and decide for yourself. I know you will find the information below interesting and very informative.
Click on the image below to learn about the ABC News 20/20 video investigation for astounding proof about what I am sharing with you!
ABC News 20/20 Real BBB – Better Business Bureau Probe Story
As you can see, the BBB is well known for giving business owners an A rating for paying for what they call, “accreditation of a business member”.
Taking into consideration this research, as the business owner of Texas Home Exteriors, I refuse to deceive homeowners by playing games that insult their intelligence. Instead we have opted for feedback, reviews and recommendations through a variety of places online like Google, Angie’s List and Houzz Reviews from homeowners that were not swayed by money but sharing their personal experiences with companies like ours.
We believe that paying to get a better review or letter grade is deceptive on many levels and we opted out. As a homeowner myself, I would much rather see a live reviews written by real homeowners who share the experience they had doing business with a company. This is much more transparent way of learning about a company, honest and truly open, providing a level playing field for all involved.
Terrorist Group Get’s an A BBB Rating Just by Paying a Fee
This BBB Investigation, as told by ABC “Best Ratings Money Can Buy” (2010), tells stories from various notable businesses from around the country.
It showcases business owners who were reporting that their business would have no rating with the BBB until a fee is paid. Once a company pays the BBB fee, within a day or two the no rating that often shows on the BBB website for a company.
This will often jump to an A+ rating with what the BBB now calls, “Accreditation”. On the BBB website is described as “If a business has been accredited by the BBB, it means BBB has determined that the business meets accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.”
If you click on the image link to the right, it will simply be revealed to you how a Terror Group can receive an A rating by paying a fee.
What this means to consumers like you and me, is that anyone can come up with a business name, address and phone number and deceive with the cooperation of the BBB and it’s deceiving “false” rating system. I know that I personally in the past had relied on the BBB, looking up companies I was considering doing business with. This is no longer the case for me as well as many others across the country who have seen through this paid for service for the scam that is is.
Local Ratings Evidence Discrepancy
As you can see by the photo illustrated above, Texas Home Exteriors BBB report has only one resolved complaint and shows no rating but the Auto Group BBB report shows many resolved complaints and is rewarded with an A+ rating. The ONLY difference here is that one company is paying a fee and another is not. Wouldn’t you think that with only one reported complaint that was resolved would still be an A+ rating?
We here at Texas Home Exteriors have 100% resolved “one” (now 2 in 2017) complaint and yet “no rating” due to us not playing their (money) game. This unfair rating system goes on and on misleading so many consumers who have no idea of the flawed system that is greatly influenced by money to enhance business ratings.
BBB History as a NonProfit 501-C
Most of the US public has no idea about the BBB’s history or how the firm was started. According to information provided by Wikipedia, the Better Business Bureau was Founded in 1912 as a 501-C “nonprofit organization“. Based on the evidence below, I would add, “the BBB is a FOR Profit Organization, end of story”.
This is preposterous, and I know that you would agree as I do that it is just is not right that a business could what I call “legally pay a FEE” to a “Nonprofit Organization” in order to receive an “A” rating over other businesses that elects not to pay this FEE. And that in the case that a business does choose to PAY this fee, it seems to me that the Company as well as the Non-profit Organization are both deceiving and misleading many consumers.
I am known for have a long history of being outspoken and telling the truth no matter what. It is my belief, based on my research, that the BBB is a “pay for a grade” company and is deceiving the public. Furthermore; they are registered as a Non-Profit (501-C) yet pays its officers BIG Money out of money collected for a better grade by what is supposed to be a Non-Profit hence: BBB.ORG. Need I say more?
The Good They Do for Accredited and Non Accredited Businesses and Consumers
This post is not to say that the BBB is totally a “bad” organization, as they do help customers by making them aware of various business scams. They accomplish this by getting involved if there is a business dispute as well as informative published articles. For instance, if a consumer needs help, they assist by writing the business either the accreted (pays a fee to be accredited) or non-accreted (no fee paid) business acting as the middleman to resolve their dispute. What we have found is that the BBB most certainly has this over the business owners, the business owners must fork out a fee for accreditation and continue to do so yearly in order to stay on good terms with the BBB and maintain their accreditation through paid membership and thus keeping their A status.
Connecticut Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau
According to CBS New York, the BBB changed the rating system after a lawsuit filed in late 2010 by the Connecticut State Attorney Generals Office.
In this action, the BBB was sued for their unfair rating system that was awarding business owners for the what they referred to as a “pay to play” rating system which was much more in favor of the paying businesses over the non paying businesses published grades.
The case was eventually won in favor of the rating system being changed to non-paying non-accredited business members enjoying the same ratings. Although the case was won against the BBB, many speculate that the BBB will not be in any hurry to ensure the mandated changes have been implemented due to loss of membership fees and or dues they will experience.
Better Business Bureau, William Mitchell former CEO was raking in over $400,000 a year from LA BBB office according to IRS documents. Then this person suddenly resigns after the Attorney General lawsuit was filed and then Mitchell reported as quits job as health issues are the concern. Trying to separate himself from anything to do with the scandal around his $400,000 + yearly salary and bonuses. I was amazed at finding this unbelievable practice from an organization registered as a nonprofit 501-C, supposedly, may I add? Seams like they were for much profit at over 400k a year in earnings.
Time – Better Business Bureau Should Give Itself a Bad Grade
The famed Time Magazine, now online, posted a story on March 19th 2013 revealing how the BBB was exposed over its “pay to play” letter rating system. The article tells of the $425+ membership accreditation fee that the firm is charging will change any business rating in a more favorable light.
The article, posted by Time Online, answers, “Why the Better Business Bureau/BBB Should Give Itself a Bad Grade” stating it seems that the BBB should take an honest look at itself and review how unfair their rating system is. As a business that monitors other businesses this is what so many deemed as unethical and hypocritical. The article also goes on to mention, “Last week, the Better Business Bureau announced that it had officially expelled one of its local affiliates, the BBB of Southland, which served the greater Los Angeles area”. This will likely not be the only one that will be expelled as more of the Bureau’s “pay to play” comes under fire and is exposed to the public.
The Time article continues to showcase how anyone can create even a dummy business in minutes turning around and actually getting the BBB to pass them off as a legitimate business. Disturbingly, after investigations found that a fake business profile was set us with the business name, “Hamas” paying the $425 fee in exchange for a A grade.
Yes, you read that correctly, the name of the fake business that was set up was “Hamas”, the same name as the terrorist group in the middle east. This experiment exposed the truth of how easy it is to fool the Better Business Bureau into thinking that any business is legitimate, apparently just by paying a fee.
It seems more important to the BBB to collect a fee in exchange for a good grade than to actually do its due diligence and actually investigate a business to ensure it is even legitimate and real. This absolutely is not in the best interest of protecting consumers at all like this supposed 501-C nonprofit is claiming to do, it is quite obvious the focus is on collecting fees.
Well there you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Needless to say the mountains of evidence is unbelievably in favor of a much needed change with the BBB letter “pay for play” rating system. We will see what the next few years bring as we continue to watch for much needed changes in the BBB letter rating system.
We have provided a lot of information in this post for your reference and education. I look forward to your comments and any additional insight you might have whether you agree and or disagree, please do share your thoughts below.