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BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU:  Perceptions and Reality

 

The BBB allows to "check out a business or charity" according to their website.  The BBB sells a great deal of advertising by selling their logo to businesses for use on their websites, written materials and for other business uses.  In fact, the BBB receives much of their revenue from fundraising in selling their logo.  They are more of an association of merchants rather than a customer protection agency.  Although the word "bureau" is in the name, they are not a government agency.  When someone inquires to the BBB about a business, the BBB immediately responds by calling that business.  And for what?  The BBB wants to tell the business owner that someone inquired and to explain the benefits of joining the BBB for a few hundred dollars.

 

Most disgruntled customers threaten a misbehaving company with a "call to the BBB."  So, what happens when someone files a complaint with the BBB and what's a business to do?  According to the BBB, the merchant must respond to the complaint.  This doesn't mean that the merchant must resolve the complaint.  Responding to a complaint is not the same as resolving it.  A business may send a letter, to the customer, responding to a complaint.  That letter may not make things right, may not include a refund, and may make the customer more frustrated.


As a customer, this is excessively disappointing.  Anyone can "respond" to complaint.  How is that going to resolve anything?  It's not going to resolve a thing.  The goal of the BBB is to sell their logo, their image, and their "advertising" for a price.  The BBB goes through the motions to look like they are out for the consumer.  They may be in spirit, but not in execution.

 

Any business, out to shaft a customer, can get away with it and keep a good standing with a BBB.  This shouldn't be.  The sad truth is that there's no real way to tell if a business has honest owners.  A good credit rating only means that the business pays bills on time.  A good stance with the BBB only means that the company responded to all complaints.  If a company responds to 1000 complaints, then that company is still in good standing with the BBB.  Unfortunately, due diligence takes more work than what people think.

 

So, should you have a BBB logo on your marketing materials or your website?  Yes, if you think it'll help your marketing efforts.  Let's call the BBB what it is:  A boost in advertising.  If your customers like the BBB and it builds confidence in them to buy something from your company,  then do it.  You'll spend several hundred annually for the right to use the logo.

 

On the other hand, if you're a consumer seeking to recover money from a misleading merchant, then don't look for a solution with the BBB.  You'll be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

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