Better Business Bureau Gone Bad

  • Written by :
  • Published on : Nov 14 2010

The other night I was flipping through the channels and stopped on a special report about the Better Business Bureau and it was really interesting! As you know, millions of people around the world are turning to the Better Business Bureau for accurate information and customer reviews from real life people and customers like you and me. However, it looks like there is more to the BBB than most of us might be aware of.

Is the Better Business Bureau as Legitimate as You May Think?

Without going into too much detail, the video reports that BBB is basically giving companies and organizations a very low grade, even as low as an “F”, just for not being a paid member of the BBB. Sure, some companies deserve an “F”. but after you watch the video below, you will have a new concept of how the BBB works and the business that they run. If you want a better grade, and changed basically over night, all you need to do is pay a few hundred bucks to get an “A”!

Better Business Bureau Featured on ABC 20/20 News

Watch the full ABC 20/20 News Special on Better Business Bureau video here.

Better Business Bureau Video Cliff Notes:

– Well known companies such as Wolfgang Puck, The Ritz Carlton, DisneyLand and other companies have all received ratings of an “F” from the BBB.

– The BBB is a non profit company, but there are more than two dozen individuals in the company earning six figure salaries. William Mitchell, the head of BBB, earns over $400,000 per year.

– Earlier this year, the Mid East terror group “Hamas”, received a rating of “A-“, when applying with the Better Business Bureau. This wasn’t actually “Hamas”, but a company listing setup by bloggers to “punk” the BBB. The price of this Hamas “A-” rating was $425. Even better, the same group listed a another fake company, which was for a racist white power web site, and used the actual contact name of “Aryn Whiting”, which was also approved with an “A+” rating after paying a $425 membership fee.

Have you ever done company research or reported anything to the Better Business Bureau?

Zac Johnson
My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.
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  • dotCOMreport

    That's dreadful…people need to know this so that they do not keep going to them.
    My recent post Make Money With the Google Vulnerability Program

    • Zac Johnson

      I'm sure the YouTube video will go viral and more stories will be re-written and shared with others. Only around 1,000 views so far, but it's quality stuff.

  • Barbara Ling

    Ever since I investigated them when the Nuskin 'Nourish the Children' scam came out…I've been less than thrilled with the BBB….
    My recent post Is That WordPress Plugin Update Really MALWARE Instead How to check

    • Zac Johnson

      The "Hamas" and "White Power" setups were amazing… it shows how much they really care just about the money when indexing these sites.

  • steve Dale

    Small business opportyunity magazine did a story 10 years ago on this. I've set up over 2000 people in business and have always told my clients to ignor the BBB. Did you know you can buy your own BBB? It sorta like a franchise.
    My recent post Blind Brokers Network 20

    • Zac Johnson

      Wow nice, I'm not surprised. They are spread all through out the country, so why not franchise… more money for the guys at the top!

  • Zac Johnson

    I was surprised too… but not so much… It's tough to find truly legitimate companies these day. It really was a great piece from ABC 20/20 though. I'm sure it shocked a ton of us.

  • Aluminum Cases

    This is brutal. So many online customers rely on sites like the BBB to get information about companies they are considering buying from. I don't know how they can claim to be non profit with those kinds of salaries. There really should be legal salary limits for non profit organizations.

    • Patrick

      Yea I used to be a member of an American Red Cross chapter and the CEO of the north east Ohio region made 6 figures. So did a few other positions.

  • Josh Lancaster

    I thought it was controlled in some way by the government and that we could rely on their ratings. This is just ridiculous and looks like one of the biggest frauds ever. Is there an easy way we could share this information with as many people as possible?

    • Zac Johnson

      I bet a lot of people have that same misconception, which is why it's so dangerous. Sharing through social media on Twitter and Facebook would probably gain the most attention.
      My recent post Adsense Ready WordPress Themes

      • Aluminum Cases

        I agree that many people probably have this misconception. Inexperienced online shoppers don't realize that almost all company review sites are actually businesses themselves. It's a tough situation for companies who rely on customer reviews though. While they should boycott sites like BBB who do things like this, it would ultimately help the company to get better BBB ratings.

  • Joy Parks

    What is worse is after exposing their lies will they go to jail? Or some top notch lawyer will just reason their way to building more Better Businesses for them. Hope the government can put a stop to this?

    • Josh Lancaster

      I start to think that the government already knew this. If this information doesn't spread to the masses I don't think anything will change.

    • Zac Johnson

      Im sure nothing will happen, just like how nothing ever happens to all of the fraudulent companies around the world.
      My recent post Adsense Ready WordPress Themes

  • demir

    That's dreadful..

  • Kek Lapis Sarawak

    If all people rely on BBB I guess many big company will face bankruptcy. When I saw the video I really don't understand why it give F to the some great company. Maybe they want some cheap publicity, well they got it I guess.

  • Claire Price

    Now its BBB. Who do you think would be exposed next? This sad reality should makes us always question & double check all those rating & review sites.

  • Jenn@t1 service

    Wow, that is super lame. In fact, it makes the Better Business Bureau a suspect business. People have been trusting them for decades, so for them to engage in such a shady practice degrades the trust factor they've worked so hard to build! Who is watching the watchers? BBB gets an F for this practice in my opinion!
    My recent post VoIP company Skype buys Qik

  • antalya ilaçlama

    If all people rely on BBB I guess many big company will face bankruptcy. When I saw the video I really don't understand why it give F to the some great company. Maybe they want some cheap publicity, well they got it I guess.
    My recent post Antalya Aras Ä°laçlama

  • Michael Wang

    Its Just Pure Disappointments when over millions of CONSUMER used and trusted BBB.
    I myself though it was a government funded agency when I first became aware of BBB's rating but I still did trusted it as far as online network information goes after finding out its was cooperate runs by individuals.
    In fact I liked it even more because they werent associated with and to the Governments or any other corporations give better and honest ratings to all without any form of distinction and preferential treatment.

    Throw a few Advertisements on their websites for legit good reviews on their paying subscribers to generate the revenues… by giving rating base partly base on distinguishing "Pigeons" is not what BBB WAS about. The Founders of BBB would give the current BBB's rating system a D.

    Fix it as soon before it end up like Megaupload. BBB has a long standing record of serving the community for generations so if All their rating can be review and re-adjust fairly, I think we can still trust their rating again. I do not believe that the controversy during the recent years is commented by all members of BBB.
    Happy 100th Year Anniversary

  • B. Paradiso

    Folks: 40 years ago, BBB was a super and unbiased company. They did what they promised, promoted discussion between the consumer and the business and they got results. They were trusted. As soon as cash flow is involved between a business and BBB, there is likely to be a conflict of interest and BBB can not be neutral because they’ve received money from their consumer. I used them several times and win or lose, they were indeed neutral.

    I can’t trust them since they receive money from companies to be accredited and I’ve seen the lawsuits online about this. I sensed the imbalance in the company’s favor (the one I complained about). I told BBB that … they say we must maintain the issue reported but they allowed the management of a company to go off track and I sort of got nailed for doing what they allowed the company to do.

    I found them worthless. That also means that the stats they quote as their success rates are biased. What really got to me was their allowing the company to tell me I had to remove my honest (bad against the company) reviews or rate the business higher. It’s unethical from a company that’s supposed to be neutral. It escalated an already rather insane situation because now not only am I dealing with an auto dealership who is not being upfront (and BBB allowed it) but BBB’s favoritism towards them. They are not neutral. The lawsuits against them over the years tend to support me.

    I will no longer trust BBB and won’t use them. I’d like our government to intervene to stop this but it will likely hurt businesses, so I don’t see this happening. My suggestion is to just ignore ratings because you don’t know if they’re true or false and if accredited, it weighs more on the false side since money was exchanged.

    Be careful and I would ignore any review coming out of BBB at this point after a decent history with them.