Exposing the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau has had a reputation of being less than ethical. A group of business owners decided to set a trap for the BBB. ABC News reports:

The Better Business Bureau, one of the country’s best known consumer watchdog groups, is being accused by business owners of running a “pay for play” scheme in which A plus ratings are awarded to those who pay membership fees, and F ratings used to punish those who don’t.

To prove the point, a group of Los Angeles business owners paid $425 to the Better Business Bureau and were able to obtain an A minus grade for a non-existent company called Hamas, named after the Middle Eastern terror group.

“The BBB accreditation and the BBB ratings systems is not about generating money,” said BBB national president and CEO Steve Cox. He said the A minus grade for Hamas was given in error. “Plain and simple, we made a mistake,” Cox told ABC News.

Errors seem to abound at the Better Business Bureau. As reported by an anonymous blogger the BBB also awarded an A minus rating to a non-existent sushi restaurant in Santa Ana, California and an A plus to a skinhead, neo-Nazi web site called Stormfront.It is not about the money? It seems pretty clear it is completely about the money. I’d ask how Cox can offer forth such a weak response but making outrageous statements and then standing by them seems to be the norm in society today.

Yet, as part of the ABC News investigation, an ABC News producer with a camera was present as two small business owners in Los Angeles were told by Better Business Bureau tele-marketers that their grades of C could be raised to A plus if they paid $395 membership fees.

Terri Hartman, the manager of a Los Angeles antique fixtures store, Liz’s Antique Hardware, was told only a payment could change her grade, based on one old complaint that had already been resolved.

“So, if I don’t pay, even though the complaint has been resolved, I still have a C rating?”

Hartman then read off her credit card number and the next business day the C grade was replaced with an A plus, and the one complaint was wiped off the record.Good thing it isn’t about the money. I was getting worried there for a second.

As damning as this evidence seems, perhaps I am being to hard on the Better Business Bureau. Maybe in the case of the Hamas “mistake” they were simply channeling their inner Jimmy Carter and couldn’t make the connection between Hamas and terrorism.

It's official, TIME Magazine is a complete joke
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