The Better Business Bureau: Practicing What They Claim to Combat.

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The Better Business Bureau: Practicing What They Claim to Combat.

Post by DontaeRuiz044 on Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:09 pm

Whenever we make a big purchase, or whenever we make a big decision as a consumer, we make sure to do a lot of research before we buy, right?

So imagine you’re a parent with a child who has autism, and you come across the website of a vitamin maker who claims they offer a supplement that is “scientifically proven” to assist and treat speech problems associated with autism, and you purchase their product. What would you do if it turned out the company was a fraud and lied about their supplements?

Or imagine you suffer from cancer. The illness itself is very scary, and treatment is hell, but rest assured, you’re in good hands at your healthcare facility and they’ll do everything they can to help you get better. At least that’s what they tell you. But, what happens when the healthcare corporation providing you with treatment is found guilty of recklessly cutting corners, providing radiation to patients without doctor supervision, potentially causing more harm to a patient who is already very ill?

What if I told you that both of these things actually happened, and the victims not only did their research, but were assured by one of the nation’s most trusted consumer advocates – the Better Business Bureau – that each of the businesses could be trusted.

The Better Business Bureau is a “non profit” organization who claim their main goal is to protect consumers (and employees) from unethical business practices. They claim to do this by providing information about a company’s reliability and giving companies a letter grade (A-F) based off of their trustworthiness.

Both businesses mentioned above – the vitamin maker NourishLife LLC, and the healthcare corp. Adventist Healthcare Systems – were given A+ ratings by the BBB. These businesses aren’t the only ones either. In a private investigation done by CNN Money in 2015, more than 100 businesses with an A- rating or higher have been found to be fraudulent in business practice or have been the subject of government investigation, and even shut down.

So how do these businesses have such high ratings with the BBB? CNN discovered that companies such as these pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year to the not for profit BBB for membership. Companies that aren’t members and don’t pay fees, on the other hand, such as Microsoft and Starbucks, are among the BBB’s lowest rated companies, graded F and D, respectively.

The Better Business Bureau, it would seem, is extorting businesses for positive grades and reviews. Contrary to their claims, they BBB isn’t here to protect the consumer, they’re here to look out for the best interest of the businesses that pay them to do so.

DontaeRuiz044
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Re: The Better Business Bureau: Practicing What They Claim to Combat.

Post by Admin on Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:12 am

Hi DontaeRuiz044 - I have never heard such a scathing review of the BBB! I always assumed they were a legit organization. I would have liked to read your CNN source. Could you post that please? I have done some research of my own, and found others saying the BBB discriminates against online businesses. You can read that article here. I haven't been able to find anything that defends the BBB. Do you think it is entirely without merit? How is it they still have any support, and what can be done about their mafia-style membership?

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Re: The Better Business Bureau: Practicing What They Claim to Combat.

Post by DontaeRuiz on Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:33 pm

Hello, Admin. The article is a CNN Money article titled "Slammed by the government, A-rated by the Better Business Bureau". I also always assumed they were a trustworthy organization, and when beginning my research, never would have imagined what I would discover. One business owner (who is, by the way, a paying member) that I spoke to supports and uses the BBB's services because of the fact that people (consumers and employees) "love to complain", and the BBB is a good conflict mediator. The general public still supports the BBB because of the fact that they do not know about the unethical practices. There isn't enough publicity on the matter, the public isn't informed. You and I are prime examples of this - we both assumed the BBB was a trustworthy organization. As far as what can be done, that's where it gets tricky. The FTC (Federal Trade Comission) would be the organization to further investigate the accusations of fraud and extortion by the BBB, however the BBB works with the FTC when they conduct their own investigations of individual corporations, possibly creating a conflict of interest. After reaching out to the FTC for information or a response, they have not yet commented. Furthermore, when I asked the business owner who is a paying member of the BBB, he seemed to not have any problems paying - he just wanted an honest grade. Business owners are intimidated by the fact that one bad grade by the nations "most trustworthy" consumer and employee advocates could completely ruin their businesses, so the extortion of businesses really is working for the BBB. Unethical and illegal, but it's working.

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