BBB Institutes New Rating System

Initial reactions negative

The Better Business Bureau has adopted a new approach to rating companies, and in theory, the system should allow for more accuracy than the two old "satisfactory" and "unsatisfactory" options.  Unfortunately, it’s already sounding as if the fresh approach will leave good companies no less unhappy.

George Gombossy (and/or Richard Berman, depending on which byline you believe) reports, "[B]usinesses will be rated based on 16 weighted categories with a scale from AAA to F.  The BBB Reliability Report’s algorithm calculating a company’s ranking revolves around a set of subjective characteristics including the nature of business, length of time since opening, whether the business is ‘problematic in the industry,’ and BBB accreditation, i.e., are they a paying member."

So if landscaping companies in one area have a habit of doing a poor job, it sounds as if any nearby landscaping business – even if it’s responsible for PGA-approved golf courses – might automatically get a black mark against it.  Startups, dinged for being young, might have trouble attracting customers and getting off the ground.  And it may not ever be possible to get the highest rating unless companies send the BBB a check every so often.

A business can at least contact the BBB to ask about its rating, though, which will hopefully lead to some things being cleared up.  Otherwise, companies should get ready to reassess how they interact with the BBB and potential customers who try to use it as a source of information.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the BBB has more or less members six months from now.

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