August 20, 2017

BBB Institutes New Rating System

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.

About Doug Caverly 776 Articles
Doug Caverly is a staff writer for SmallBusinessNewz.

6 Comments on BBB Institutes New Rating System

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

    Well, I don’t think they will have me as a member. Signing up with the BBB has been on my to-do list for quite some time. Not so much after reading this. The BBB really seems to have no credibility if they judge your business on your membership and the fees you pay. They should be playing an impartial role, but it seems they have forgotten that aspect of it.

    Another thought: With so much information available online, does the BBB really have any value left?



  2. If your company decides not to renew it’s membership the BBB will post the notice below about your company stating that your company’s participation has lapsed for one of the following reasons. 

    Non-payment of the annual BBBOnLine license fee or BBB Accreditation dues; Failure by the business to maintain its BBB Accreditation, or abide by the program standards or dispute resolution requirements of the BBBOnLine program

    The BBB puts undue pressure on former members who no longer wish to be members by grouping them with a cryptic program standards issue and a dispute resolution issue.

    Realisticly, what will a consumer see when they check a company who’s subscription has expired. Won’t the despute resolution phrase will be glaring? What do you see?

    Complaining to the BBB does no good and they will not put the exact  reason that your company  is not participating.

    Suppose that you lived in Manhattan and you no longer had the need for a drivers license because of good public transportation.  You don’t renew the license and the Department of Motor Vehicles runs a web page explaining that you no longer had a drivers license because you didn’t renew, had your license revoked or you were drunk driver. Would that fair to you?   Some folks would  pay the renewal fee just to clear their reputation. The trouble is that renewal for the BBB isn’t cheap. Wonder if they do it just for that reason.

  3. Thanks for this information, Doug. I contacted the BBB to see if it were something I’d like to join to add credibility to my safety and security web site. In my industry people are looking to be more safe from the start so I felt it would be a good thing, especially with an on line business. As a new web site it was a bit pricy for me and then I started hearing lots of negative comments about the BBB from well established businesses that are with them or left them for one reason or another. I decided to pass for now and I think, based on your article, that I may steer clear permanently.

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