In many lawsuits in the U.S. against financial institutions, Plaintiffs often make reference to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the customer complaints mentioned there. Most recently, we saw this in fraud complaints filed against Donald Kasdon and his now-bankrupt high-risk payment processor, T1 Payments. But what is the BBB, and can you rely on their information? We do think so; here is our review and assessment.
Short Better Business Bureau Narrative
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization that has been in operation since 1912. Its primary function is to enhance marketplace trust by setting standards for ethical business behavior and monitoring compliance among its member companies. The BBB also provides dispute resolution services, consumer reviews, and educational information. Here’s more about its reputation and role:
- Accreditation and Ratings: The BBB accredits businesses that meet its standards of trustworthiness and ethical behavior. Accredited businesses are given a rating from A+ to F based on factors like complaint history, transparency, and business practices. These ratings are intended to help consumers make informed decisions about the businesses they engage with.
- Consumer Complaints and Reviews: Consumers can file complaints and leave reviews about businesses on the BBB’s website. The BBB facilitates communication between consumers and businesses to help resolve disputes. While this service is widely used, it’s important to note that the BBB is not a government or regulatory agency and does not have legal or enforcement powers.
- Criticism and Controversy: Over the years, the BBB has faced criticism and controversy. One of the main critiques has been about its rating system. There have been allegations that the rating system is biased and that businesses can improve their ratings by paying for BBB membership or accreditation. In response to such criticisms, the BBB has made efforts to revise its rating system and accreditation process to maintain its credibility.
- Business and Consumer Education: The BBB provides resources and educational material to businesses on ethical practices and to consumers on avoiding scams and making informed purchasing decisions.
- Variability by Region: The BBB operates through independently incorporated local organizations across the United States and Canada. This means experiences with the BBB can vary depending on the region.
- Overall Reputation: Despite some criticisms, the BBB remains a recognized and widely referenced resource for consumers looking to assess the credibility and trustworthiness of businesses. Many consumers and businesses continue to use its services for dispute resolution and to gauge business reputation.
In summary, while the BBB has faced challenges and controversies regarding its rating and accreditation system, it still holds a significant place in the American and Canadian business landscape as a resource for promoting trust and ethical practices in the marketplace.
If you have any information or experience about BBB, please share it with us via our whistleblowing system, Whistle42.