Folksonomied Better Business Bureau
April 19, 2005 3:40 PM   Subscribe

The better business bureau seems to be kinda worthless. Is there a generic website where I can go to rate local businesses that isn't awash with tons of ads or filler? I'm thinking something craigs-list-ish, but searchable, with Amazonian filtering (the website, not the large women, although that would be cool too). I think I just got ripped off by a tire store, and I'm tired of going through life a victim. Lazyweb, take me away!

If such a site does not exist, would someone please monetize this idea right now and give me stock?
posted by mecran01 to Shopping (12 answers total) Like that?

Have you tried resolving things with the tire store in a calm, rational, non-confrontational way? Maybe telling them "you promised me X but delivered Y" or even "I found a better price, will you refund the difference, or part of the difference?"
posted by fixedgear at 4:31 PM on April 19, 2005

The problem isn't the store or my resolution of the problem. The problem is finding the establishments with a reputation for good honest service using something more objective and with a larger sample size than word of mouth at the office, thus eliminating the need for conflict resolution and rewarding honest retailers.
posted by craniac at 5:10 PM on April 19, 2005

Um. It's pretty weird that mecran01 asked a question and craniac is following it up.
posted by grouse at 5:15 PM on April 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

Whoopsy. I created a second account because AFAIK there's no way to change your account name or password. The Matthowie is free to neutralize the mecran01 account if he wants, although it would be nice if it weren't deleted completely so I could access old answers.
posted by craniac at 5:31 PM on April 19, 2005

I feel so dirty.
posted by craniac at 5:52 PM on April 19, 2005

Bizrate is one such beast. I've seen others, have you tried a Google search for "store reviews"?
posted by birdsquared at 5:55 PM on April 19, 2005

For car repairs, I have used Car Talk's search and have had good luck (I bring it up since you said you went to a tire store).

The Better Business Bureau recommends JD Power. But it seems limited at best.
posted by schnee at 6:45 PM on April 19, 2005

Response by poster: I found the last honest mechanic in Utah using Cartalk, but he's 45 miles from my house so I foolishly stopped by a chain that close to my work. Leben und Lernen.

Places like Bizrate are so intent on selling you crap that there's a really bad signal/noise ratio. This looks like a wonderful webapp opportunity, perhaps. Except that anyone trying this would probably get sued blind. Imagine if every transaction, not just Ebay, got rated online.
posted by mecran01 at 8:40 PM on April 19, 2005

Best answer: Yahoo! Local lets you rate businesses.

The Better Business Bureau is often misunderstood as an enforcement agency; it only takes reports, and often a business will have several even if they have a good reputation, as it naturally attracts squeaky wheels. This is especially so with contractors -- and then the BBB is powerless to tell you that Joe's Windows & Doors has gone through six incorporations in as many years to escape customer complaints.

Angie's List is apparently keeping a higher reputation for being useful, but ti's only active in certain metros, and they focus only on contractors, not every type of business.

My experience with epinions leads me to believe there will always be more unrated products/businesses than raters, and often only one rating per, with some of them a tad sketchy. I wouldn't want to make decisions based on one suspicious review; it defeats the entire idea of "asking the internet". My experience with folksonomies leads me to wonder whether, especially in this case, they will be vulnerable to spam. There's really no protection against Frank's Muffler writing up Mike's Muffler for a Honda horror show, and writing themselves a glowing paean such as the Greek gods have never seen.
posted by dhartung at 10:08 PM on April 19, 2005

Response by poster: Excellent points. If, however, a single establishment has 15 bad reviews, then it might mean something. Of course, if it sucks that much, word usually gets out to even non-street-savvy individuals as myself. Like Amazon, however, onanistic self-flattery usually reveals itself as such. The pr reviews are usually painfully obvious.
posted by mecran01 at 3:52 AM on April 20, 2005

The BBB doesn't do jackshite.

posted by scratch at 8:30 AM on April 20, 2005

Response by poster: At the very least, my suspicions that nothing of this nature exists are confirmed.
posted by mecran01 at 12:42 PM on April 25, 2005

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