Better Business Bureau scrubs a fraudulent business, changes F to an A
March 10, 2019 3:29 AM   Subscribe

Several years ago, I was defrauded by a Bay Area (CA) business. Essentially it was a sole proprietorship that failed to do literally any of the work to which they were contracted. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and noted that the business had an "F" rating on the BBB website, and a dozen complaints, similar to my own. I just went back to the site, and saw that all of the complaints against the company have been removed, and the rating was changed to an "A". I have emailed BBB three times to alert them of this scrubbing, but haven't heard back. The irony that BBB would scrub a fraudster's review and then ignore requests to file a complaint against them is not lost on me. Advice?
posted by earthwalker7 to Work & Money (8 answers total)
BBB’s FAQ indicates that reviews only stay up for 3 years, so this might be normal. It sounds like it’s time to let this go.
posted by jon1270 at 3:45 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]

It could be as simple as the business decided to pay. BBB isnt a government agency and has no meaningful enforcement powers. They don't serve much of a purpose other than to provide a shiny sticker to those who decide to pay a membership fee.

I wouldn't put too much stock in the organization or their rating system. If you want a place where your reviews stick around try Angie's list or Yelp but these have their own versions of pay to play schemes unfortunately.
posted by Karaage at 3:55 AM on March 10 [18 favorites]

I think Karaage is right. The BBB is a for-profit organization, and their priority is collecting fees, not identifying misbehavior among the companies that pay those fees. They've always been more critical of non-member companies.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:56 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]

A local business treated me stupidly, and I went elsewhere, but when Google popped up and asked me to do a review, I did, and got attention form the parent company and local management (though they never actually provided a resolution), so I'd write reviews on yelp, Googlemaps, and any other sites.
posted by theora55 at 7:26 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]

Perhaps this business has improved over the years and has earned a better reputation. Write reviews elsewhere, seek legal counsel if needed. The horrible organization I worked for had a great BBB profile. I would agree to definitely let that aspect of it go.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:04 AM on March 10

Yeah, if you want to do something, write reviews on Yelp or possibly set up your own webpage for if someone googles the business that tells your whole story. If you have it under your control, it's less likely to be...whatevered... by any third party company when someone complains about it.

However, this may end up with you in some kind of a legal war with this company if you are slamming them publicly, so... keep that in mind when you decide whether or not you are willing to possibly have to pay that price if you try to fight back against these people.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:51 AM on March 10

When I started a business the BBB actually called my office with a scripted sales pitch and asked me to pay to subscribe to their "service".

No, they are not a government entity and they have zero legal jurisdiction over any consumer complaints. They are basically Yelp for old people. If you still have concerns about the business, you might do better to contact your state Dept of Consumer Affairs. Otherwise, I agree with other posters; review the heck out of them. But keep in mind, the management or the business model may have completely turned over by now. Keep your review fair by saying approximately how long ago you dealt with them.
posted by vignettist at 7:05 PM on March 10

A company I used to work for received a letter from the local BBB concerning a complaint that had been made about us. The letter basically scolded us for the customer's complaint, then said if we reached out to the customer and made it right, the BBB would take that into consideration. Oh, and give them (BBB) money to join and everything would be good.

The owner snorted and threw the letter away. And nothing ever happened after that, because the BBB has no power and does not take action against offending businesses. That's by design.

The BBB is just a front organization set up to make customers think they have recourse. In reality, they do nothing.

When a customer has an actual complaint, best to look for the appropriate governmental regulatory agency to submit the complaint to.
posted by Lunaloon at 6:31 AM on March 11

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