Under "About Us" on their website are very lofty Vision, Mission and Values statements. The BBB is supposedly all about trust between buyers and sellers. One of their duties is "denouncing substandard marketplace behavior". However, my recent experience with the BBB in West Palm Beach is they make a superficial effort at best, and they do NOT give accurate evaluations of businesses, as they claim to do. Ironically, they are guilty of substandard marketplace behavior themselves, and are not to be trusted.
I took my 2002 Honda Accord to Maaco of Lake Park, FL. Their Presidential paint job lasted one day. The franchisee blamed it on bird droppings, then on me waxing the car, claiming he gave me instructions not to wax. He gave me no instructions. Maaco corporate only intervened after multiple letters and website postings, saying it was a problem with the paint. Later Maaco offered me my money back --- in exchange for removing the postings about them, not because they wanted to honor the warranty.
As I explained to Maaco and the BBB, I cannot take time off work again, cannot afford to rent a car again and then pay labor expenses to said franchisee. I just want my money back to go to someone I can trust.
The BBB ruled that his response was "reasonable" and they were closing the case. They suggested going to the Attorney General and the Division of Consumer Services, which I will do. Their "sorry but" email was signed "Customer Service Department". I had emailed the BBB with updates on my case, but when they did not respond, I mailed hard copies of my complaint and documentation to Carol Venello, their Senior VP. She also did not respond, so I can only conclude she simply dumped my paperwork on a nameless person's desk in "Customer Service", whose "mission" was obviously to get it off his or her desk as quickly as possible.
A co-worker of mine told me not to expect much from the BBB. Her husband had briefly worked for them trying to telemarket their accreditation to local businesses. It was a hard sell and like Chamber of Commerce memberships: Pay-to-Play to abe able to show a certificate or plaque in your office and a listing on their website. The vast majority of businesses do not belong or appear to take the BBB very seriously.
Another consumer on this website speculated the BBB might give better ratings with their accreditation. This had occurred to me. I noticed duplicate listings for Maaco of Hialeah. One had no rating, but the other had an "A-". This is the only accredited Maaco in South Florida so far --- unless Lake Park Maaco decides to buy into it, since they were kind enough to close the case.
I also filed a billing dispute with Barclays MasterCard. Unlike Maaco, which expected me to take the word of their franchisee and the paint representative, they requested I take my car to a reputable third party for a written second opinion, which I did. Their judgment is pending. The BBB in West Palm Beach did not request this. Evidently they can trust their Customer Service Department when it comes to car paint and do not need a second opinion. The money came out of my pocket, not theirs. No problem.
The auto body shop owner I went to for the second opinion told me about his experience with the same BBB. A consumer complained about another body shop with the same name, but in a different city. The BBB sent him letters threatening to give him negative ratings, even after he responded and the consumer corrected the mistake. I told my car mechanic of 8 years about Maaco and the BBB. He laughed and noted the other Maacos with "F" ratings were still in business, and obviously do not care what the BBB publishes about them.
Evidently, the only thing you can "trust" the Better Business Bureau to do is send out letters and then flip coins to make decisions which possibly negatively impact consumers' wallets. Even if the conduct of a business is egregious, and/or affecting a member of a protected gruop, such as a senior citizen, all the BBB can do is give them an "F". In other words, they can't do much of anything.