The BBB, AKA Better Business Bureau, is as bad as many of the scammers they go after. The Better Business Bureau is not a governmental agency. Each office is run by a board of directors but are not governmentally owned and have no real power. They can't do anything. All they can do is say that a company is bad on their phone line (or site) and then report to the real authorities.
The BBB is not fair to consumers because they don't provide accurate information about companies. A company may have thousands of happy clients and one complaint, yet the BBB will not acknowledge that fact. The BBB does not check the credibility of any complaint they receive but they will post a company as unsatisfactory. Their practices are completely unfair to both businesses and consumers. If you are a business, don't do your business harm by joining them. If you are a consumer, don't use them to reference a company. There are many other busines organizations that give concise and accurate information about a company. One is the "Fair Business Association of America" at www.fbaa.us. Another is the "Better Internet Bureau" at www.better-internet-bureau.org. There are many other honest organizations out there. If you're looking for accurate and truthful information about a business, the BBB should be THE LAST RESORT used if not at all!
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Let me give you a bit of background information first.
The Better Business Bureau is not a governmental agency. Each office is run by a board of directors but are not governmentally owned and have no real power. They can't do anything. All they can do is say that you are bad on their phone line (or site) and then report to the real authorities.
They charge to be a member. I have no problem with them charging but the way they have it set up is a total scam. There is an offline BBB and an online BBB. You have to pay $350 a year to belong to either. If you are an online business you must first joint the offline for $350 and then the online for another $350.
The Better Business Bureau will not list information about you unless you are a member or have complaints. That means that if you don't join and have zero complaints, this is what customers hear if they try to check up on you, "The Better Business Bureau has no info on this company". That makes it sound like you are shady or something.
The BBB might disagree but I would think most people would back me up. Here is what happened to me. I hope you can benefit from it:
I had been badgered for a year by the Better Business Bureau to join but they don't like people who sell books on how to make money. People with stock systems or money making books sometimes don't get in. I had rep after rep call and try to get me into the Better Business Bureau all telling me the same thing. "If you aren't a member and have no complaints (like I did) then people aren't going to get any info about you. It was almost like they wanted my $350 to say something about me. That's exactly what it was.
I paid the $350 to join and was very clear about what my company did, my URL and what we were about. I even told them I wanted to put the logo up on my site. The gal had to go check with a supervisor but they said that was OK.
About four months passed when I got a call from some other supervisor at the Better Business Bureau telling me I had to take the BBB logo off my site. I was surprised asking them if I did something wrong. They said "Yes, you can't put the logo on your site." "OK why?", I asked. They told me, "The Better Business Bureau logo is copyrighted. You just can't use it anywhere."
I said I understood this but I was a member. I have seen people use the logo on stationary etc. What is the problem with it being on my site? The answer I finally got bothered me a lot. "Mr. Gagnon, you can't use the logo on your site because you aren't a member of the Online Better Business Bureau." Did I hear her right? The Online Better Business Bureau?
She told me I was going to have to call another phone number to get details. I ended up talking to a guy who worked for the Online Better Business Bureau and found out that they wanted another $350 to join that. I explained that there was some mistake and that I should have joined the online version in the first place. Could they just transfer my membership? He said "No". "You have to join the regular Better Business Bureau first, then if you are an online business, you can join the Online Better Business Bureau." I yelled, "SCAM!!!" into the phone. I don't think he appreciated it. I ended up paying the $350 to join the Online Better Business Bureau.
They said the approval process was much harder and they were going to be examining me with a microscope. I said that was fine. I had no complaints. It didn't end up being fine. I was approved for the online version until the person that had found the logo on my site started looking at my sales letter and decided they didn't like some of the things that I said in it. They issued me a letter saying they wanted a list of my customers that had made over $6,000 every month using my methods. I told them my customer list was private but I would give them a few phone numbers of happy customers that they could talk to.
A few nasty phone calls later, I was kicked out of the Better Business Bureau. They told me the reasons were my advertising standards and the logo incident. "Incident", I asked. "What incident?" They said I knew what they were talking about. I tried to bargain my way back in but it was to no avail. I asked them if they were upset with what was on my site, why didn't they say something when I signed up for The Better Business Bureau? I had given them my URL. I told them I marketed books on "how to make money on the net".
My site and letter were exactly the same from the time that I signed up. Nothing had changed. The gal said that it didn't matter. They didn't like what they saw now and I would have to change some pretty major things. I asked what? She goes on to explain that I would have to take all mentions of money out of my letter and even change the name of book I sold at the time, "Millions from home."
She said that if somebody was of low intelligence, the name was misleading. I said "Look, the book is called Millions from home, not "I Guarantee you are going to make one million dollars." She was silent. "The name means a bunch of things. That is why I used it. If somebody is mislead by the name Millions from home they shouldn't have a credit card or have the ability to buy anything. They should be in a group home." The conversation ended there.
Now when you call the phone line it says "Mazu Publishing was a member of the Better Business Bureau but that membership was revoked due to breaking membership rules 1 and 6. 1 being background information and 6 being advertising standards". The entire thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
At the time of this writing, I am boycotting the Better Business Bureau. I will still use businesses that are members but only if I have to. Maybe the name is a credibility builder for some people but not to me nor to the people who have heard my story.
I figure that some of the businesses that are members were pressured into joining like I was. I considered a law suit but the truth hurts more. They probably cost me about $400 to $600 a month in lost sales. I hope to cost them ten times that amount in lost business sign ups.
San Jose, California
U.S.A. STOP! ..before you think about using the Better Business Bureau (BBB)... CLICK HERE to see how other consumers were victimized by the BBB's false or misleading information. Don't be fooled! It has been reported, when there are thousands of complaints and other investigations underway by authorities, the BBB has no choice but to finally give an UNsatisfactory rating to a BBB member business that is paying the BBB big membership fees every year. When a business is reported that is NOT a BBB member, BBB files WILL more likely show an UNsatisfactory rating, then reportedly shake down that company to become a member of the BBB. One positive thing about the BBB is, either way, if a business has an unsatisfactory rating with the BBB, you can be sure, the business is bad. But what about all those BBB member businesses that had complaints filed against them? Consumers never get to hear about them. What about the BBB advertising to the public? Is this a false and misleading perception they are giving about consumer confidence when dealing with a business? Click here to understand more of what consumers and business alike are saying about the BBB. You decide. ..Remember. The BBB membership is not earned, it's paid for!