• Report: #710515
Complaint Review:

Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida

  • Submitted: Sat, March 26, 2011
  • Updated: Sat, April 02, 2011

  • Reported By: South Florida Resident — Palm Beach Gardens Florida USA
Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida
4411 Beacon Circle, Suite 4 West Palm Beach, Florida United States of America

Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida BBB of Southeast Florida BBB of SE FL Can't Be Trusted ... to Do Much of Anything West Palm Beach, Florida

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Not True

*Consumer Comment: John Zajac of the West Florida BBB is a SCAM ALERT!

*Consumer Comment: You Won't Find Any 'Better Business' In The BBB SCAM!

*Author of original report: Trying to Make Business Better in South Florida - A Challenge

*Consumer Comment: MAACO

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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.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/26/2011 09:45 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/better-business-bureau-of-southeast-florida/west-palm-beach-florida-33407/better-business-bureau-of-southeast-florida-bbb-of-southeast-florida-bbb-of-se-fl-cant-be-710515. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Not True

AUTHOR: Tarpon George - ()

Your report on John Zajac is simply untrue ---Your goal is to discredit the BBB because your company is a company that the BBB warns people about.  It happens over and over---a business owner is angry that the BBB "gave" him an F rating.  You gave yourself a F-rating.  So the ticked business owner runs to the internet to cry to the public that his poor company has an F rating.   I see it over and over-- every F-rated company thinks their rating is unfair---in fact, I never ran into one business owner who admitted his bad rating was justified.   There are thousands upon thousands of Aplus rated companies out there----run from the F's and call the A's.  Oh and stay away from this loser.  

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#2 Consumer Comment

John Zajac of the West Florida BBB is a SCAM ALERT!

AUTHOR: United Citizen - ()

John Zajac of the West Florida BBB is refusing to help businesses resolve their claims unless you pay him $1,000 to update your profile.  We refuse to pay this corrupt individual just so we can receive a good review with the West Florida BBB.

 John Zajac of the West Floirda BBB has refused to help businesses repair their BBB business profile and refuses to meet with businesses makig efforts to repair their online reputation. 

John Zajac of the West Florida BBB has shut down numerous businesses in the St. Petersburg- Clearwater-Tampa area because of the harsh ratings they label businesses if they do not pay his bribe. He then refuses to accept business responses to complaints and remove false complaints from competitors. 


Many businesses have included the following reasons why John Zajac should be reported: 


  • Refuses to help improve BBB business rating unless a fee of $1,000 is paid in full to John Zajac of the West Florida BBB.


* Large businesses that have tens of thousands of clients but only have a few complaints on their BBB Business Page have F ratings. 


* Gives an F rating to businesses with as low as 10 complaints unless your accept his bribe.


  • Gives A+ ratings to businesses dispute their corrupt business practices and reviews. (Businesses that have paid off John Zajac)


* Refuses to meet with business owners in person once they have received bad reviews on the West Florida BBB and have rejected his (John Zajac) bribe.


* The West Florida BBB will also issue fake alerts in an attempt to shut down/ extort your business.

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#3 Consumer Comment

You Won't Find Any 'Better Business' In The BBB SCAM!


The BBB is a SCAM.  Anybody can buy a BBB phoney "accreditation".  The BBB phoney "arbitration" process is the consumer against one of the BBB customers who bought a phoney BBB "accreditation" with the "mediator" a BBB employee.  Does that sound like a level playing field?  The BBB tries to DECEIVE the public into thinking they are a part of government by refering to themselves as "the bureau" just like the FBI does and issuing news releases about scams as if they were some enforcement body.  They are the SCAM.  Go to you tube and search "BBB Scam" and watch how the sleazy BBB guy quickly ends the interview with an ABC reporter because the reporter is drilling in on the BBB scam.  Imagine being in the same room with the SMELL of that pond scum!
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#4 Author of original report

Trying to Make Business Better in South Florida - A Challenge

AUTHOR: South Florida Resident - (USA)

As far as Maaco is concerned, the auto body shop owner I went to for a second opinion said he had worked for Maaco --- 30 years ago.  He expressed surprise that corporate would not do more, but also said Maaco gives their franchisees leeway in their choice of materials and possible profit margin. Obviously each individual franchisee is different.  I picked the wrong franchisee who chose the wrong paint. The cost of that bad paint job means more to me as an older single parent with a child who has a costly chronic health condition.  I simply do not trust that franchisee anymore, and want a refund to go elsewhere.

As to questionable businesses in Florida, as a native of the area, I would say South Florida in particular has always been a "challenge". This area attracts all kinds of people, some of whom are unethical. It is very diverse, with a lot of transplants from the Northeast (NJ and NY), the Caribbean, and South America. A lot of people come here for a fresh start and/or to re-invent themselves. Business practices may be different "back home" in terms of what is allowed or customary. Law enforcement and regulatory agencies here are overwhelmed and tend to focus on "large" cases. Offenders know this. South Florida consumers must therefore be more diligent and then active in fixing a problem with unsatisfactory service or a defective product.

Also take into consideration the recession, our high relatively high unemployment rate and foreclosures.  It's not always fun-in-the-sun in South Florida. I spent 4 years in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota, and a lot of people seemed to think everyone in South Florida was rich. I told them and others from elsewhere over the years that there is a lot of money here, but most of us get paid, in part, in sunshine.  But sunshine doesn't pay the bills for me. Bad business practices just add to the cost of living.
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#5 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Joseph Brown - (USA)

 I posted once before that the BBB is a rating service. They can't do anything to the company being complained about. The woman whose husband that had worked for the BBB should have known this.
I had a transmission shop several years ago and got one complaint out of hundreds of jobs. The letter from the BBB didn't say who filed the complaint(good move) nor really what the complaint was for. Along with my company name were quite a few others, some with more than one complaint.

On another note, after reading here for quite sometime, I wonder if all companies in Florida are crooked, followed in second place by California or Arizona.
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