DON'T RELY ON THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU: BBB exists solely to feed itself off the member dues it extracts from businesses
DON'T RELY ON THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
Like most people, we thought that the Better Business Bureau was the first place we should check when researching for company reliability. We found out the hard way that the BBB does not necessarily tell researching consumers about complaints they have on file.
We were house shopping in 2000. We'd owned two new homes in the past and wanted to buy a home again. I was just starting to use the internet and did some research on the builders in the area we were moving to. I also called the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB told me that they had no complaints on the builder we were considering. They did not say anything about a rating system or a pattern of misbehavior, or how many constitutes a patternthey said they had NO COMPLAINTS. Not having found anything else to suggest this builder was bad, we went ahead and purchased from the builder. From all appearances, the home looked just fine. But soon, we noticed signs of serious problems. The reports of several engineers and other experts soon confirmed what we suspected, that the home had major problems as a result of builder errors. Some of the critical materials in our roof and foundation had been outright omitted. Our home may not even be salvageable.
One of the places we filed a complaint when the builder and warranty company refused to honor their contractual obligations was the BBB. For weeks afterwards, I called the BBB's automated system to see if our complaint was on it yet. Nothing. When I asked a live person on the phone at the BBB why this was so, she became very nervous and said someone would call me back. No one ever did. Finally, I wrote to the BBB and asked why our complaint wasn't there. I also wrote to the CBBB. The response I got, (image attached), stated in writing why you should never rely on the BBB. They do not make complaints publicly available! If the BBB had made complaints available, as the most of the general public still believes they do, we might've averted a new home nightmare. I find it very hard to believe that not one of those other complaints wasn't already on file when we'd been researching just a few short months before. I have talked with customers of this builder, who say they filed their complaint before we bought.
In our case, the BBB also falsely claimed that we had gone to arbitration with our builder or warranty company and closed our file. We have NEVER gone to arbitration, and never will; the terms of our loan do not allow it to be forced upon us. The BBB simply could not wait to close our file, even if the criteria they used to close it was fabricated by their own organization.
Some BBB's claim to run a ratings system where an undetermined number of complaints will change a company's rating from good to bad. But what is that number? How many people have to get burnt by the BBB cooperating with bad businesses? The BBB protects its dues paying members, and the public continues to think the BBB is a consumer organization with which they can research company reliability or even get some kind of dispute resolution.
In our battle to get our defective new home repaired or replaced, I've done quite a bit of research and contacted others with bad builder/illusory warranty issues. I've become a representative for Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings, ( www.hadd.com ), which is a non profit homeowners advocacy organization. Over and over, the others in this situation tell me that they were deceived by the BBB. And over and over, I see people who don't yet know better, tell them to contact the BBB.
I have repeatedly had consumer websites that say check with the BBB/complain to the BBB publicly, then tell me PRIVATELY that no one should rely on the BBB. Filing with the BBB has become a useless formality, another obstacle, for consumers. The BBB exists solely to feed itself on the member dues it extracts from businesses. It appears the BBB has no intention of helping consumers in any way.
representative for Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings
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!