• Report:  #3695

Complaint Review: BBB Better Business Bureau - Houston Texas

Reported By:
- Tempe, Arizona,
Fri, October 27, 2000

BBB Better Business Bureau
Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Better Business Bureau
Tell us has your experience with this business or person been good? What's this?
I don't know if anyone has ever noticed but the Houston Better Business Bureau seems to be nothing more than a prepaid advertising scheme. They go through great lengths to portray themselves as a neutral and unbiased source of fair and accurate information by stating the following disclaimer after every phone report and even on the literature they send out: "The Better Business Bureau does not endorse, recommend or disapprove any product, service or company." Yet every time I get literature from them read an article they've written in the local papers, they're always steering you towards various companies who just happen to be members of the BBB.

Now I'm not the brightest person in the world, but when the BBB says they don't recommend any product, service or company and then steers you towards companies who just happen to be members and who, by the way, paid a fee for such membership, it sure looks like recommendation to me.

I even asked them about this and they flat out denied they were recommending, rather they were just giving out information. (On companies who happen to be members.) So basically they were saying to me they don't recommend,then recommend, then deny they just recommended. Now I don't know what you would call it where you come from but where I live we call it plain old fashion lying....and if someone is going to lie to me, at least make it intelligent enough so I don't feel insulted.

I feel the Houston BBB is nothing more than an advanced fee membership scheme whose only goal is to promote the companies who have paid a fee for just that reason. Has anyone else ever noticed this about the BBB either in Houston or in their area? I'm curious if this is an isolated event or if it's as widespread as I think it is.

2 Updates & Rebuttals


The BBB Isn't What You Think It Is

#2UPDATE Employee

Wed, September 17, 2008

The BBB IS a joke! Look, I work at the BBB. I can tell you that while this organization has a admirable cause, you really have to ask yourself what their cause is. The BBB presents themselves to you in the manner that you want to hear. Much like the typical politician. If you are a consumer with a problem, well then they are just the people to call because they look out for you. If you are a business owner they tell you that they are pro-business and founded on the concept of self-regulation. So, how can they be both pro-consumer and pro-business? They can't. They will tell you that the accredited businesses support honesty and integrity in the marketplace and this allows the BBB to educate the consumers. Here's all the stuff they don't tell you. 1. If you become accredited, you INCREASE your chances of having complaints filed against you. Once consumers know of your affiliation they are more likely to file a complaint with the BBB. 2. The BBB keeps complaints on file well PAST the 36 months in contradiction to what they tell you. It just isn't available for consumers to see on the company reliability report. Also, if a complaint is pending it does not show up on the reliability report either. The BBB has NO OBLIGATION to close a complaint. I have seen complaints go unprocessed and left open for years. 3. If you own a business they will tell you how many inquiries you've had or referrals you've had. You are being fed a line of BS. The referral number is the exact same for every accredited business in your category. 4. The system is designed so that if you don't pay the dues you can't get as high of a rating as someone who does. A business really is paying for a rating. Watch out for letter ratings as an A rating simply could mean they are accredited (A for Accredited and not A as in ABCDEF) 5. The BBB claims they resolve 80% of consumer complaints. LIE! What they don't tell you is that the majority are considered 'RESOLVED' because the complaining party didn't respond to the business rebuttal. Often times, email addresses are bad, mail is returned, etc. and no one at the BBB will try to physically contact the complainant to verify their contact information. This is the BBB's way of maintaining their 80% resolution rate. From my experience it is closer to 50%. The BBB banks on the fact that after filing the initial complaint the consumers will drop the ball. Want to know how to tell watch for this language " Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to the BBB." 6. The BBB will go out of their way to make sure their accredited business complaints are closed in a positive manner. This is not done for non-accredited businesses. If a complaint is filed and the non-accredited business is sent an email (email address supplied by the consumer) and the email fails, the complaint is closed as unable to locate. This is a negative for the business. 7. Do you have any idea how many complaints are asked to be re-opened because the BBB closed a complaint and one of the parties wasn't notified? 8. And don't get me started on the sales staff. I have heard them tell business owners the largest bunch of bs I have ever heard. 9. The BBB spends a lot of time trying to figure out how to attract businesses to become accredited to increase their income and pad their own coffers. 10. Accreditation means nothing. Prior to October 2007 these same 'accredited businesses' were members. The BBB just changed the name because they didn't want to reflect that a business can just pay dues to be affiliated with the BBB. 11. Do you think they actually perform background checks. Think again. Company pays their dues to the BBB and they are in. The only time a question will arise is if they see something on the company website they don't like. The BBB accuses honest businesses of being shady even if they have done nothing wrong its just based on a feeling that someone gets. Stay away from the BBB. Consumers should use Angie's List. At least they are funded by consumers. Businesses should join the Chamber

I Agree! The BBB is a SCAM, has been for years!


Sat, March 10, 2001

This email is a rebuttal to RipOff #3695. It was sent by Ethan at [email protected] Houston BBB Better Business Bureau a prepaid advertising scheme (#3695) They filed the following to the above Rip-Off Report: Their email: [email protected] Their name: Ethan Rebuttal: I Agree! The BBB is a SCAM, has been for years! Do YOU know that if you are NOT a member and your company gets a complaint, they will NOT work with you unless you JOIN (Pay a FEE to this "Non-Profit" Org!)!!! If you ARE a member, they basically throw out any complaints that come in. I had a complaint sent in about MY company once..(It was bogus!, sent in by a rival company in my field!) And they flat out TOLD me that if I join they would simply throw it out, and if I did not, they would list the bogus complaint! Yup! There a scam all right!!! EDITORS NOTE: Be sure to read our Rip-off Report investigation at the web address below: Better Business Bureau or Buyer Better Beware? BBB....Nationwide Alert! ... THE FOX GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE http://www.ripoffreport.com/view.asp?id=1343

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