Yet another BBB pay to play controversy

The Better Business Bureau is being criticized for selling its seal of approval for charitable organizations.

“Just as it was dogged by “pay to play” allegations about its business ratings two years ago, some question whether BBB’s charity ratings really have teeth, and if the up to $15,000 it receives annually from charities that pay to use its seal of accreditation influences its decisions. The questions come as many charities, particularly smaller ones, struggle to raise money as the proportion of people’s incomes devoted to charitable giving remains stagnant.”

The article notes that some charities downgraded by other rating groups for giving only a small percentage of their money to actual charity work, get the BBB’s seal of approval. The BBB’s defense is basically that there’s no connection (ahem) between getting paid the 15 grand and approving a charity, and that they’re not the only ones who charge for a good rating.

Previously, the BBB got slammed for highly rating dubious businesses who’d paid them fees while downgrading other firms that hadn’t forked over cash to the BBB.