Your experiences with the BBB

Have you ever filed a complaint? If so, how did it turn out?

Do you check with them before using/buying from a company?

If you had a bad experience with a company, but need no action to take place, should you file a complaint (as a warning to others?)

I have never really looked at them before. My understanding is they do not have any authority, so I have never filed a complaint. I just had a bad experience with a company and when I looked them up I found that the BBB gave them an F grade (so maybe I’ll check with them in the future.) I don’t think I need any help from the BBB, but have wondered if I should file a complaint to help add to the history that is already there.

Last year we replaced the roof, siding, windows, and gutters on our house, plus had a paint job on the trim. I didn’t want to have to get multiple bids for each component- just getting three for the whole job was painful enough- so I went to the local BBB’s web page to look up contractors that would do all of these things. I found one that had an unacceptable rating and removed them from consideration. Another, which came recommended by a friend, had had six complaints against it within the past three years, but BBB said all had been resolved. I found two others who had no complaints listed. I got bids from the latter three.

Because it always seems to work this way, the bid from the six-complaint company was half of the bids from the other two (low $20K’s vs. high $40K’s). I was nervous about the six complaints, and about the used-car-salesman-y vibe we got from their guy, but for that kind of price difference, I went with them.

The windows didn’t pass the city’s inspection. It’s been 10 and a half months and they’re still dragging their feet on correcting the problem. (Not that we have anything planned, but we can’t do any renovation work on the house that would require a city permit until the issue is resolved.) I won’t go further into the whole saga here, but basically, I learned that being part of the BBB does not automatically mean that your job will be done well or that problems will be addressed quickly or correctly. It does provide at least some legitamacy, in that one would suppose that a business that doesn’t much care about shoddy work would theoretically avoid listing itself. And, for us, it did steer us clear of crappy contractor. But, all a business has to do is sign up and pay the dues- there’s no real qualifying process. I think it’s like the Christian fish thing- some businesses take it seriously as a statement of values and ethics, while some just use it as marketing in the hopes that you’ll think of them as the other kind.

I’ll be very interested to hear if anyone has gone through the BBB’s dispute resolution process with a business and how it went.

In my experience, threatening to report a company to the BBB will only get you a hearty belly-laugh from the business owner.

The BBB is there FOR businesses. It is funded BY businesses. And it has a completely pro-business and anti-consumer attitude.

Both times I followed through on complaints about a sleazy business, the BBB NEVER allowed the truth (which was that the complaint was unresolved/ignored by the business) to be seen on their website.

Even after I took one to small claims court and WON, the BBB’s website still claimed that the business had a good reputation with “no unresolved complaints”. Total. Bullshit.


50/50. Sprint pulled a dick move on me, I contacted the BBB, and we resolved it the way I thought we should.

Second time I got ripped off by some scam artist moving company, filed a complaint, and the company pretty much said, “Yeah, we violated our contract. So what?” The BBB can’t actually do anything. This company, R1 Moving & Storage, has an F with the BBB and this matters not. They’ve also had numerous complaints filed with the FMCSA, and nothing happens. They basically steal your money and/or property. It’s a great business model! Why these people haven’t been shut down is beyond me.

As a business owner I was contacted once by the BBB. The complaint was groundless, the customer a nut, and a full refund was given just so I’d never have to talk to the guy again. After he had his refund he filed a complaint.

When the BBB contacted me, they wanted to sit down, investigate, discuss. I told them the guy was a loon. They disapproved of my opinion and wanted to meet with me. I told them to go away and hung up on them.

I had a problem with Logitech that only filing a BBB complaint seemed to get their attention on.

I basically used the online system of some U.S. state branch, and never really interacted with a real person. My my complaint kept getting flipped to something like “Closed due to customer inactivity”, which was super-annoying 'cause if the company says they’ll do something in 2 weeks, how am I supposed to resolve my complaint within 1 week?

(In the end I did get the refund, but other than the initial notification, I didn’t think much of the BBB, or at least that branch of it in particular.).

They’re the United Nations of business. They have absolutely no teeth and are only around to annoy people. Every single BBB complaint against my company has been dismissed as groundless. That’s not the actual word they use - it’s a little nicer to the complainant - but I forget what it is. And yet, we have a C rating because I won’t tell them how long we’ve been in business or our sales or employee count. Screw you, united nations of business.

For the record, our credit card chargebacks run the gamut from fraudulent charges we didn’t catch and have no choice but to take a loss on to weird crazy people who are out of their mind. For some reason, people who write to the BBB are always the absolute craziest customers and have never once also filed a charge back, even when they could have. I mean, they’re always out of their fucking minds, but technically they could file a credit card charge back in addition to whining to the BBB. I don`t know what makes them think the BBB will be more successful at arguing their grievances than Visa.

Ha! I suppose I qualify then! :slight_smile:

Ha! For what it’s worth, I was trying to speak exclusively to the pool of customers who’ve complained about my business.

The BBB is a sleazy boiler room telemarketing operation. They shake down businesses and do nothing for the consumer. The fact that they use the word “bureau” in their name in an effort to convey that they are some part of the government is reprehensible. When they call my business, I tell them that if they ever mention me, I will sue them within an inch of their life, and to never call again.

:slight_smile: I knew, I was making a small joke at my expense.

Agreed. Same here. BBB was as worthless as the UN. I had to go to court to get satisfaction. (And don’t get me started on *that *Bullshit process!)

Interesting that posters representing both consumer and business viewpoints hold the BBB in contempt.

From the consumer end, my personal experience supports the view that the BBB is a public relations entity designed to make it seem that businesses are policing themselves - yet does little to mediate complaints and next to nothing to discipline problem businesses and warn consumers about them.

As an alternative, there are resources like Angie’s List and other online ratings sites, and entities like the consumer protection division of the Attorney General’s office in many states. You’re even better off in a dispute just having a local attorney write an ominous letter for you.

The BBB is a waste of consumers’ time.

My only interaction with the BBB was also instigated by a loon. All of my communication with them was through faxes. They sent me his complaint, I faxed a response, copies of his invoice, on which my return policy is printed…it took weeks, and in the middle the BBB staffer assigned to my case quit. Ultimately what showed up on their website was “Merchant made good faith effort to satisfy customer”. I just looked and I have a “B” rating and am not “accredited” which simply means I didn’t respond to any of their 600 invitations to give them a pile of money for which I would receive no goods or services.

My pet nutbag DID file a chargeback, which VISA reversed, then he appealed and was denied again. He also tried to have me ejected from a trade association and my professional certification revoked. If you search his name in Google most of the results are his scathing (typed in all caps) reviews of local restaurants.

I looked up moving companies on their website to filter out ones with large numbers of complaints, I found one that had a couple over a couple of years (vs a couple every fortnight) and they were great.

A few years ago, I interviewed with a real estate company. Aced the interview, the boss loved me to death, as well as the office staff. They offered me an opening salary, but I managed to get her to raise it to something I wanted. Yay me!

This was the week before Christmas, and this company was giving away Blackberry devices with free phone service for all office staff, but the offer expired at the end of the year. The boss lady told me to sign up for the plan since I easily had the job. Got the forms, filled 'em out, then a week later I got the phone. Woo! Free phone!

Then Boss Lady calls me back and says I can’t be hired at the dollar amount she agreed to. Her counter offer was less than I was making previously, so I declined. I asked the Office Manager how do I return the phone and cancel the service. She told me how and I did it. I didn’t like the Blackberry anyway.

Two months later, I get a bill from Sprint saying I owed them money. I called them and explained the situation and they put me in touch with the regional representative who had the account with the real estate company. Nice lady, very pleasant, told me she understood the situation and would take care of it. She said she could view my account on her puter and saw I had cancelled the service and returned the phone.

Get another bill the next month. Call the Regional Rep back and explain again. She apologizes and is confused about why this didn’t get taken care of and promises she will take care of it.

Get another bill the next month. Call the rep back and we do the tango again.

This goes on for six months. The last bill I received included the little pink letter saying "pay up or this will affect your credit record, cancel your service, etc. Now the Regional rep no longer takes my calls. All I get is voicemail.

Now, I didn’t have the best credit rating then, but I had been working to fix it and raise my score. I didn’t need some BS like this to hurt me. So I went to the BBB website, told my story and asked for nothing in return, just to take this account off my history since I never used it in the first place.

Within 2 days, I received an email from BBB confirming they were on the case. The day after that, I got a call from the phone rep apologizing for the error and she would fix it.

Never heard anything after that. The debt hasn’t shown up on my credit report, and I never had to pay the bill. So, IME, the BBB did it’s job. Protect the consumer against fraudulent business practice (or in this case, accounting errors, I guess).

I posted a complaint 12 weeks ago re a company which overcharged me by about $300 (based on quotes from other companies) for repairs to my home heating system. I got a nice printout echoing my complaint and a case number along with a statement at the bottom saying I should expect a response from BBB in 5 to 6 weeks. So far nothing has happened. I complained to the company directly initially and was told that they get to set their prices and were unwilling to do anything about my complaint. So far, BBB looks like a stealth advertising agency rather than a consumer protection agency.

Huh? The company quoted a figure, you agreed. If every company quoted the same fee, I’d wonder about price fixing. My business charges a fee for services. Some of my fees are more than my competitors, some are less.:confused:

They apparently do their “job” occasionally. We received a complaint from the BBB on behalf of a customer. He had ordered a product from us, the product is one that we make “on demand” so it took a week or so to ship it. We don’t charge their card until we ship. So we made his product, billed him, shipped it, and e-mailed him the tracking number.

So what’s the complaint? Apparently the guy had given us a debit card number, and he assumed we took his money at the time he submitted the order. When we charged him ~$200 a week later, he didn’t have that much money in his account and his bank charged him overdraft fees.

We responded to the BBB complaint with those facts and they marked the case as satisfactorily resolved.

So if they are a scam, they at least do their job sometimes.

Yes, I know this is a zombie.

But I need to bitch some more about the BBB because I feel like it, and it is apparently not clear to everyone (wasn’t to me anyway, once upon a time) that they can’t actually *do *shit. They are not an Official Agency with any real authority. They’re supposed to be peace brokers, but if one party doesn’t want to make nice, that’s all there is to it. They cannot actually protect consumers from fraud. Companies will at times come up with an amicable resolution, not wanting numerous BBB complaints sullying their record, but some companies are scummy ass bullshit, honestly do not care about your complaints, and will take whatever money they can for as long as they can and will run with it.

Say what you will of ufo’s post, but the BBB is just a big ass advertising agency, really. BBB ratings can be a loose measure of how smoothly things are run, but you can buy good press with them and they have zero authority.