When you’re trying to determine whether or not a business is reputable, where is the first place you turn? Maybe the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? After doing some research, we’re left wondering if the reviews and ratings doled out by the BBB are really as trustworthy as they seem.
How It Works
Whether a business is registered with the BBB or not, it can receive ratings and reviews through the organization. Ratings for businesses are determined not solely based on the number of complaints they receive, but rather whether or not a business has tried in good faith to resolve these complaints. This means a business with thousands of complaints can rate higher than a business with very few, just because the BBB can track the first business’ attempts to find a resolution, regardless of whether one is ever actually reached.
Some Things to Know
First off, did you know that the BBB is not affiliated with the government in any way? The BBB is funded by the dues companies pay when they register with them, which means it’s in the BBB’s best interest to keep these companies happy so they keep paying their dues. This becomes problematic in that the businesses registered on the site are ultimately the customers of the BBB, not the consumers who seek the information they provide to find a reputable business to patron.
So, Can You Trust BBB Reviews?
In short, no. Anyone can create a profile (or several profiles for that matter) online and use it to write scathing reviews about a company they don’t like, or one that they might be in competition with. Businesses registered with the BBB tend to rate higher, regardless of the number of complaints lodged against them, making it difficult to really get a good picture of the business based on these reviews and ratings alone.
Rather than putting all of your faith in the BBB, it’s a good idea to do further research in order to paint a clear picture of any given business, good or bad, prior to doing business with them.