Why your business doesn’t need the Better Business Bureau

Before I dive too deeply into this issue, I’d like to start with a few facts that most people don’t realize:

  1. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a private organization unaffiliated with any Government or public agency.
  2. The BBB’s accreditation process is a sham — it consists of a business providing the BBB with a credit card number and the BBB billing annually for the privilege of being able to use the BBB Accreditation seal in the company’s marketing material.
  3. When businesses lose their accreditation, it generally means that they simply decided to stop paying their bill.
  4. The BBB does not engage in any sort of process to protect consumers or their interests, they earn their money by essentially protecting businesses from consumer complaints.
  5. The rating system is completely and utterly meaningless.

This used to be a BBB accredited business…

In 2007, the firm that would grow up into estound was a young local business —and like so many small businesses, we were working hard to develop credibility in our community.

So when we got a call from the Better Business Bureau about their accreditation process, we listened and signed up soon after. The surprising part was when the BBB rep said that we had an A+ rating.

“How does such a small business with less than a year of operations end up with an A+ rating?”

“You haven’t been reported for any issues,” was the BBB rep’s response.

As a naive first-time business owner, I shrugged it off. This was before the time of ubiquitous online ratings. I soon learned that we did not need the BBB to bring credit to our business.

Putting the “BBB Seal” on your website only means you are paying them to use the seal, and they, in turn, keep your record clean. If you have hundreds of complaints, you’ll still show a good rating if you are paying them. If you are an honest and reliable company that doesn’t receive complaints, then there is no need to pay the BBB. You will stay with your A+ rating and save some money. And anyways, consumers are more likely to look at Yelp or Google for reviews anymore. It would be well worth the time to focus your time and efforts there.