Is the BBB what you think it is?
The Better Business Bureau has to be one of the most misunderstood and overpromoted entities in the US. The perception of it is that it is an advocate for the consumer, and that it has some power to do something about it if a business is not honorable. Both of those perceptions are false.
The BBB polices ONLY member businesses. Those businesses PAY for membership. So the BBB is in the position of judging those who pay for the existence of the BBB. How harsh do you think they will be?
If a business has complaints, and they resolve those complaints, they are typically not reported any longer. For every customer who complains, there are usually 3-5 more who do not complain, who have received unacceptable service.
The BBB does not allow certain types of businesses to join, even if they are honest.
Most businesses that are NOT honest never join, so the BBB does not keep records on them.
The majority of businesses that ARE honest do not join either, so the BBB will not have records on them either. And not joining is no reflection on the integrity of the business.
The BBB has NO regulatory authority over anything. They are NOT a government entity. They are not a consumer protection agency of any sort. They are merely a business association, of member businesses, which reports some statistics about their members with the primary agenda of promoting their business members interests (profits).
People suggest that you check out a business with the BBB before doing business with them, but frankly, this will rarely give you any information of real value. Include it in your evaluation if you like, but don't take their word as the last word on the subject. Make sure you do a few net searches, and check with other entities as well.
We are not neutral in our opinion as regards the BBB primarily because of the sales and marketing tactics the BBB uses to gain new members. They junk mail us and cold call us. They infer that some inquiry has been received and they want to know more about us. They infer that our business relations will improve with our customers if we join their ranks (for hundreds of dollars a year in membership fees of course). They imply that if we are not members that consumers will get more negative feedback from them. I have noticed that members get a "satisfactory" rating from them if they have no unresolved consumer complaints but nonmembers only receive a "neutral" report with no complaints.
The BBB is NOT interested in woking for the consumer. In fact they have a confict of interest as their primary function is to promote the needs of the member businesses by representing themselves as a consumer protection agency to the public. The BBB is a fraud in our opinion because of this subtle misrepresentation of what they really are. If they did not falsly misrepresent themselves in this manner to the public, they would have nothing to sell to their business members.