The BBB Has a Serious Racket Going


It never fails – more often than not, after a bad customer service experience, the aggrieved party will threaten to call the BBB on the company, or a friend gives them the advice to report the company to the BBB. And I think back in the olden days before social media and crowd sourcing – they may have not sounded like such an empty threat. But now? It just doesn’t strike fear into the heart of this marketer.

When was the last time you checked the BBB for a review on a product or service before you purchased? If you are under the age of 40ish, I’m going to guess the answer is “never.”  You may have checked Yelp, or did a quick Google search or checked the review on Amazon, but the BBB? Never. And yet, I hear people, even my own age offer the BBB as a potential effective recourse.


I think there’s a mistaken belief that the BBB is some sort of government or regulatory agency, with the power to shutter a business or issue sanctions. When in reality, from what I understand – it’s just a proto-Yelp. A proto-Yelp that a business owner needs to pay for for an accredition.

Now, that doesn’t mean a business shouldn’t be concerned at all about their ranking. No one wants negative press about their company, and you should strive for positive reviews in all consumer-accessible media. And given the knee-jerk reaction to call on the BBB for help, I think a BBB logo on the website counts towards respectability. But as a consumer, if you really want to get your point across that you mean business and want the world to know – don’t invoke the BBB. It just makes you look out of touch.

I’d love to hear some counterpoints on why the BBB is still a relevant avenue for consumer complaints, or why retailers should care!