Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bad Argument: "Don't trust the BBB"

Better Business Bureau logo.
Better Business Bureau logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When a particular suspect scheme did not fare too well in a certain rating, such as rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), supports of this scheme are quick to discredit the rating agency. In case of the BBB, defenders of scheme that got a bad rating from the BBB quickly point to a scandal that rocked the Los Angeles chapter of BBB back in 2010, and tell you that you can't trust the BBB if the company received an F rating. Some will even go as far as claiming that unless you pay for BBB accreditation you cannot get a good grade, thus the company is being extorted.

Unfortunately, this is at best, lie by omission, as they neglect to tell you the following:

  1. What actually happened was BBB gave extra points to those who paid for "accredited member" status (i.e. paid the annual dues). 
  2. This happened in 2010, exposed by ABC news, then immediately corrected
  3. The extra points goes to just ONE of the SIXTEEN different criteria BBB uses to calculate the letter rating for the company
  4. No other chapter of the BBB (there are 108 of them) have been accused of "extortion" through rating. 
  5. Getting accredited by BBB cost about $500, plus another $50 every year

Paying BBB for the "accredited" status will NOT get you an A when you were a F before. It may push you from a B to a B+, but that's it. After the reform, that can't even happen. 

Furthermore, this was ONE of the chapters out of 108. To claim the chapter that covers a particular business is crooked just like the Los Angeles chapter back in 2010... well, is there any evidence that *this* chapter is crooked? No? So why are the supporters so quick to judge the BBB "guilty", yet so quick to ASSUME innocence of their "pet scheme"?

Yet whenever you see a bad rating by the BBB, defenders of the scheme will trot out this argument, and claim you can't trust the BBB rating.

The supporters, of course, won't answer this question, "If it's so easy to fix, just cost a few hundred, why haven't this firm done it already?"

The real answer is simple: because it can't be fixed like that.

But they don't want you to know that. They want to pretend to be the underdog, extortion victim, and all that.

But you know better.

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