Has the Better Business Bureau become Irrelevant?

The story of the Better Business Bureau which was named in 1921, was born even before that, in an environment in which government entities were overzealous in their prosecution of companies, including Coca-Cola based on new laws of the time.  Despite the facts or lack thereof these unwarranted pursuits were damaging to a company and the groundswell for self-governance and protection grew.

20th Century Relevance

Throughout the 20th century, the BBB became relevant, and almost a gospel resource for the gauge as to the reliability and quality of a business.  Today with the strength of technology, the BBB has perhaps lagged in maintaining its crown as the pre-eminent source of business information.  Currently divided into “106 independently incorporated local BBB organizations,” one might ask if an organization with that many moving parts can ensure that each location holds up the standards of the BBB.  In that regard, there have been recent reports and accusations of inconsistency within the local organizations.

Modern Decline

Better Business Bureau AMP Payment Systems

Better Business Bureau AMP Payment Systems

A story from 20/20 in 2010 found that paying the annual registration fee lead to an increase in rating for shell businesses.  Based on the BBB itself, one of the factors that comes into in the rating play is whether the company is BBB accredited which can only be accomplished by meeting their requirements and paying the registration fee.  Many business owners know that the Better Business Bureau will aggressively pursue a business for registration and accreditation of their own business.  This happens while the BBB also reduces the ratings of other businesses and organizations that market their services in a very similar manner.

Does the Better Business Bureau have a significant role to play in the business community anow and into the future? Most certainly, but perhaps that role may evolve and adapt to today’s environment.  In the modern world it may be worth wondering if such a large and potentially fractured systems should still be the source of reliable information for major business decisions.

And for business owners, to consider how their business may be impacted by incorrectly negative BBB ratings?

Is it possible that the structure of the BBB has become Irrelevant?

Just some food for thought…


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