We do not pay to participate in the ratings system from the BBB. We believe in solving issues directly with our customers and will try our best to always do so.
Here's how the BBB ratings machine works: The BBB rates companies ranging from small town plumbers to Wall Street banks. Many businesses are paying members -- which the BBB relies on for the majority of its revenue. In 2013, the organization's revenue totaled nearly $200 million among all of its bureaus, according to tax forms analyzed by CNNMoney.
To become BBB "accredited," it can cost anywhere from hundreds to more than $10,000 in membership fees each year.
Let's clarify what the BBB is –and what it isn’t. In local Yellow Pages around the country, BBB affiliates are often listed under the category of “Government Offices.” Understandably, many consumers assume the BBB is an official government agency. But this isn’t the case. The BBB itself acknowledges the misperception on its blog, noting “We are not a government agency” as one of five facts consumers didn’t know about the BBB.
Another of these little-known facts about the BBB: “We are not a consumer watchdog.” While the BBB offers consumers many services—lists of popular scams to watch out for and such—the organization’s mission isn’t to have your back. From top to bottom, the BBB is funded by the annual dues paid by businesses it anoints with “accreditation,” which allows the companies to put those iconic BBB stamps of approval on their storefronts and websites. This fact raises obvious questions about an inherent conflict of interest: The organization’s customers are businesses, not taxpayers or consumers. How can the BBB serve as an honest broker between businesses and consumers when it is fully funded by one of these parties? Many argue that it cannot — that there’s a natural incentive to paint its paying clients in the best possible light.