“Why are companies with so many complaints still ‘accredited’ by the Better Business Bureau?”

“Why are companies with so many complaints still ‘accredited’ by the Better Business Bureau?”


I was considering hiring a marketing company that emailed me. Their email says “a *BBB-accredited business*. I looked at bbb.org and found the company. It says they’re accredited but there are lots of complaints posted there. So many that I won’t be hiring them after all.

Why does the Better Business Bureau say some companies are accredited, and that others are not?


I haven’t written about the Better Business Bureau in quite awhile but I’m happy to do so again.

According to bbb.org:

The BBB Seal, it’s The Sign of a Better Business℠
In a market saturated with companies vying for customers, BBB Accreditation gives consumers confidence that they’re dealing with an ethical and vetted business. Apply for BBB Accreditation and show customers that your company operates honestly and with integrity.

I can tell you that having a company being listed as “accredited” with the Better Business Bureau does NOT mean they all operate honestly and with integrity.

And, what does the BBB mean by “vetted?” Did you know businesses have to pay for that accreditation?

Again, according to bbb.org:

“BBB accredited businesses pay a fee for accreditation review and monitoring for continued compliance and for support of BBB services to the public.”


“BBB accreditation does not mean that the business’s products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business’ product quality or competency in performing services. Businesses are under no obligation to seek BBB accreditation, and some businesses are not accredited because they have not sought BBB accreditation.”

I wonder how many companies have paid the BBB for accreditation…but that were then not accredited by the BBB. I’m betting not many…or any. I’m thinking “member” would be a better descriptive word than “accredited.”

I have been contacted many times by the BBB over the years. They keep wanting me to join their ridiculous program. It feels like a shakedown. Pay to be listed as accredited…or your listing says you are NOT accredited. I refuse to pay a company makes bad and even horrible companies look good by giving them an A+ rating when they are clearly ripping people off.

I prefer to let our reputation speak for itself. Incidentally, we also have an A+ rating on bbb.org.

So, what does that A+ part mean? You’ll find many companies with A+ ratings that have dozens or even hundreds of negative reviews and complaints posted about them on bbb.org. So, why do they still have an A+ rating? A company only needs to post a response to all of the complaints to get an A+ rating. Even if your response does not help the angry customer, and even if you insult the customer in your response, it’s still a RESPONSE.

Here an example:

Author Solutions is what we call an author meat market. They have many different company names, including AuthorHouse, Balboa Press, Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford, WordClay, Palibrio, Booktango, and others. Author Solutions is in partnership with Archway Publishing, LifeRich Publishing, GABAL, Partridge, and Alliant Press.

Author Solutions has 1.27 out of 5 starts on bbb.org. Yet, they still have an A+ Rating!

Check this out:

184 complaints in just the past 3 years


NUMEROUS one-star reviews

Notice that Author Solutions responded to every complaint. That’s why they have an A+ Rating at the BBB. You can read many customers’ responses to Author Solutions messages under the complaints and you can see how many of them are still angry. But, since Author Solutions responded to the initial complaints, they still have their A+ rating, which is ridiculous.

The Better Business Bureau should change the way they give alphabet ratings. But, they won’t. They’ve been doing it that way for years.

Here’s another problem. If a company moves, their BBB profile gets wiped and they get a brand new one. That means people can’t see the complaints previously posted about that organization.

Also, they don’t take into account different divisions of companies. For example, you can’t find “Amazon KDP” on bbb.org because all of the reviews fall under the name “Amazon.” So, good luck finding out about problems authors are having at Amazon KDP amongst all the complaints from people who weren’t happy with whatever product they ordered from Amazon.

Don’t worry, though. We’ve already researched specific complaints about Amazon KDP for you.

In my opinion, the Better Business Bureau is NOT on the side of the consumer. As long as a company either pays their fees, and/or follows their instructions for responding to every complaint, the company gets far more benefit from that website than consumers do.

Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.

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Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.