Southern California BBB Sold Good Business Ratings

A chapter of the Better Business Bureau has been kicked to the curb after the national organization discovered it was taking money in exchange for better rankings.

The Better Business Bureau‘s motto is: Start With Trust.

It’s supposed to be a reliable opinion on businesses and charities, a place where people who are misled or mistreated can file complaints that consumers can research before shopping. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working that way in Southern California, according to an ABC News investigation.

They found businesses paying for membership received better rankings than those that didn’t. (You don’t have to pay to be listed or ranked by the BBB.) A group claiming to be the terrorist organization Hamas paid a membership fee and got an A- rating, and other business owners claimed they were told to pay for an A.

The chapter initially denied the problem was widespread, but the national office took a look and disagreed. Then the chapter pulled a “You can’t fire me! I quit!” and resigned as a member.

Frankly, we’re disgusted with the actions of Council and we find resignation to be not just the only, but the best, course of action for us,” [chapter chairman Jerry] Dominguez wrote.

They’ll continue to operate under a new name, Business Consumer Alliance. BBB says ratings and standards are not for sale.

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