For some reason, many people misunderstand what the BBB is. They don’t realize it’s a nonprofit and instead believe that it’s a government institution of some sort.
So let’s make this very, very clear: the Better Business Bureau is not a government organization. It isn’t affiliated with the government. It has no legal power. It’s just a nonprofit.
Sure, the “Bureau” part of Better Business Bureau is a little misleading. But we promise you, the BBB is not part of the government.
That means that the BBB has no real power. Reporting a business to the BBB doesn’t do anything, except maybe change its BBB rating. Seeing that a business has BBB accreditation doesn’t mean anything, except that it jumped through some hoops and paid some money to get that accreditation (more on why in just a minute).
Yes, those hoops include making sure the business isn't in trouble with the government and that it doesn't have too many outstanding consumer complaints, but that's not the same as making sure it's an honest, ethical business.
Heck, even a business’s BBB rating may not mean much. While ratings are supposed to reflect everything from licensing issues to government action to consumer complaints, there are plenty of examples of bad businesses and organizations getting A ratings, perhaps because they paid enough money.
In other words, BBB grades may have nothing to do with actual business practices and everything to do with how much a business paid the BBB.
And speaking of money, let’s talk about BBB accreditation for a minute.