Arlington, VA, March 26, 2007 – Eastman Kodak Company has advised the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) that it is resigning its national membership in the wake of expulsion proceedings initiated by the CBBB Board of Directors.
Kodak has refused, for many months, to accept or respond to consumer complaints presented to the company by the Better Business Bureau in its headquarters market.
“Every member of the BBB system is required to make a good faith effort to resolve consumer complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. To do otherwise, is to abdicate their commitment to helping advance trust in the consumer marketplace, the key focus of the BBB,” said Steve Cole, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
In 2006, Kodak notified the BBB of Upstate New York that it would no longer accept or respond to complaints submitted by the BBB. Whereas, in years prior, Kodak had responded to BBB complaints by offering an adjustment to the consumer or an explanation of the company’s position.
David Polino, the president and CEO of the BBB serving Upstate New York, said, “Assisting businesses to resolve customer disputes is a core BBB service. The BBB has repeatedly expressed our desire to work with Kodak to help turn dissatisfied customers into satisfied customers.”
The Upstate New York BBB file contains complaints from consumers who report problems related to repairs of Kodak digital cameras, as well as difficulty in communicating with Kodak customer service. Consumers report that their cameras broke and they were charged for repairs when the failure was not the result of any damage or abuse. Some consumers advised the BBB that their cameras failed again after the repaired product was returned to them.
The CBBB Executive Committee voted in December 2006 to begin membership termination proceedings. CBBB Bylaws provide for expulsion “for conduct inimical to the objectives and purposes of the Council and its members.” Under CBBB procedures, a special committee would have held a hearing and made recommendations to the CBBB Board regarding termination. Kodak was advised that it could participate in the process and contest the termination; the company chose instead to resign its membership in the CBBB.
Kodak was a founding member of the CBBB, which was established in 1971 to serve as the umbrella organization for BBBs throughout the United States. In 1973, Kodak became a member of the BBB in Rochester, NY. The company was also a founding sponsor of the BBB’s Internet consumer protection program, BBBOnLine, which was launched in 1996.
“Eastman Kodak’s resignation marks the end of many decades of strong support for the mission and ideals of the BBB system. We look forward to the day when Kodak decides to resume a leadership role in promoting a trustworthy marketplace,” Cole said.
# # #
The BBB system is dedicated to advancing trust between businesses and consumers in both the traditional and online marketplace. The first BBB was founded in 1912 - today, the BBB system is comprised of 129 local Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) across the US and Canada, and serves millions of consumers, nearly 400,000 small and medium business members, and several hundred national and multi-national corporations based in North America. The BBB system has grown to become the most recognized name and advocate for promoting trust in the marketplace. In support of voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence, the BBB System maintains a database with reports on almost three million businesses and provided more than 100 million instances of service to consumers and businesses in 2006. For more information on the BBB system, visit www.bbb.org.