BBB Hands Out Grades and Not All Businesses Pass With Flying Colors

February 18, 2009
If you have kids in school, you know how a report card can be a time bomb in a small envelope. Perhaps your child’s report card makes you beam with pride over a long list of A’s. Maybe you offer encouragement to do better in classes where they have gotten C’s. Or, in the case of the D’s or F’s, you dole out a stern lecture and an indefinite grounding sentence.

Imagine though if your child’s teacher only gave a pass or fail grade. If your son failed English, does that mean he’s dyslexic? If your daughter passed math, does that mean she should skip grade school and head to an Ivy League university? A simple pass/fail just doesn’t provide as much detail as a letter grade.

Reporting on the reliability of businesses is similar and your BBB is now passing out grades to area companies to help consumers more easily identify which companies can head to the front of the class and which need some time in study hall.

In the past, BBB Reliability Reports™ only stated whether a business had a “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” record — a fairly black and white assessment in a marketplace of gray. An outfit that is scamming consumers would of course have an unsatisfactory record, but so could a legitimate company that was delivering on the promised goods, but was taking too long to process rebates.

Because a simple pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory just did not provide enough information, our new BBB Reliability Reports™ now include a letter grade — from A+ down to F. These new grades better represent the BBB’s degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns.

BBB ratings are different from many consumer review sites. BBB ratings are based on standards and developed using objective information and actual incidences of a business’ behavior that are verified and evaluated by BBB professionals.

The new letter-grade ratings system provides a way for consumers to more easily understand a company’s track record for customer service and integrity. A parent won’t be as thrilled if their child merely “passes” science as opposed to getting a glowing A+. Nor does a “fail” give the parent a clear picture of just how badly their child might be at dissecting a frog. In the same way, the new ratings are an even better way for BBB to point consumers toward trustworthy businesses, and more clearly communicate exactly why some companies in the area don’t make the grade. 

Both BBB Accredited Businesses, as well as nonaccredited businesses in BBB’s database, have been given a letter grade. And now that your BBB is using letter- grades, we should warn you: Not all businesses in our area passed with flying colors, in fact, some should probably be sent to the principal’s office. That’s why BBB is recommending that before making a purchasing decision, consumers should check out reliability reports online to ensure that the business can be trusted.

Start With Trust. To find businesses you can trust, visit www.wynco.bbb. org or call 470-484-1348 or 800-564-0371.