Legitimacy of Better Business Bureau Ratings?

I’ve trusted Better Business Bureau reviews over the years and have even filed business complaints with them. That has all changed.

Recently I received a series of letters from American Home Protect LLC out of Plano, Texas, letting me know my home warranty could expire soon (never had one), and “failing to call and prevent a potential lapse of coverage could result in [me] being liable for all costs associated with home repairs.” A subsequent letter had “Second Notice” on the envelope with a pink letter inside in a lame attempt to intimidate me into signing up for their homeowner’s warranty.

While I could fit into the “elderly” category, I wasn’t born yesterday. Without regard to the legitimacy of their actual warranty coverage, their shady sales tactic would certainly affect others, who might take their warning of a presumed expiring warranty seriously, and sign up.

Checking the Better Business Bureau’s website I found 174 complaints had been closed on this company in the last 3 years, 52 of which were in the last year. The overall customer rating was 1.04 / 5.0. I was shocked then to see the BBB had awarded them an A+ rating. Their disclaimer is that customer reviews are not used in the calculation of BBB ratings. The BBB and I, then, have different standards, which is reason enough for me to never again refer to a BBB report.

I believe BBB ratings are based on what the company does in response to complaints. If they promise not to send any more mailings to the complainant then they probably remain in good standing with the BBB. Or if you have a complaint about a product and have gotten nowhere then complain to the BBB and the result is a new product, refund or whatever then the company has met its obligations. On the other hand if they don’t respond to the BBB that will land then at the bottom of the heap.

I’ve heard for years that getting acceptable BBB ratings isn’t an especially high bar to clear. It’s basically a “business” based operation, rather than a “consumer” based one. They tend to grade on a pretty forgiving curve.

That has finally become apparent to me. Thanks for the clarification. Just looking at the customer reviews on American Home Products should raise a red flag. There is one 10-month old BBB alert for this company for failing to respond to their inquiry concerning marketing materials. Could very well be similar to the “sky is falling” materials I received from them in the mail.

Companies literally purchase a membership in the BBB. And the BBB pretty much does nothing about complaints.