I received this from one of my accreditation directors today … perhaps you’ve wondered something similar:
“I've been hearing from previous members that are upset that their grade lowered after they cancelled, that we are a scam company that is forcing companies into joining to get a higher grade.
What I've been explaining to them is that Accreditation is earned, not given away, and since companies are evaluated, approved, and have committed to our standards, that we give additional points that go into the letter grade. For some people this is enough, but for others I can't get past it. Sometimes what they tell me makes sense to me too, that they are in essence paying for a higher grade, even though they are earning it, but we still take their money, etc...
I want to pick your brain on what you would say to these companies that are upset.”
I do hear it all the time, and in fact, it was one of the greatest debates in BBB history. I agree with where we landed. We believe there is value in accreditation and that value should be reflected in a grade.
There are many companies that would love to pay us for a higher grade, but we won’t let them. We keep them out or we kick them out because they are not meeting our standards. Committing to those standards and adhering to those standards makes a company more valuable to a consumer in the eyes of the BBB. That is our opinion, the BBB is entitled to an opinion, and we are entitled to share that opinion. It is our opinion that a consumer is safer doing business with a company that has committed to binding arbitration. When they are accredited with the BBB, we provide that service free of charge to the consumer. It is our opinion that this service should have value to the consumer, and should appropriately be reflected in the company’s grade.
If you are not accredited, you are not committing to providing this level of service through us. In fact, we cannot be ensured that you would provide this level of service at all, let alone free to the consumer. Thus, your level of service and commitment to the consumer falls slightly below that of another business that is willing to commit to this level of standards compliance, evaluation and dispute resolution. It does cost money to have these services from a third party, and committed companies step up to fund that additional service. There is where the significant amount of assurance comes from in the BBB brand. That is why consumers trust it. And that is why we only allow companies to use the brand that have earned our confidence and will continue to earn that trust. Not supporting that added level of service does not make you a bad company in the BBB’s eyes. But it also does not make you as good as the companies who do. And that is the BBB’s opinion.