BBB Washington State - ScammersBecareful of the Washington State BBB Charges

This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer
Review updated:

We started a new business trying to live the dream. In short, this simply means you're going to get a lot of sales calls. We expected that because we have owned a few businesses in the past.

Enter The Better Business Bureau (BBB Washington State). Until last week, I thought that the Washington BBB was a government-run organization, funded by my tax dollars. I thought that it was a neutral observer of business standards and practices, a place where one could get information on a legitimate business or where one could lodge a formal complaint against a shady one. Just about none of this is true.

The truth is that the Washington BBB is not run by the government, but they do a lot of business with the FTC - at least that's what I hear. They are a non-profit, charity organization known as a 501(c)(3). This means that whatever money you donate to their cause is tax-deductible. The money that you donate is to go into programs and charitable causes. The organization is supposed to report their income, report their board of directors, report about their programs, and so on. This information appears on IRS form 990.

So the Washington BBB calls me (Cold Call). Mind you, this was back when (last week) I thought that they were a legitimate organization. It went something like this:

The "Guy" called and said that he was from the Better Business
Bureau. My ears perked up: I thought either I have already done
something wrong, or that they are a really conscientious
organization interested in how I conduct my affairs.
He said that he wanted to set up an appointment to
visit my business. When I balked, he said that he could just ask
me some questions over the phone. So I said ok.

He asked questions that were already answered on the county DBA filing, so I answered diligently, thinking that he was probably checking up on me to verify if I had been honest on the DBA application. He finished his simple questions (e.g., do you have employees? How long have you been in business? What is the nature of the business ? ), and told me:

It costs $465 a year and that will carry you through June 2006.
We take credit cards or check by phone.

I was floored. The "Guy" cold-called me and thought that I'd
start giving out credit card numbers? Insane. I asked him,
"Excuse me, you can't bill?" He answered, "We do credit cards
or check by phone." Wary of phishing schemes, I told him that
I had no way to know that he was who he claimed to be and that
he would have to give me his information and I would call back
if I was interested.

The problems run deeper. An hour or so after they talked to me,
my business appeared on their web site. The information on the site is the information that I told them over the phone.

They never confirmed that information. Furthermore, they
assigned me a "BBB" rating of a C-. This means, paraphrased, that they have no reason to believe that anyone would have trouble doing business with me. What's curious is that many other local businesses, who are members of the BBB, have "A" or higher ratings. Hmmm. I wonder what my rating would be if I paid for a "membership".

More curious, and again I encourage anyone to look this stuff
up, I checked out the local Wal-Mart: they are a "member" of the BBB. They have had one complaint against them, but it apparently was resolved. So, they have an "AA" rating. I checked out the local Lowe's. They have 14 unresolved complaints against them and have an "F" rating. They are not members of the Washignton BBB. What a joke and Washington bbb scam.

curious, in my estimation, is the number of lodged complaints. These stores are no more than a couple of miles from each other and so have basically the same customer base. I find it impossible to believe that the BBB has only received
one complaint against Wal-Mart and 14 against Lowe's. This makes me suspect that a) the BBB is not recording complaints against their members; b) the BBB is not recording responses from non-members; c) the BBB might be "creating" complaints against non-members. Or some combination of these or others.

Hope this helps a new company and makes them more aware of the Washington BBB Scammers. If I help one business getting starting I have done my job.


  • La
    Laurie Nov 20, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    You just figured that out?

    BBB only wants your Money - the only thing you benefit from is they will not publish most complaints against your business

    They are not unbiased - they protect their dues paying members - shafting the consumer.

    The dues money is more important then being unbiased

    -1 Votes
  • Rm
    R McDonald Jan 23, 2010

    Sounds like someone needs a DA to do some housecleaning.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    jambutler Feb 26, 2010

    Before you rush out the door to buy "Laughing Dog" behavioral cd for your unruly dog, read this-
    First-it doesn't work
    Second-they give you a horrible time if you want a refund
    Third, most importantly they treated my elderly sister worse than a dog over the telephone, screaming into the phone and upsetting her badly.
    I haven't been able to register this complaint with the BBB (they recomended small claims court), Nor with the company "" who sells the cd or anyone for that matter, I am only passed on to another and another...Shame on them all for NOT doing their jobs!

    0 Votes
  • Am
    Amber4504 May 10, 2010

    And, the BBB posts false negative press releases, to non-paying business members by merely taking the "word" of consumers. Please. They are not an investigating firm. An investigating firm looks at BOTH sides and makes an intelligent decision based on facts, not just the word of a customer.

    0 Votes
  • An
    Anti-BBB May 15, 2010

    As a business owner, I think the BBB is a big JOKE! They just want your membership $$$ and once a complaint is filed against your business, they would constantly call your business to help "meditate". I bet after their "mediating", they will ask you to join the BBB and pay them their fees. NO way!! Don't ever join BBB! I don't need the BBB to tell me if I'm doing a good job or not, my REPEAT customers and WORD OF MOUTH speaks volumes.

    0 Votes
  • Ec
    EC in Seattle Jun 29, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    The BBB is not a consumer advocate organization.
    The BBB is a for profit merchants association(even though they may have a tax exempt status with the IRS).
    Their primary function is to promote the business members' interests. The reason the public is confused and misinformed is because the BBB represents themselves as a consumer advocate in advertising and the media in general.
    It is in fact a very clever scam on both the consuming public and naive business owners that are targeted by cold callers for membership dues.

    1 Votes
  • Bi
    Bill Peters Mar 16, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    a complete ripoff------ i am so tired of all these frauds!!!

    0 Votes
  • Be
    Bette-Jo Mar 09, 2016

    Received a voice message stating EMERGENCY CALL, call [protected] regarding your License Key Expiration for your computer. When I called, I asked how they got my number and what was this call about. They said it is for your computer and License Key is expiring. I asked if there was a fee and how much. They were about to transfer my call to someone who would discuss payment options and I said I needed to research this and would call back. Believe it is a scam.

    0 Votes
  • Mi
    michael pelaez May 15, 2018

    Please I want to know about on Line development at Gig Harbor Wa.
    thank you.

    0 Votes
  • Mi
    michael pelaez May 15, 2018

    Please I want to know about On line Development co. at Gig Harbor,
    Is a good place to do business ???? than you.

    0 Votes
  • Fl
    Flamed Jun 14, 2018

    Scam? Heck, the BBB in the Seattle area is a CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION. They extort businesses. They telephone new businesses asking them to join and pay hundreds of dollars per year. If you refuse they post false, spurious comments about your business on their website. Any potential customer who looks up your business sees those comments. And these businesses they give A+ ratings to are businesses who paid the blackmail money to BBB. It doesn't matter how bad these paying members are...they get A+ and you the consumer get fooled. BBB's are GANGSTERS.
    KR - Seattle

    0 Votes

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