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  1. #1

    Your BBB Record - Important To You?

    I was wondering how many of you believe that your Better Business Bureau record is important?

    Also, if you are not a member - why not?

    I've noticed that some of the more well-known hosting providers have an "unsatisfactory" record (like Midphase and Affordablehost). Maybe they can respond - as to why they would allow that to lapse.

    I have no idea how many people bother to look it up - or even care if their provider has an unsatisfactory rating. Perhaps most people don't know how easy it is to look it up online.

    Me personally, it's about the first thing I try to look up when doing business with someone on the internet for the first time. Both my webhosting provider and domain registrar are members - and it does give me some comfort knowing that I have a third-party method of resolution.

    Those of you who are members of the BBB, what's been your experience? Does it cost much? Why do you believe it's worth the effort? Do you feel that the BBB is generally an ethical organization you trust?

    Steve

  2. #2
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    From what I've seen it's like the BBB is too fragmented, you can have a bad report at say, the Dallas BBB but if you search the San Francisco BBB you won't see that report. Maybe this has changed but if not why bother to worry when as a web host you might have an unhappy customer in Illinois reporting you to something like the Chicago BBB and you're in another state?

    If the BBB were more organized it would matter more (and if it is now more organized and my feelings are outdated then that's cool I might have to look into what the BBB is all about again).
    Gary Harris - the artist formerly known as Dixiesys
    resident grumpy redneck

  3. #3
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    I don't know exactly how the BBB works but in my experience, people only seem to bother reporting businesses to the BBB when they are unhappy with the business.
    ~ Nick

  4. #4
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    We are a member of the Better Business Bureau, including their online and privacy seal programs. You can't be a member without having a satisfactory track record and must agree to independent arbitration. I think that being a member says a lot about a company's commitment to customer service.

    The BBB is spread out across the country, but complaint reports are submitted to the local BBB office; when you pull a report on a company, that report comes from the local office. Although, it may appear fragmented, it certainly isn't; you will always receive accurate information, if any information is available.

    I don't know that being a BBB member helps as much as it should, mainly because most people don't do background checks. It has been our experience that most people will make their own judgements based on what they see and hear.

    I certainly believe that the BBB is an organization that you can trust; I have never come across negative reports that did not have a basis in fact.

    <<Signature to be setup in your profile>>
    Last edited by anon-e-mouse; 05-09-2005 at 09:52 AM.

  5. #5
    From what I've seen it's like the BBB is too fragmented, you can have a bad report at say, the Dallas BBB but if you search the San Francisco BBB you won't see that report. Maybe this has changed but if not why bother to worry when as a web host you might have an unhappy customer in Illinois reporting you to something like the Chicago BBB and you're in another state?
    I always start with their main site - BBB.org

    Most of their local bureaus are linked - and the main site will pull a report from those local BBBs. Mecca's report was easy to get - without knowing where they are located.

    By the way Pete, very impressive:

    This company has been a member of the Better Business Bureau since January 2003. Based on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau. The Bureau has processed no customer complaints on this company in its three-year reporting period.

  6. #6
    I would think that a good BBB record is very important. If big companies come to you for servers/hosting, they usually check BBB to ensure they wont get burned over the weeks/months/years.

  7. #7
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    Representatives of the BBB are always saying it is not-for-profit however someone has to be making a killing on it. I receive too many lying BBB employees contacting us for no reason for money not to be involved.

    Do they get paid commission on sign-ups?
    Are they really not for profit?


    We have been having the Washington, DC BBB contact us every month trying to get us to join claiming they are receiving a lot of "inquiries" They are lying trying to get us to join!

    We are based in Fl and they are taking our number from a virtual DC fax number we use. So obviously they are cold calling every business with a listed DC number using the same line.

    We are not a member of the local BBB yet however have been mailed a complaint from them giving us a chance to say our side of the story /resolve it. I did everything they said to do and even called in a dozen times trying to get it resolved. They do not return my messages, do not respond to my e-mails or faxes, and are only taking calls to make sales. This is weeks later.... still without a response.

    I have no respect left for the BBB and with that said will most likely join them since I'm told if I do so they will be able to help me resolve complaints and we will stop being ignored. (probably another sales line)

    I'm sure some of the local BBB's are ethical however the ones I keep dealing with are not. Who exactly do you report the BBB to? =)

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by hostgator.com
    Representatives of the BBB are always saying it is not-for-profit however someone has to be making a killing on it. I receive too many lying BBB employees contacting us for no reason for money not to be involved.

    Are they really not for profit?

    Who ever said not-for-profit meant no one makes money?

    Not-for-profit only implies that the corporation/organization doesn't pay taxes on its earnings at the corporate level, if they are so qualified. Non-profits, as they're called, are actually cash cows for many entreprenuers. Start a non profit, develop a sufficient revenue stream (membership fees, anyone?) and pay yourself and your staff whatever you want. I know several individuals who receive significant incomes as founders, executive directors, or senior staff of 'non-profits'.

    Brandon
    Last edited by cbtrussell; 05-08-2005 at 12:52 PM.

  9. #9
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    as cbtrussell says, only the organization is non-profit. It can, and most large ones do, pay their staff - often handsomely! I know an office receptionist at a local non-profit here that makes almost $40k/year for answering the phone, making coffee and filing.

    On the different BBB offices talking to each other - this used to be sporadic. IIRC a certain Texas based webhost (no names mentioned) got a horrendous record in a Texas BBB office so started using a reference to a CA location and if you checked the CA BBB of course the record was spotless.

    Keeping a good BBB record is more important if you are seeking commercial and corporate clients, as they often check such things before making expenditures. Private citizens generally don't bother unless the investment will be significant (to them).

    Still, being a member is good PR, provides a dispute resolution channel, and is generally not very costly.
    "Obsolesence is just a lack of imagination."

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by NyteOwl
    as cbtrussell says, only the organization is non-profit. It can, and most large ones do, pay their staff - often handsomely! I know an office receptionist at a local non-profit here that makes almost $40k/year for answering the phone, making coffee and filing.

    On the different BBB offices talking to each other - this used to be sporadic. IIRC a certain Texas based webhost (no names mentioned) got a horrendous record in a Texas BBB office so started using a reference to a CA location and if you checked the CA BBB of course the record was spotless.

    Keeping a good BBB record is more important if you are seeking commercial and corporate clients, as they often check such things before making expenditures. Private citizens generally don't bother unless the investment will be significant (to them).

    Still, being a member is good PR, provides a dispute resolution channel, and is generally not very costly.
    If we are thinking of the *same* Texas webhost, they also tried suing the BBB for defamation. lol

    As for the thread starters question:

    Do I think the BBB is important to webhosts? Yes and No.

    I think to each his own. If you commit yourself and your company to customer service excellence, you will take the time to respond to any complaints filed against you. I've received a few complaints over the last couple of years. Some were downright funny. I've replied to them all, no matter how serious (some were just downright our fault) or silly they each were.

    Will a negative record at the BBB keep users from purchasing hosting from you? Hardly, imo. Will it reflect poor customer service to the few users that check the BBB before signing up for a hosting package? Possibly.

    In my opinion, I don't think most users go through the effort of screening their web host against the BBB database. Its just not worth it when they can go to a slew of hosting forums and run a quick search on "[webhost name] sucks" and find out the skinny, the hosts response & pick a new host, if they now don't like them, all on the same page.
    Last edited by Jay H; 05-09-2005 at 01:38 AM.
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  11. #11
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    IMO the importance of BBB for a business depends to a certain extent on the market it is targeting. I'm sure there is a certain demographic of customers for which the BBB record is almost a veto type of vote.

    For me the BBB is just another place to check, and the weight of an unsatisfactory record there is not huge for me, mainly because I can't see what the issues were, if the company handled them and how they were handled. The lack of details is what bothers me most.

    On the other hand, some companies (including hosts) make BBB a selling point and boast their clear record there. It might work, I don't know. Marketing is such a wonderful, magical thing...

  12. #12
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    If we are thinking of the *same* Texas webhost, they also tried suing the BBB for defamation. lol
    Yes it does sound like we are thinking of the same consistently indignant host folks.
    "Obsolesence is just a lack of imagination."

  13. #13
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    Yes, its important -- just as any easily accessible online record about your company is.

    We're members, and keep our record as clean as can be. I think the fee is outrageous to be a member, but I know some customers we have now would have passed on us if we weren't members and had a clean record. So, its worth it I suppose.

    Take care,

    Brian
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  14. #14
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    I think the BBB is a waste of time these days. Anyone can buy a membership and as long as you are giving them money they will not put a bad note on your record. Case and point. We had a cleaning company come work in our house last fall and they were to clean the vents in our AC/Heater. They took forever, left vents laying on the floor, insulation was all over the floors where they had worked, they took all of the seal tape off of the duct work in the addict and tore up the sheetrock on our stair well by pulling their hoses and cords down the stairs instead of carrying them. I documented it, took pictures and sent a complaint into the BBB since they would not fix it and they were so proud of their BBB rating. A month later I received a letter from the local BBB asking for more information, like that wasn't enough. I waited another couple of weeks after faxing everything back and I received a final letter from them stating that the merchant claimed there were no complaints from me to them and I would have to talk to the merchant as the BBB thought they were in the right. So basically I was ignored on both ends of the chain and got screwed here.

    You can sign up for the BBB and keep a pretty rating as long as you pay.

  15. #15
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    I could see some of the benefits. But honestly I think the "varied" membership fee is bogus.

    I got 3 different quotes from 3 different people for membership fees. This leads me to believe that each rep makes a percentage of whatever they can get out of you.

    Although I think that it could potentially be a good benefit as I do believe it basically makes you complaint free... as long as you're a member they'll scratch your back.

  16. #16
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    I think people often forget, the BBB is a private organization, it's not funded by the government in any manner, and they have their own motives, etc.

    I strongly thing that people *should* sue the BBB if they play a one sided story for non-members. If the BBB refuses to acknowledge "your side of the story", simply because you do not pay them membership fee's, you are fully in your right to file a libel based lawsuit, you're not suing the government, you're suing a private organization, that in my mind, simply collects "protection money" from members, you pay them to not publish negative comments about your company when they're received by the BBB.

  17. #17
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    Myles,
    I completely agree with you hear and don't care what the BBB says for any product or company I buy from. Its almost like a widely accepted form of extortion. Why should anyone even respond to these guys? Why should anyone have to tell another business about their business?
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