Better Business Bureau Sued for Bogus Rating System
The Brookstone Law Firm of Newport Beach in Southern California has filed a $200 million lawsuit against the Better Business Bureau (BBB), calling it a "Mafia-like racket" that uses "blackmail" and "coercion" to set its "bogus ratings."
Brookstone, a law firm dedicated to protecting consumers' rights, claims that the BBB "heavily favors" firms that pay to join its accreditation program and that BBB ratings are "intentionally biased and inconsistent," according to ConsumerAffairs.com.
As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, court documents indicate that the lawsuit alleges defamation, deceptive business practices, interference with economic advantage, and trade libel. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that following its move toward a letter-grade ratings system in 2005, extensive telemarketing campaigns have significantly increased BBB memberships, but the organization has not publicly disclosed that its ratings are based in part on payment of fees to secure accreditation for member businesses.
While it is too early to speculate how the lawsuit will end, NCCC feels that the BBB should publicly disclose the basis of its ratings system for consumer transparency.