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Buyer Beware: The Truth Behind Consumer Review Companies

Do you go to the BBB, Angie's List, or Home Advisor for help in deciding what companies to use?

Where do you look to find a business you can trust? Homeowners often turn to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to look for quality contractors. However, many of these businesses with A+ ratings have received numerous customer complaints and may not actually be what they appear. From an article in Time magazine's, Carrie A. Hut President and CEO of the BBB not only stated how the BBB is not a government agency, but also said, “We are not rating the products or services they provide.” Instead, business grades are mainly determined by “how they resolve customer complaints.” If a business does not pay the annual fee to be a member and resolve any complaints through the BBB directly they will receive a poor BBB grade. In 2009, David Lazarus from the Los Angeles Times found that in a database of over 4 million North American companies, the BBB accredited businesses with numerous complaints received higher grades than unaccredited (nonpaying) businesses. As part of an ABC News investigation, two small business owners were filmed as they were told by BBB telemarketers that their grades of C could be raised to A+ if they paid $395 membership fees. Furthermore, a group of Los Angeles business owners paid $425 to the Better Business Bureau and obtained an A- grade for a non-existent company called Hamas, named after the Middle Eastern terror group, and celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck told ABC News that parts of his restaurant empire have received an F grade because he refused to pay to join the BBB. If you think you can trust companies like "Yelp" that allow customers to review businesses...think again. The documentary Billion Dollar Bully investigates Yelp and its alleged business practices and charges of "extortion, review manipulation, and paying employees to write reviews". Unfortunately for the consumer, many of these "review" sites are pay to play and not necessarily trustworthy for information.

Dmitry Lipinskiy of Roofing Insights has shares his reasons why you should think twice.


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