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  Post #1 (permalink)   11-17-2005, 09:14 AM
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Every time I think that most of the problems and fraud arise in the industry because it is unregulated, an idea of an organization that would work toward public awareness, seems like a great idea.

However, there is one organization that does just that - Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.com. Since it does state the company records publicly and manage complaints, why does it have such low acceptance among web hosting providers? Do customers not see the power of their "sign of approval" sign anymore?

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  Post #2 (permalink)   11-17-2005, 10:21 AM
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Could it be that possibly the BBB really has no authority on the company. The company might even provide false proof that it has tried to settle a claim while the person who created the claim just up and left afterwards? I've never used the BBB because frankly it doesn't have any authority over these companies so I don't think anybody will EVER pay attention to the BBB unless it has authority (which is doubtful). You also have to realize that customers usually will take their loses rather than fight with a company (which is very unfortunate) or the company may show them their ToS showing that they cannot file a complaint (persuade basically the angry customer that they would be in the wrong and in violation of the agreement signed if they went to complain).

ToS and AuPs protect most companies from any sort of promises and guarantees and unfortunetly the customers have so many choices that they don't even bother posting a complaint to the BBB but just instead they go to another one of the many providers available. If we had less companies then I could see the BBB being better than what it is today and if companies advertised their BBB link then I could see that as well. As long as there is no relationship between companies and the BBB the customers will continue to be clueless.

Customers also hold a higher expectation of the BBB to help them get their money back and other "miracles" and when they see that the BBB can do nothing but file complaints...they say...what's the point?

Compare that to lets say George W. Bush and his bid to go to war in Iraq. The U.N. does not have any real authority over any countries desires so the U.S. simply said forget you and did what they wanted... that was the end of it. Now everybody sees the U.N. as a puppy towards the U.S. demands (just barking never doing anything about it). Do you really take the U.N. as seriously now seeing that they truly have no authority in the say in regards to its members?
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  Post #3 (permalink)   11-17-2005, 10:43 AM
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I can see your point, but what authority would you like the organization to have and why, in that case, a company would accept THAT?

Also, you are talking about that BBB has no real power over solving customers problems. But I think that even though they do not necessarily refund client's money, if a company has at least a few complaints known to public, that is already a record, compared to those who do not have those complaints. So there is some value in their service, especially that it is done in the most structured and organized way.
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   11-17-2005, 03:11 PM
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I think most companies have abandoned the BBB because the BBB is more consumer geared.

They play the game of, "The company is guilty until proven innocent."

In some cases, a company providing proof that it is in the right, can be very difficult.

Many companies look at complying with the BBB means losing a lot of money, because the BBB essentially allows consumers to rip companies off, through the power of public complaint. In fact a friend of mine joked that they should change their name from the BBB (Better Business Bureau) to the OBB (Out of Business Bureau), because essentially a lot of legit business have been financially affected negatively, due to the ease of filing a false complaint with the BBB.

Quite possibly companies are beginning not to care about the BBB, because giving them one ounce of credibility means losing money, in some form or another.

Our experience with the BBB was exactly the same.

A customer was not entitled to a refund. They ordered a dedicated server, which they broke. We fixed it free 3 times. One of which was a hardware issue caused by their abuse of the server. We offered them a credit, and then resolved the issue by agreeing to move them back to a reseller account (at their request). Our TOS states clearly that once a solution has been offered and agreed to by the client, they are no longer entitled to a refund.

A few weeks later the client decided that they really wanted a dedicated server. So decided to file a PayPal dispute for the amount, knowing that they weren't entitled to, nor would get a refund from us, according to the TOS they agreed to. They wanted to use the amount to pay for a new server elsewhere. Since PayPal declined their dispute, they sent us a certfied letter, threatening to sue. When that didn't work, they decided to go to the BBB.

The BBB sends the company a letter with the complaint filed included. First off, this customer told the BBB that they paid $200 more than they actually did, hoping to get an extra $200 out of the deal. They then proceeded to openly state to the BBB that they never read the TOS, then began quoting from it. After all of that, and after the BBB could openly read the the customer was lying, they still tried to force us into refunding the customer in the form of public humiliation.

So I wrote a certified letter to them stating, that their listing means nothing to our company, and they are free to do whatever they wish, as there is no way in hell we're going to permit a 3rd party organization to force us into allowing a customer to steal from us, especially after we provided sufficient proof showing that we owed the customer nothing.

Soon after (about a week), we received a letter from the BBB stating that they have dropped the case.

I give no credibility to the BBB whatsoever, because:
1. It's simply too easy for a consumer to file a false claim.
2. It's too easy for the consumer to provide false facts.
3. The BBB takes the consumer's word as fact, until proven otherwise.
4. The BBB determines randomly, what they feel is sufficiant proof, to debunk the consumer's claim.
5. The BBB's policies allow consumers to take advantage of legit companies.

I would find the BBB more credible if they made the consumer pay a small refundable fee, to file a complaint. Refundable only if the company was found to be the wrong party. This would keep consumers from filing false claims. If they have to pay a fee, and know that it's possible that the company can prove they are in the right....you'll have far fewer false claims.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   11-17-2005, 05:53 PM
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Mark, what an excellent and educational story that pretty much sums up why an Internet company would not want to deal with the BBB. I can see how their process of solving cases is not well shaped.

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  Post #6 (permalink)   11-17-2005, 10:32 PM
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Hmm... sounds an awful lot like Paypal.

BBB might be more protective over customers, but it's still nice to be a part of it. It stands for a that nice, warm feeling inside when you sign up.
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