In 2012 I got accredited with the Better Business Bureau. I don't remember if they contacted me or if I contacted them but I figured it would be a good way to show to my customers that I was a real, legit business and give them a sense of trust.
For several years I was happy with their service and felt good about being accredited on their site but over time things started to change. Being a member of the BBB is not cheap, they charge a yearly fee, and over time the fees started to go up significantly each and every year to the point where I felt like I was being priced out.
On top of the rising fees, the BBB started to make some changes that I was not happy about. One of the things that really bothered me the most was when they started to erase reviews after three years claiming that they were outdated. I have (or had) several positive reviews posted that were erased and I don't see any reason for customers to not see a longstanding history of happy customers and positive reviews, no matter how old they are.
Another change I was unhappy with was when they started to allow people "who had contact with your business" start posting reviews online. Previously they had only allowed people who had done actual business with you to post. So then it went from actual customers posting to anyone who wrote you an email or called you, etc. I didn't feel that was the point of the membership and review process. I personally have only had customers write reviews but I still didn't appreciate the change.
Because of the changes and price increases I had gone back and forth about continuing my membership for the last few years. Part of me felt I was paying way too much simply for a space for people to post reviews while another part of me still felt it was good for people to verify that I was real. The final straw was when I got my bill in 2020. In a year of a horrible pandemic when businesses, especially small ones, were struggling and on the verge of collapse, the BBB had raised their prices again!!
I was really shocked to see that they had increased my fee again this year, and not by a little bit, they wanted an additional $75 bringing my yearly fee to $500 which can go a long way towards many other things.
After considering cancelling my membership I still went back and forth about it. Is this a waste of money? Do people even check with the BBB anymore? I've been in business for a long time, do I still have to prove myself? Will someone pick another breeder over me because they are accredited and I won't be, etc? To help make up my mind I turned to my customers and followers and asked what their thoughts were on my Facebook page and the consensus was that I was wasting my time and money.
I was surprised to hear that the majority of my customers didn't check the BBB before purchasing from me. I was even more surprised to hear that a lot of people thought that you could buy your score from the BBB. My score was/is an A+ so I had never been contacted to pay to raise my score so I honestly don't even know if it's true but that's not a good reputation for the organization to have. A lot of my customers explained that my online presence (website, Facebook, Instagram,) and word of mouth was way more important and helping to spread the word about the work that we do. Others also said that the BBB was outdated and that you can read reviews pretty much anywhere online these days.
There were a few posts from customers that did check with the BBB before doing business with me and my membership helped them make their decision but the majority felt that it is an unnecessary and outdated site.
The combination of rising fees, changes I didn't like, and very good feedback from consumers helped me make my decision to cancel my membership.
When I called to cancel my membership the first thing the representative asked me was why? I explained the three reasons above, price, erasing reviews, and changes on who can post. When I told her that I was shocked about their price increase during a pandemic she responded that invoices had been sent out at the beginning of the year before the pandemic and they are offering a discount of $100 to help out. I explained that my invoice was sent out in October, well after the pandemic began, and asked why I was not told about the $100 discount. She replied that only people who called and asked about the price were offered a discount!
When I told her I didn't like it that they were erasing reviews after three years she said it's because of all the changes like staffing that businesses have over time. I explained that I don't have employees, just my family and I raise our puppies and run our business, so that explanation doesn't apply to us and was a broad generalization that may be affecting those of us that are really small in a negative way.
When I told her I didn't like it that non customers can now post reviews she replied by telling me I can just not pay my invoice and my membership will be canceled.
The conversation with the representative really made me feel good about my choice to leave the BBB, clearly they were not supporting my business and its individual needs so therefore I don't need to support their business financially.
My fee for 2021 was due the end of November and I am going to happily spend that money on Christmas presents for the dogs, they most definitely deserve them!
If you're interested in more information about our Cockapoo puppies please visit our website at: