That kind of close relationship between the BBB and companies that it supposedly objectively rates is probably eye-opening to consumers.
Woodbury, NJ (Vocus) November 22, 2010
Brett Hitchcock, President of AA Auto Protection said today that, "We wrote to the National Council of Better Business Bureaus over a month ago stating our concerns, but we haven't heard back. We've been advised that the next step is to ask for help from states' attorneys general offices. Our letters were actually completed before the '20/20' expose." Hitchcock is referring to the ABC News magazine program, which aired a report about the BBB which questioned its grading practices.
AA Auto Protection is asking state officials to consider the conduct of the BBB as it is described by AA Auto Protection and other sources, and to take action necessary to ensure that the BBB refrains from the type of discriminatory practices alleged by participants in the ABC News "20/20" report.
As an example, Hitchcock cited that, in the wake of the US Fidelis scandal, the BBB added an option for "auto warranty companies" to their main phone menu. The BBB ratings criteria provide that the final grade is influenced partly by the industry to which a given company belongs. Extended auto warranty companies are therefore likely to given lower grades because the BBB has received a large number of complaints about such companies.
Hitchcock said that his company shared the same concerns discussed in the ABC News report, as well as some others. "One big issue we have is that the CEO’s of at least two of our largest competitors sit on the boards of their local BBB chapters - the ones that grade them. They both have 'A' ratings, which we don't think is coincidental, or fair to everyone else," said Hitchcock. He added "That kind of close relationship between the BBB and companies that it supposedly objectively rates is probably eye-opening to consumers."
As media outlets and government officials at various levels explore the accusations of "pay for play" further, further scrutiny of the BBB grading system is possible. In the meantime, AA Auto Protection hopes for a positive response from the attorneys general. AA Auto Protection CEO Dan Rorapaugh said that "Most companies don't mind being held accountable or being judged, as long as they know the rules, and as long as it's their performance that matters, not how much they pay the judge."
About AA Auto Protection:
Founded in 2002, AA Auto Protection was one of the first brokers of extended warranties for automobiles, or vehicle service agreements. AA Auto Protection is committed to providing its clients with the best plans, at an affordable cost. AA Auto Protection is a national company with offices in six states, headquartered in New Jersey. For more information visit http://www.aaautoprotection.com.