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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Making the grade

I'm not sure if I like this or not:

BBB of Northern Indiana will introduce the ratings/letter grade system on Feb. 1 to the northern Indiana community.

The new ratings system, adopted by all BBBs in the United States and Canada, is one more step in our branding strategy. When consumers search reports on companies, they will no longer see just “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory.” It will be a letter grade, A+ through F.

Because of our school experience, most of us can easily grasp a company's grade. It flunks or is excellent or is somewhere in between and sort of average. But trying to sort through all that seems like a lot of work. We really just want to know one thing from the BBB: Is a company trustworthy or not? By the time we contact the BBB, we've probably already decided to use a company's services unless we hear something scary. Do we really want to have to figure out if a "C" company is OK or if we should keep searching for a "B" one?

Movie ratings are that way, too. We're usually pretty safe with a four-star movie, and we certainly want to avoid the one-star ones, but what kind of mood do we have to be in to take a chance on a two-star or three-star one? That's too complicated for a friend I had in Michigan City, so he came up with his own rating system. A movie either "stinks," "doesn't stink" or is "better than doesn't stink."

That'd work for companies, too. Help keep me away from the stinkers and steer me to the ones that don't stink. "Better than doesn't stink" wi

Posted in: Our town


Steven T.
Thu, 01/29/2009 - 10:27pm

Clearly, the validity of this structure entirely depends upon the BBB's ability to deliver comprehensive, pro-active proof, as to objectivity.

Such an enterprise, in the absence of absolute and verifiable honesty, would be as utterly worthless as it is prone to the worst of abuses. The BBB is going to have to shoulder the strictest burden of all proofs in order to sell consumers like me, "Price-Waterhousian" in its standards for this kind of broad influence upon the buying public.

Otherwise, they won't survive past the first scandal.