Better Business Bureau gives Google a C- rating

The Better Business Bureau doesn't quite believe Google's “Don't be evil” mantra. In a recent report, the BBB gave Google a C- reliability grade. While it's not the worst grade in the class, Google's classmates Yahoo!, Microsoft and HP all got A's and higher, it makes you wonder what Google did that was so heinous. Ok, once in a while there's a privacy leak, or an outage here and there, but I wouldn't say that they're performing worse than Microsoft or Yahoo! in that regard. According to the BBB, a C- rating means the following.

Acceptable rating. We know of no reason not to do business with this company. If the level of this rating relates to anything specific that we know might be of concern to consumers, it is stated in this report. Read our full report to determine if you have questions or concerns.

If you look down in the full report, you'll see that there have been a lot of formal complaints against Google. This is altogether unsurprising, and is expected from a company the size of Google. The catch is that you have to respond to those pesky complaints to keep the BBB happy. According to the report, Google received a total of 648 complaints. Here's a chart breaking down the type of response Google gave.

As you can see, 49 of the complaints went unanswered and 46 were “uncategorized.” Since the BBB gets upset over one unanswered complaint, you can clearly see where the problem is. This isn't new for Google, either. They are infamous for their lack of a proper customer support infrastructure, and this was partially the cause for the financial failure of the Nexus One. Google is also infamous for strictly enforcing the terms of their contracts, especially with Adsense customers, and many feel that it's too strict. Five years ago, Google didn't have to worry about customer service. They were primarily a search engine, and their ad model was a relatively new phenomenon. As the model constantly matures, and viable competition pops up all around you, customer satisfaction starts becoming very important, and it would be a good idea to start responding to those pesky complaints. 

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47 Comments

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If you ask visitors to the BBB site, you'd find very low satisfaction there too.
But I agree with their Google rating.
They have NO customer support -- even aftermany reports of sluggish-to-no performance from their GMail and Calendar apps, there's neither public nor private response from the Big G.
What they label as "Help" doesn't allow for feedback when their fixes don't work, leaving helpless users to log into their Help Forums to console each other. If Google moderated these Forums for each product/app/service,, they would know what's going wrong. But they don't seem to think it's worth their time.
Wait until customers plunk down big bucks for the new Google TV only to find they are on their own there too when the promised extras stop working.

"The Better Business Bureau doesn't quite believe Google's “Don't be evil” mantra."

How do you make that connection? Seems like the reason for this rating is "Unanswered Complaints". Is that evil?

Xypro said,
Im wondering if this will make bing look better.
Doubt it... It's not like everyone checks the BBB before they use something.

The Better Business Bureau doesn't quite believe Google's “Don't be evil” mantra

As does anyone else who keeps up with Google's business practices. C- is actually prettty generous.

endtype said,
Really it's just trying to ruin Google's moment.
People with their head out already know this about Google. It's people like you, who turn their head when Google does something they shouldn't, that think they are a great company.

Is this as bad as the Gartner rating yesterday for Microsoft (as in, is this another one of those BS ratings)?

r1zzah said,
Is this as bad as the Gartner rating yesterday for Microsoft (as in, is this another one of those BS ratings)?
Gartner is a research company (ha!), BBB is a company which people report problems/issues with a company to. Gartner pulls stuff out of their behind, BBB has actual evidence.

They have Apple B+, sorry for all the Apple lovers but I don't think Apple cares abou there customers at all.
So this rating means nothing to me.

Renato456 said,
They have Apple B+, sorry for all the Apple lovers but I don't think Apple cares abou there customers at all.
So this rating means nothing to me.

Apple have appaling customer service.

jason13524 said,

Apple have appaling customer service.

Facebook got an A. Oh sure they care about their customers so much they invade their privacy.

morphen said,
oh well, who makes more money; Better Business Bureau or Google?

Uh, what's that suppose to mean? This isn't a competition between BBB and Google. It's just the facts. Google currently isn't as good as those other companies to deal with.

morphen said,
oh well, who makes more money; Better Business Bureau or Google?
And because Google makes more money, that means a company with less shouldn't be believed?

It's not like the BBB competes with Google.

Other than the approx. 20% of those cases that are (so far) unanswered or uncategorized (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean), it appears that Google abided by the terms of their contract with their client, or gave the client a full or partial refund. I don't really see a problem with that. It seems to me that the BBB protests a little too much. And 648 complaints out of the millions of people in the US (if they are only talking about US complaints here) who use Google's services every day doesn't sound like a whole lot of people either.

roadwarrior said,
Other than the approx. 20% of those cases that are (so far) unanswered or uncategorized (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean), it appears that Google abided by the terms of their contract with their client, or gave the client a full or partial refund. I don't really see a problem with that. It seems to me that the BBB protests a little too much. And 648 complaints out of the millions of people in the US (if they are only talking about US complaints here) who use Google's services every day doesn't sound like a whole lot of people either.

The other companies have the same chances to be criticized by their users. In fact, some companies, such as Apple and MS have a higher chance of being criticized, being people directly pay those companies for their products more often than people pay Google for their products (you do not send your money to Google for a search - their biggest product). And yet, those companies maintain a higher rating than Google does. There are millions of people in the US that could be complaining about MS or Apple products, but why should Google be special and be immune from complaints?

nohone said,

There are millions of people in the US that could be complaining about MS or Apple products, but why should Google be special and be immune from complaints?

Where did I say or even imply that they should be immune? I'm just saying that I generally take the BBB's ratings with a grain of salt because anyone can make a claim to them with little or no evidence at all. And if a company doesn't respond to those complaints in a manner that the BBB considers correct, the company gets a poor rating, even if the complaint had no merit in the first place.

Here's why I don't really trust their ratings, from their own site:

BBB assigns ratings by evaluating businesses in the following categories:
BBB experience with the industry in which the business operates
The business' length of time in operation
Whether BBB has information that the business does not have required competency license(s)
Any known government actions against the business that are related to marketplace activities
Any advertising issues found by BBB
The number of complaints processed by BBB from the business' customers
The number of complaints processed by BBB from the business' customers that are of a serious nature
Whether the business has responded to complaints received by BBB
Whether complaints have been resolved in a timely manner or the business has demonstrated it made a good faith effort to resolve them
Business' overall complaint history with BBB
Whether the business has honored any commitments to BBB to arbitrate or mediate disputes and comply with arbitrator decisions or mediated settlements
Whether BBB has sufficient background information and clear understanding of business
Whether the business is a BBB Accredited Business
Whether BBB Accreditation was revoked because the business failed to comply with agreed BBB standards
Ratings are determined by a proprietary formula that represents BBB's opinion as to (1) the importance of each category, and (2) the appropriate score given to the business for each category.

source: http://sanjose.bbb.org/WhatAreBBBRatings.aspx

Way too much abiguity there for my tastes.

Edited by roadwarrior, Oct 8 2010, 5:59pm :

roadwarrior said,

Where did I say or even imply that they should be immune?

You didn't explicitly state it, but to state that you are skeptical of the claims while the competitors have a better rating - when companies like Apple and MS have many more "haters" than Google does, have more products and sales directly to the consumer (sales with monetary transaction), then it says that maybe there is something to the complaints.

nohone said,

You didn't explicitly state it, but to state that you are skeptical of the claims while the competitors have a better rating - when companies like Apple and MS have many more "haters" than Google does, have more products and sales directly to the consumer (sales with monetary transaction), then it says that maybe there is something to the complaints.


Assumptions, I like them

1. Microsoft and Apple have more "haters".
2. Retail outlets lend themselves to have bad customer service.

Keeping it real professional. Nice.

1. How do you even begin to quantify that?
2. Google has many services and deals with monetary transactions on a continuous basis. Google Checkout, Google Voice credit, Google Apps.

Interesting results on the site. MS got a higher grade than Apple, and Sony has an F.

Blatant_Troll said,

Is there some supernatural force stopping you from going to the BBB's website and looking up Facebook? Or do you only read things that are spoon-fed to you?


You haven't been there clearly as there are two entries on their site for some reason, one with an A rating and one with a rating I can't see as it doesn't load properly. Which is right?

lostmongoose said,
then don't use it.

He is expressing an opinion. You cannot tell people what they do or they don't. Unless of course you live in the western world.

Seems to me that google doesn't always think about the consequences first, especially when it comes to privacy.

acnpt said,
Seems to me that google doesn't always think about the consequences first, especially when it comes to privacy.

Neither any other search engines;..

acnpt said,
Seems to me that google doesn't always think about the consequences first, especially when it comes to privacy.

Privacy of what
data you put on internet?
for the rest they don't give any info without your consentement

NesTle said,

Privacy of what
data you put on internet?
for the rest they don't give any info without your consentement

It is not only about that. When you type any email, they trace it and then show ads accordingly.

Forexample you may be sending an email to your aunt about the death of your uncle, and you can see ads related funeral arangements.

Microsoft for instance never does this.

Jose_49 said,

Neither any other search engines;..

You can get rid of your search cache from Bing. Haven't seen anything particularly similar with Google or Yahoo!

Quikboy said,

You can get rid of your search cache from Bing. Haven't seen anything particularly similar with Google or Yahoo!


If you login with Google. You can turn off your web history.

thatguyandrew1992 said,

If you login with Google. You can turn off your web history.

and they know who you are.
Anonymous search history cache can be cleaned from bing.

thatguyandrew1992 said,

If you login with Google. You can turn off your web history.
Turning off and deleting are two completely different things.

What if you forget to turn it off? With Bing, you can DELETE it...

Mr aldo said,
Turning off and deleting are two completely different things.

What if you forget to turn it off? With Bing, you can DELETE it...

Where? I don't see it. I see "clear", but even Google has that.

AtriusNY said,

It is not only about that. When you type any email, they trace it and then show ads accordingly.

Forexample you may be sending an email to your aunt about the death of your uncle, and you can see ads related funeral arangements.

Microsoft for instance never does this.

Wait, you mean some kind of algorithm identifies words in your email and targets ads accordingly?

THE EVIL *******!

Get a grip FFS. It's not like they've EVER hidden that fact. If you're too thick to not understand what they're offering, that's your problem.

I would not put much value in the BBB ratings, so far 18 States Attorney Generals have filed suit against the BBB for issuing poor rating in an attempt by the BBB to get the companies to pay a membership fee.

SpyCatcher said,
I would not put much value in the BBB ratings, so far 18 States Attorney Generals have filed suit against the BBB for issuing poor rating in an attempt by the BBB to get the companies to pay a membership fee.

I didn't know that! Thanks for the heads up.

Right on target. The BBB is like the so-called "U.S. Chamber Of Commerce." Neither represent the public, only select business interests, usually their own.