Does the BBB Give Fair Ratings?

A couple of years ago we went to a local fair and a representative from the Minnesota newspaper The Star Tribune was there and offered us a year’s worth of Sunday papers for only $1.00.

Wow, we thought.  That’s cheap.  They are practically giving it away.  We’ve been told by others that the reason they “give” the paper away is that they have to get a high subscription rate in order to charge advertisers certain rates.  Irregardless, we went ahead and signed up for the paper.

A year later we received a renewal notice for $26.00 for a year’s worth of Sunday papers of the Star Tribune.  I signed up again although we really didn’t read the paper as much as we thought we would.

Towards the end of the subscription, I called to have the paper temporarily stopped as we would be out of town.  When we arrived back home, the paper had been delivered ~ twice.  I called and lodged a complaint and was told by a supervisor to specifically ask to speak to a supervisor and they would make sure the paper was stopped.  The next time we went out of town I called and did as I was told ~ spoke to a supervisor and was assured our paper would be temporarily stopped.

But it wasn’t.  At this point, I called and asked them to cancel our subscription and was assured it would be cancelled.  My online account showed the cancellation and there was no money due yet the Sunday papers kept coming.

After 2.5 months of getting a “free” paper, we again were going to be out of town so I called and told them that they needed to stop the paper as we no longer had a subscription.  I was assured, again, that it would stop.  But it wasn’t.

When we returned from being out of town,  the paper had been delivered again.  Feeling frustration creep into my voice, I called again and was assured they would stop delivery.  The following Sunday ~ guess what? ~ the paper was delivered again.

So I called again.  This was now getting to be ridiculous.  I spoke to a supervisor and was assured … wait, I’m pretty sure I heard that same assurance before so after I hung up with the supervisor I sent an online complaint to the Better Business Bureau here in Minnesota.

When I pulled up the online information on The Star Tribune I was shocked at what I saw. They had 100% negative reviews but an A+ rating.  How can that be?

BBB Rating of The Star Tribune

It seems ridiculous to me that a company that has 100% negative reviews can have an A+ rating.

Recently a friend of mine sent me an article re the BBB and how they appear to have what the article called a “pay for play” scheme. Although the article is from 2010, I have the feeling that it’s still quite applicable.

“To prove the point, a group of Los Angeles business owners paid $425 to the Better Business Bureau and were able to obtain an A minus grade for a non-existent company called Hamas, named after the Middle Eastern terror group.”

I had always believed that I could trust the ratings on the Better Business Bureau site but this is disturbing to me.  My trust in them has fallen to zero.

And the resolution to my problem?  Within 4 days of filing my complaint, I received a response from someone at The Star Tribune letting me know the newspapers would stop being delivered.

Almost 3 months later, I’m glad to say we’ve received no newspaper.  I’ll never subscribe to this company again.

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