Why Did The Ritz Carlton Get An F?


WCVB asked Sanders if the BBB believes businesses with failing grades are unethical.

"The BBB rating system specifically states why they have an F," he said. "And ethical is not the reason it would state."

In fact, the BBB said 17 factors can influence the grade it gives, so Griffith, owner of Sooki, called the BBB to find out the rationale behind the C minus for her store.

After giving some details about her business, but not discussing any complaint history, Griffith was surprised to discover that her store's rating jumped two letter grades.

CLICK HERE to follow the ABC News Investigative Team's coverage on Twitter.

"You're giving me an A minus now?" Griffith asked the BBB representative on the phone.

That was the case with several businesses WCVB asked the BBB to double check.

The famed Boston Celtics basketball team, who have won 17 NBA championships, had received a D minus.

Days after being contacted by WCVB, the BBB had raised the grade for the Celtics to a B. The BBB told WCVB that the grade went up because it was able to get more information about the business.

The Ritz also went from a failing grades to the top of the class. It now has an A, and one complaint was deleted from its profile.

North Carolina Caterer Gets An F

In Raleigh, North Carolina, caterer Vaughn Williams was saddled with an F rating until a reporter from ABC owned-and-affiliated station WTVD asked the local BBB for an explanation.

"You know, the world view of [an F] is failure," Williams told investigative reporter Steve Daniels of WTVD, the ABC owned-and-operated station in Raleigh-Durham. "So they look me up and they see that, and maybe not give me a call. So, it's a problem."

CLICK HERE to watch the WTVD report.

Vaughn had two complaints on the BBB website after eight years of running Urbana Catering. He says he resolved the issues with his customers, but the F remained. He was afraid it was hurting his business. "If you go to the website and see someone who has an A and someone who has an F, you're going to go with the A," he offered.

Investigative reporter Steve Daniels of WTVD asked Beverly Baskin, director of the Better Business Bureau in Raleigh, about Urbana Catering's rating.

Baskin said that Williams got an F because he did not respond to the BBB after it asked for his position on the two consumer complaints.

"We have since called the consumers to say: 'Did you ever receive the resolution you were seeking?' And in both cases, they actually had - one seven months later and one three months later – so now he has a C plus. Thanks to your intervention," said Baskin.

Daniels asked Baskin to respond to critics who say that the BBB's grading system sounds like "a teacher saying to a kid, 'Slide me some cash and I'll give you an A.'"

"There are always going to be critics," Baskin offered. "There are basically 17 elements that go into a rating … it is the Better Business Bureau's best effort to put forth a meaningful rating that it makes sense to a consumer that says whether or not they are likely to have a good experience with that business and whether or not that business is going to work with the Better Business Bureau to resolve a complaint - a problem - if one arises."

Baskin says the Raleigh BBB operates independently from other BBBs across the country and she stands by her sales people and the accreditation process in Raleigh.

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