Consumers in the Los Angeles area looking for reviews of local businesses can no longer rely on the city’s chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
The Council of Better Business Bureaus, which overseas local BBBs, has thrown out the BBB of the Southland, the largest chapter in the nation. Southland, which covers San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties, was expelled over allegations that it charged businesses to receive favorable ratings, the Los Angeles Times says.
Southland’s expulsion from the national organization follows years of internal problems, including lapses in compliance with established rules and practices. A new BBB serving the area will be established to replace the current one. The last time a BBB was dismissed by the national group was a quarter century ago in Miami.
Trouble at its the Southland BBB is unlikely to reassure consumers of the BBB relevance in an age of Internet business review websites like Angie’s List and Yelp (NYSE:YELP). In 1987, there were 178 BBBs across the U.S. and Canada. Last year that number had fallen to 113.