BBB grades now influenced by memberships

November 18, 2010 7:21:13 PM PST
The Better Business Bureau will stop awarding better grades to businesses that pay for memberships. The change follows an ABC News investigation into allegations of a "pay to play" scheme by an agency built on trust.

Many businesses complained they received poor grades from the BBB after they declined to pay for memberships. Among them is celebrated Chef Wolfgang Puck, who received an F-rating in spite of his impeccable reputation.

"You know if you get to become a member, you're sure to get an a but if you don't pay it's very difficult to get an A," he said,

The BBB said the system was not about generating money. However, by next week it will stop giving extra points to businesses that pay for accreditation.

Under the current "A to F" grading system, members do get extra points and only accredited businesses can get the coveted A-plus rating.