OOOOOOOH I’m Scared
  • Maggie Franklin
  • January 12, 2009

I remember a client who threatened to report me to the Better Business Bureau. It’s been several years now, but it just came to mind while I was perusing the inter-web looking for info that might help me obtain a car loan.

 

Yes, it’s very sad, but alas, I fear 2009 is the year I must return to the world of car payments. My beloved — albeit old, worn, and entirely unimpressive — 1991 Jeep Cherokee, affectionately known as "Drippy" (named by the Hungarian lesbian couple I bought him from) is in need of more repair work than he will ever be worth.

 

I was hoping to hold off having to purchase a new car until 2010, when I expect my credit score will better reflect the illusion of “responsible grown-up” that I have been trying to establish for the last year or so.

 

So, I have been scouring the Internet for information that might convince me that I can hope for a new vehicle loan at less than 27% interest. (Cross your fingers for me.)

 

I came across a website that offers to give me not just insight into my credit report, but also to give me all three FICO scores for free. Free FICO scores? If you have ever looked into trying to find your credit score for free, you know that by law you are entitled to one copy of your credit statements a year, but if you want those FICO scores, you gotta pay for ’em.

 

Which is why I decided to do a little asking around before I started typing in my personal information to a website I’ve never heard of before. Which is how I came across someone griping that this company is in “good standing” with the BBB even though the reviewer didn’t think this company was legit.

 

Which reminded me of the time someone threatened to report ME to the BBB! HA!

 

I have no idea how the Better Business Bureau managed to get its name so well known to the average American consumer and to convince us that they have any power to do anything at all.

 

I looked into membership once upon a time. First: you have to be invited to join. Of course, you can call them up and say, “Hey, I’d like to become a member. Could you send me an invitation?” This takes some of the exclusivity out of being invited, if you ask me. Second, the only way you can be invited is if no one has complained to them about you. So if someone has made a complaint about you, you can’t join the club, but if you’re not a member already, then having a complaint against you means about zilch.  

 

The BBB is a private organization. It’s a club. It has no power over licensing or business practices. It can’t come in and tell someone how to run their business — unless that someone is a member of the club, in which case that someone promised to run their business a certain way and if they don’t then I guess you get kicked out of the club. I’m not entirely sure since, after talking with a rep from the BBB and having it all explained to me, I laughed myself sick and politely told him I wasn’t interested after all.

 

I also laughed at the lady who threatened to report me. She did not think it was nearly as amusing as I did. She was mad because she had a set of nails put on, waited six weeks to call me to tell me they were all “popping off” and that they “started breaking the day after I had them put on.” I told her that after six weeks they should be popping off and that there was no way I was going to give her back her money since she didn’t even call me until enough time had passed that she should have been back to have them filled twice already! So she threatened to report me to the BBB and I said, “Knock yourself out.” Which confused her because, apparently, mentioning the BBB is supposed to strike terror into the hearts of all business owners.

 

I assure you all, that it is now 10 years later and absolutely nothing has ever come of her threat. Unless it’s the BBB’s fault that my FICO scores are so low? Ahhhh, yes, I think I can put together a nice little conspiracy theory here....

 

Or I can admit that I am a Grasshopper and just suck it up and pay the 27% interest.



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