The Better Business Bureau provides online ratings for businesses across the United States and Canada on its website, bbb.org. The BBB review system uses a grading scale from A+ to F, with F being the lowest grade.
BBB ratings are based on a business’ complaint history, the type of business, how long the business has been operating, whether the business is transparent about its background information, and whether government actions have been taken against the business in relation to its marketplace enterprise. The BBB regularly requests background information from businesses, and a business’ rating can be lowered by not providing it, according to the BBB's official website. Businesses with a number of complaints filed with the BBB, and businesses that fail to resolve customer complaints in a timely manner, are subject to a lower rating, as stated in the overview of the BBB grade. Businesses that misrepresent their products or services always get a grade of F, according to bbb.org.
In 2010, the ABC News investigative team and correspondent Brian Ross discovered that a number of famous companies that were not members of the BBB were given F grades based on a small number of complaints. Erwin Schinnerl, the hotel general manager of the Ritz Carton Hotel in Boston, reported that two customer complaints resulted in an F rating for the establishment.