When it comes to evaluating the legitimacy of an MLM company, Google is a great place to start. But it should not be treated as comprehensive, conclusive, or complete.
So where to investigate next?
Are there types of entities or organizations that can help further your investigation an MLM you’re considering to join?
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is one such organization. It’s a private non-profit agency that indexes a company’s performance, customer reviews, and trustworthiness. Not just for MLM companies, but corporate and small business too.
It operates with a rating system that relies on a letter scale, A+ through F, where the grade represents the degree of trustworthiness that a company has and its efforts in resolving customer concerns filed with the BBB.
This organization has been one of the oldest and most respected resources for people to evaluate a company’s transparency, integrity, and responsiveness when it comes to resolving customer disputes.
For example, an A+ rating on MLM Company X by the BBB isn’t a guarantee that it’s a good company for you to join, though it maybe a good indicator that the company is operating in good faith.
A healthy rating, however, is not indicative of whether the company is experiencing internal issues with ethics and leadership, or if its is on its way down or up, or if its compensation plan is lucrative, or if its culture is healthy, or if its a good fit for you.
What a healthy rating simply does is give you positive feedback and moves you to the next step in your evaluation.
A bad rating, on the other hand, well . . . that opens another can of worms.
So you need to dig deeper . . .
A bad BBB rating could indicate that the company you’re evaluating has problems. It may have lots of customer complaints and it is failing to swiftly and effectively resolve them.
This type of rating should certainly be treated as a cautionary red flag.
This begs the next question. . . How trustworthy is BBB itself?
While the BBB is a great place to weed out disreputable MLM companies, it’s not foolproof, either.
Critics argue that the BBB’s “pay to play” membership policy is a breeding ground for favoritism — where companies paying for membership have better chances to secure higher ratings than those who don’t.
So the next time you’re researching an MLM, if it is not a paying BBB member then expect to see lower marks.
What if the company you’re looking at company isn’t rated by the BBB at all?
Does it mean it is a pyramid scheme?
Of course not, just like a company with a good BBB rating doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good company.
Typically brand new companies may take a while to apply for membership and get accredited by the BBB.
Pyramid schemes certainly avoid associating with the BBB for fear of getting exposed.
And Non-U.S. based companies never make it to the BBB ratings because the BBB is limits its membership accreditation to North American companies only.
So does not having a BBB rating mean a company is bad?
Of course not! But having one, and especially a good one is a strong proof for a company’s willingness to comply with the BBB’s rating system.
Bottom line, you have a wide range of options, from Google reviews to BBB, when it comes to researching any MLM company online. While each is an important source of gathering information on a companies reputation, NONE are 100% effective at discerning unscrupulous companies or identifying the best opportunity for you.
Today we hit question number 21 out of the 99+ questions you should ask yourself before joining an MLM.
#21: What’s the companies BBB rating if it has one at all?
Till next time,
Co-authored with Dr Maral “YESS” Yessayan, PhD.
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