Washington, D.C. (March 13, 2013) -
During the last few years, the Better Business Bureau of Los
Angeles has given DIRECTV failing grades for poor service and
allegedly ignoring the complaints of their customers. In fact,
the consumer watchdog group's LA office, where DIRECTV's
headquarters is located,
its lowest rating of F twice and once gave DIRECTV a D.
At the time of the ratings, DIRECTV was the subject of
widespread complaints that it was requiring a two-year contract
for certain benefits such as not having to pay for a set-top
when subscribing. However, other TV providers, such as Verizon,
were also requiring two-year agreements and they were getting
A's and B's from BBB offices in other states. (The local BBB
chapters issue the grades so DIRECTV's grades came from the LA
The low grades seemed odd considering that DIRECTV, while a
large corporation, was unlikely to totally ignore its customer
base, as the LA BBB was suggesting. The grades also posed an
obstacle for DIRECTV as it attempted to sign up new subscribers
who might find the poor BBB ratings off-putting.
Now cut to March 2013. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday
that the national Better Business Bureau office has ousted the
Los Angeles chapter for allegedly requiring LA-based companies
to pay membership fees in return for good grades.
DIRECTV is not accredited by the BBB and apparently never agreed
to pay the fees.
The Times writes that evidence indicates that the LA BBB
'pay-for-play' scheme lasted for years and entrapped a slew of
businesses including the world-famous Spago restaurant who only
received a grade of B-minus although it received few customer
complaints; Spago never paid the $300 fee to become BBB-accredited.
The newspaper notes that another area restaurant did pay and
received an A+ grade.
"Over a period of more than
two years, BBB of the Southland (LA area) failed to resolve
concerns about compliance with several standards required of
BBBs, including standards relating to accreditation, reporting
on businesses, and handling complaints," Carrie A. Hurt,
president and chief executive of the Council of Better Business
Bureaus, said yesterday, according to the
So, did DIRECTV get set up by the BBB's LA office? Would
it have received better grades if it had simply paid up?
TVPredictions.com last night asked DIRECTV for a comment, but
company spokesman Robert Mercer declined, which is not too
surprising considering that the national BBB investigation is
ongoing and the LA situation is in flux.
In 2009, DIRECTV had a 'B' grade from the Better Business
Bureau, but the grade was suddenly taken away and changed to a
Did the grade change because
DIRECTV refused to ante up? Perhaps the national BBB
investigation will shed some light on that.
For the Better Business Bureau, which consumers once used to
vouch for businesses across the nation, the LA controversy now
puts the entire organization's credibility in doubt. The
national office said a 'virtual' LA office will be put in place
until a new group can be established.