Armstrong Steel and the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

At Armstrong Steel, we are committed to the highest levels of transparency. As part of this ongoing effort to keep you informed, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about Armstrong Steel and the BBB. While we recognize that BBB complaints are often cause for concern, we are confident that the following information will provide insight into why the handful of complaints listed does not accurately reflect the quality of our products and services.

How should you factor the BBB into your decision?
We applaud consumers who do their homework to understand the products and services they are considering purchasing. We know the BBB grade is a factor in that decision. However, it is only one of the factors. If you are concerned about the quality of our products, we would invite you to consider independent online reviews and testimonials.
For example, ask your neighbor about Armstrong Steel. Facebook is a great resource as well. You can find more reviews of our products here. We would also suggest that you consider the company's history in relation to customer service excellence.
What is the Better Business Bureau [BBB]?
The BBB is a non-profit, private commercial entity. Although the BBB has the word 'bureau' in its name, it is not affiliated with, related to, or associated with any government agency or organization.
How does the BBB make money?
As with any commercial business, the BBB depends on revenue from consumers to operate. The BBB generates revenue from fees it charges companies for its services as well as membership dues. To increase its revenue, the BBB actively solicits businesses (its customers) to pay membership fees.
One way that the BBB promotes itself is through 'alerts' or 'warnings' it issues about businesses or business practices. Issuing these notices gives it publicity and, therefore, promotes the BBB and its services.
What does the Better Business Bureau [BBB] do?
The BBB '[exists] so consumers and businesses alike have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust.' It tries to accomplish this goal by assigning grades based on customer complaints, time in business, company history, government actions, type of business, etc. (To see a full list of grading criteria, go here.)
The effect a complaint has on a company's BBB grade is the same in the third year as it was in the first - even if the complaint is completely resolved.
What does being an accredited business mean?
Being accredited by the BBB means that a business has met the BBB accreditation standards, paid the annual accreditation fees, and makes a good-faith effort to resolve complaints. According to the BBB, 'Accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by the BBB, or that the BBB has made a determination
as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services' [About BBB Accreditation, accessed 23 June 2011].
Is Armstrong Steel a Better Business Bureau accredited business?
Yes. Armstrong Steel remains committed to providing exceptional products and customer service. We work closely with the BBB to resolve 100 percent of the complaints submitted to the BBB.
How does the BBB assign its grades?
The BBB reviews companies based on a number of factors and uses a proprietary algorithm to assign companies a grade from A+ to F. Several of the determining factors are left up to individual employee discretion. This means there is not a firm set of criteria for deciding how many points to deduct. Moreover, different BBB chapters rate companies differently based on varying or discretionary criteria. The BBB does not adjust grades based on a company's selling approach. In addition, Armstrong Steel works closely with the BBB to resolve 100% of the complaints submitted to the BBB.
The BBB's grading system has been criticized by the media for inconsistent and unusual grades. For example, Disneyland, renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, and the Ritz Carlton Boston Common received 'F's from the Better Business Bureau (bbbroundup.com). There are also allegations that those companies that pay the BBB get better grades than those who do not. You can learn more about their grading system and these allegations by watching this 20/20 video.
Does the BBB grade itself?
No. The BBB does not grade itself or respond to complaints about the BBB. You can read more about the complaints against the BBB and its rating system by watching the 20/20 segment above or by reading the Connecticut Attorney General's statement regarding their ongoing investigation into the BBB and this overview of its general grading practices.
What constitutes a complaint?
The BBB does not investigate complaints before posting them. Any complaint from a consumer about a company that is sent to the BBB is reported by the BBB as a complaint regardless of whether or not the complaint is true or has merit. BBB reports also include complaints from individuals who may not be customers of a company. Even if the concern raised in the 'complaint' is resolved by the company and to the satisfaction of the customer, the matter is still reported as a complaint.
Also note that complaints against companies remain on the company's record for three years. The BBB, however, does not weigh complaints based on severity or relevancy. In other words, a complaint received one day ago is given the same weight by the BBB as one received three years ago. Likewise, a complaint about a building delivery showing up 20 minutes late is given the same weight as any other complaint filed.