March 27, 2007 8:23 AM PDT

Kodak leaves Better Business behind

Eastman Kodak has formally resigned from the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the company has confirmed.

The CBBB is an umbrella of the Better Business Bureau nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, joined by companies who want to foster fair-business practices between consumers and companies. It counts more than 300 national corporations as members.

The CBBB says Kodak left because it was about to be expelled for not adhering to its standards.

"We notified Kodak in February that we felt like we had no choice but to initiate expulsion based on their refusal to participate in the complaint process. Rather than go through expulsion, Kodak decided to resign," said Steve Cox, vice president of communications at the CBBB.

Kodak said it left the organization because it did not like the way the BBB was handling consumer complaints concerning its digital cameras.

"After years of unproductive discussions with the local office regarding their Web site postings about Kodak, which in our view were consistently inaccurate, we came to the conclusion that their process added no value to our own," Brian O'Connor, the chief privacy officer at Eastman Kodak, said in a statement.

"Better than spending time attempting to get the BBB to update their Web site, we would prefer to use that time meeting the needs of our customers," O'Connor said.

Kodak had left the local New York chapter of the CBBB a few years ago. Its formal resignation from the national CBBB, which was effective in February, is significant in that Kodak was one of its founding members in 1971.

Cox said Kodak refused to answer complaints forwarded to it by the BBB, one of the organization's 13 required standards for CBBB members. Whether Kodak responded to its customers to their satisfaction, as the company claims it did, is simply unknown to the CBBB because it did not go through BBB channels, Cox said.

Kodak cited its positive ranking in J.D. Power and Associates' Digital Camera Satisfaction Study as proof that the company is accomplished in customer satisfaction.

See more CNET content tagged:
Better Business Bureau, Eastman Kodak Co., standards, organization, digital camera


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BBB Rating System
I do not know if the BBB has changed its tune, but when I started
my own business a few years ago, all it took was money to become
a BBB member. I found little need/credibility to its offerings. And
when I cruised the BBB database, I found a car dealer that I knew
still listed...years after his dealership was closed.
Posted by clintbradford--2008 (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
BBB Rating
First of all, the BBB has never hidden the fact that it's a membership organization. Joining is not just a matter of "paying money" - you have to meet the standards, too. Why do you think Kodak was about to get kicked out?

Second of all, what do you mean by "listed"? The BBB lists thousands of companies, and company records stay in place for years. Just because a company goes out of business doesn't mean that there isn't value to the public in having it "listed."
Posted by mhick (6 comments )
Link Flag
All it took was money
I seriously doubt that. More likely, they make new businesses jump through less hoops.
Posted by zboot (168 comments )
Link Flag
BBB is o.k
I think the BBB is a good way for consumers to really get ahold of a company, however it is not necessarily effective. I personally have had a couple of dealings with companies thru the BBB that turned sour even when I was in the right. Nothing prevents a company from saying 'we dont care'.
Posted by BeamerMT (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Money trumps ethics
It took years and thousands of complaints to the Maryland BBB to downgrade the scum at International Library of Photography.

Better business, indeed. Bah!
Posted by NoVista (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Let's Be Realistic: Both Are Probaby At Fault
There are NUMEROUS stories / complaints about how the BBB has mistakenly "said" businesses were better or worse than they actually were and the bureaucratic nightmare it takes to >>sometimes<, get them to FIX it. Kodak doesn't have a spotless record addressing their problems either; a simple search on google proves this. My guess is that they probably both fell short on reporting and addressing one another's issues.
Posted by rishidan (8 comments )
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