The Better Busines Bureau is a longstanding nonprofit specializing in consumer protection. The agency ranks businesses on a scale from A+ through F. Disneyland, supposedly the “Happiest Place on Earth,” has an F. What is that about?
So Many Complaints
Disney is not Better Business Bureau accredited. It’s racked up over 100 complaints in 2021 alone. Most of these complaints concern problems with a product or service. In reality, that means a lot of COVID-19 and cost complaints. Tickets to Disneyland are notoriously expensive, so this isn’t really a surprise. One user complained about “bait and switch tactics” brought on from a lottery system.
Disney appears responsive in the comments, with just about every complaint at least getting addressed. Some are satisfactory, though some demand restitution. A business as large as Disney is going to attract complaints, but a rating of F should signify a business to be avoided at all costs… right?
All Just A Racket?
Over the 2010s, the Better Business Bureau has attracted criticism for pay-to-play practices. ABC News did a piece proving businesses that paid membership fees would automatically receive an A+ rating, while F’s were dolled to those who wouldn’t play ball. One business owner put it simply: “they’re more interested in the money than their credibility.”
The Ritz-Carlton and Disneyland are nonmembers. In 2010, both had F ratings. Wolfgang Puck, who worked at Ritz Carlton at the time, said “if you become a member… [they think] you should get an A. But if you don’t pay, it’s very difficult to get an A.” After this bombshell, the Better Business Bureau claims it has changed its practices.
Fast forward to 2022, and some have changed. The Ritz-Carlton is still not accredited, but many of its California locations do have an A+ rating. Disney still has an F for not just Disneyland, but Disney World in Florida as well. It still doesn’t pay its accreditation fees, so perhaps not too much has changed.
Is It Just A Parks Issue?
Perhaps the problem isn’t with Disney, but with the amusement park industry as a whole. Nearby Knott’s Berry Farm holds a D- rating, but Universal Studios Hollywood B. These ratings are dolled by local chapters, so who knows what criteria they’re formally using.
It sure looks like Disney could boost its rating if it decided to pay, but at the end of the day, it’s going to make money despite itself. Disney parks rake in billions a year with or without a high rating from the Better Business Bureau.