BBB’s Dan Parsons entertaining speaker at Highlands Rotary

HIGHLANDS – Do you want good news, or bad? Dan Parsons, President of Houston’s Better Business Bureau, brought both in his lively talk at the Rotary lunch last week.

The good news is that the Houston Better Business Bureau is an advocate for the consumer, and for businesses. This means they walk a “delicate balancing act” between the two parties, helping facilitate disputes and business decisions.

Last year, the BBBHouston received over 30,000 complaints, and resolved most of them. The BBB has over 9000 members, so this is not a disproportionate amount of problems. In addition, nationally the organization receives over 1,500,000 monthly inquiries for information about businesses, Parsons said.

He said the bureau works on the goals of being relevant and helpful in today’s business climate, which he noted has begun to improve. A new rating system for member companies is being studied, giving A to F grades to businesses based on an algorithm of facts, such as size, age, type of business, and complaints.

The bad news is that the bureau gets many reports of fraud and irregular business practices, which they try to resolve. After Hurricane Ike, many “storm chaser” contractors showed up, cheating local residents. Another problem he warned about, is that many white collar financial criminals have now served their 10 year federal sentences, and should be back in the work force soon, probably scheming even more than before because of what they learned in prison.

In closing, he warned that everyone falls for a fraud scheme at some point, so be cautious and skeptical, and call the BBB if you need help or information.