One Way To Get Into The Better Business Bureau: Sue Its Ass Off

After cleaning up its long history of customer complaints, a local moving company is trying to get back in Houston's chapter of the Better Business Bureau. Their method: a big fat lawsuit.

Student Movers, Inc. is suing the local BBB in Harris County District Court for more than $6 million, claiming the bureau engaged in deceptive trade practices and disparagement.

According to the complaint, Student Movers reached out to the BBB five years ago to try to rejoin. The BBB responded by telling the company that it had to resolve all existing customer complaints still on file for the past three years. The company did so. Then, according to the lawsuit, the BBB told Student Movers it needed to settle all complaints for the past six years. Once more, the company did, but the BBB then told them they needed to resolve complaints for the last 10 years. Again, when the company did so, they were still denied entry, against the agency's own published protocol for membership, the lawsuit states

Student Movers also accuses the BBB of repeatedly publishing false information in order to harm the business, and that when company officials called to complain about the misleading statements, the bureau corrected them.

Despite the accusations and the lawsuit, Houston BBB President Dan Parsons sounds up-beat..

"We're pretty confident in winning," he tells Hair Balls, "but we may be able to negotiate a deal if [the company] is willing to, if wanting to get in the bureau is really the root of their cause."

Parsons says he'd consider letting the company in so long as it understood what is expected of a good member.

"We get companies that have brought their record back to being fine," he says, "but at the end of the day we're not sure they get it. But please understand, we're not doing it just to dismiss the case. We don't work that way."

To prove it, Parsons says he would make Student Movers pay his attorney's fees if a deal to let the company back in is struck.


Because, he says, filing a lawsuit "is not the way you get our attention."

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Chris Vogel
Contact: Chris Vogel