Friday, December 13, 2013

BBB Rating Inertia Protects Predatory Businesses, Not the Public



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Anglen, Robert  
Date: Sun, Sep 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM
Subject: Story on camelback consign
To: Glenn Michaels 

Story is in today's paper. Your blog is mentioned prominently in the story. Thanks for all of your help. Here is a link:


For more details, see the blog posts listed at the bottom of the page. 

Updated: 3/23/14

 For Immediate Release

Phoenix, Arizona – Dec. 13, 2013. The BBB, which turned 100 this year, says its mission is “to be a leader in advancing marketplace trust….by,” among other things, “denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.”

The spirit is laudable. The implementation isn’t. Instead of identifying freshly-minted “bad businesses” via its website reviews, it hides the facts.

Between June and October 2013, the Arizona BBB received multiple consumer complaints about bounced checks and failure to pay consignors by the BBB-accredited, central Phoenix consignment store, Camelback Consign and Design, LLC. By Nov. 19, 2013, it had concluded “that the company has not adequately addressed the issues … presented or made a reasonable effort to resolve the dispute,” to complainant and Phoenix resident, Glenn Michaels. It advised him to seek legal recourse. It, in turn, pledged to “update” the firm’s business review on its website “within 24 hours.”

Did said update provide flag the firm as unreliable or provide pertinent information to other consumers? Not at all. Instead, it hid all previously available consumer comments and complaints regarding the firm. The updated review says: !BBB Business Review on Camelback Consign & Design LLC is being Updated by BBB! No Rating On a scale of A+ to F.

“That gobbledygook,” says Michaels, “doesn’t tell me – or most folks – anything useful.”

Confused and concerned that lack of access to meaningful BBB guidance and reliable consumer reporting might produce more yet more victims, Michaels contacted BBB Dispute Resolution Consultant, Marilyn Huffman, for an explanation.

Huffman responded, “When a BBB accredited business or non-accredited business is not meeting the Standards of Trust …we put a business review on "NR" status, which just means "No Rating". It is a courtesy to the business, to give them the chance to make things right, but also lets the consumer know that we are updating/reviewing the business file.”

Michaels, a former B2B communications consultant disagrees.

“Since when does ‘No Rating’ amount to a warning,” he asks? “It reads more like ‘carte blanche’ to me.

“The BBB’s brand credibility makes its business reviews an important resource for consumers. A decision to remove useful guidance that might protect consumers has the perverse and presumably unintended effect of sheltering businesses whose business practices have generated serious complaints, by hiding an existing track record.”

Michaels wanted to know when the review might be completed. Huffman responded, “Unfortunately I am unable to provide an estimated time. This company and their BBB accreditation has been turned over to a different department to address and take action accordingly.”

Michaels says that Camelback Consign and Design, LLC, sold over $15,000 worth of his consigned furniture and antiques, then gave him a check for a small portion of what he is actually owed, in mid September. The check bounced. Three months later, that check was finally made good, thanks, apparently, to a Call 12 for Action volunteer.

Michaels says he is still owed over $7000 for items reported sold and wants an accounting for another 80 items that were neither returned nor reported as sold. Meanwhile, he says countless hours have been invested in trying to obtain payment and return of his prized items.

Other, similar stories used to be available on the BBB website review for Camelback Consign and Design, according to Michaels.

“My only legal recourse is going to court,” says Michaels. “But that won’t protect other folks in need with something precious to sell. That’s where an unequivocal BBB denunciation of substandard marketplace behavior could make a huge difference.”

“’No Rating’ says Michaels, “isn’t a denunciation, it’s more like a white wash of bad behavior. Meanwhile, consumers – consignors in this case – remain at risk. 

Merry Xmas, indeed.

For more information, contact:

Glenn S. Michaels

Mike Burns wasn't born yesterday. He wasn't born on the Fourth of July, either. NOPE. Mike Burns was born on 9/11 in 1952. 
He was destined. 
Don't forget to tip a hat to Ms. Indispensable, Vera Manuz, either. Where would Mike be without her?

I don't know if the truth will set you free. But fuss loud enough with a big 'nough bunch a friends and I swear folks 'll do near anything to get you to shut up. Fast as they can. 

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