Is The Better Business Bureau Worthless for Contractors?

Every now and again, we have a client contact us because one of their customers made a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and they need it cleared up.  It’s a big dispute, they explain to us, and they don’t want a negative mark with the BBB.

A complaint with the Better Business Bureau is a strange predicament.  To avoid a negative mark with the BBB, all a contractor is really required to do is respond to the complaint.    That’s right, just respond.   It doesn’t matter how right or wrong you or the customer is, if the BBB gets a complaint and a response, they shut the book.

Another problem exists with the BBB’s dispute resolution program, which binds business and consumers with cryptic contract language that – when read completely – usually doesn’t bind anyone at all.   The language is so sloppy that I once had a contractor client stuck having to go through the motions (and expense) of a BBB arbitration, only to get an award that was unenforceable.

All in all, in the age of Yelp! and other online reviewing companies, the BBB has become a bit of a laughing stock.   This article from the Atlantic Wire demonstrates this point literally, as the BBB was caught giving positive reviews to a neo-Nazi group and to Hamas!

The disintegration of the BBB is something for contractors to keep in mind, as it seems the construction industry is still subjected to BBB complaints and heart-ache from time to time.

One License Enough for Joint Ventures in Washington and Oregon

A few months ago, I posted “Joint Ventures and Contractor Licensing – Not A Simple Topic,” which compared the regulation of joint ventures by construction licensing entities in Washington (one party to joint venture requires license) and Louisiana (all parties to joint venture require license).

I completely overlooked a recent change in the Oregon law related to licensing joint ventures.   A change in ORS §701.021 puts Oregon in Washington’s camp insofar as joint ventures are concerned.  Like in Washington, so long as a single member of the joint venture is licensed, the JV entity will be considered licensed.

The change took effect on July 1, 2010.  Read the full text of ORS §701.021 here. Read a great article discussing details of the changed statute from Steward Sokol & Gray LLC here.