Mr. Speaker and fellow Members of Congress,
I want to alert you to a matter of concern that I have regarding business owners and their employees, particularly small business owners, within our country. This problem has been told to me by some of my constituents and is a problem about which business owners throughout the country have written to you.
We are a nation that is built upon the rule of law. This has assured a system of accountability for our conduct as individuals, businesses and institutions. Congress, as elected representatives, meets and acts to improve
and refine the system in order to protect the people and their property. The foundation as
framed by our nation’s founders in the Constitution is the concept of due process and the right thereof. We each have the assurance that the law protects our person and property
from libelous, slanderous, and otherwise tortuous interference with our reputation or business. Unfortunately, I have learned that we have within our country a private organization that with the appearance of being quasi-governmental and without any legal or regulatory oversight and control can libel and slander
and tortuously interfere with a small business. They can do so with virtual immunity. This organization is the National Better Business Bureau and their franchise local Better Business Bureaus. At times, some of these bureaus
classify small business owners as unsatisfactory, libel and slander them with opinion and innuendo, and provide them no due process to correct the problem. If sued in court, they argue qualified immunity under the guise of the public good. No one disputes the right of a Better Business Bureau to print facts. It is when they print falsehoods, opinion, or negative innuendo that a mechanism for redress or correction must be assured.
When closely examined, however, one finds that there are Better Business Bureaus that arbitrarily and capriciously exclude and negatively classify those they don’t like. They also frequently rate companies with terrible records as being satisfactory. No written guidelines or rules are available that require the Better Business Bureau to adhere to any legal standard in their dealings with business. (With the internet, the conduct of one local Better Business Bureau is then taken as true and disseminated everywhere.) The Better Business Bureaus also charge money for these reports. They make money without responsibility for how they make it. Why are they above the law and other businesses?
On a first-hand basis, I recently inquired of the National Better Business Bureau regarding the process and I was met with hostility and rebuke. Prominent members of my community who tried to ascertain information about how to redress a concern with a local Better Business Bureau were hung up on by senior ranking National Better Business Bureau employees.
The process I have described is not in the public’s best interest. It is not appropriate for us to allow our business owners and their employees, the men and women who make our
country strong, to be exposed to this arbitrary and capricious process. A right to redress the actions of the Better Business Bureau when libelous, slanderous, arbitrary, or capricious action is apparent is a fundamental right we
To See the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD—Extensions of Remarks made by
HON. CORRINE BROWN OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Can also be found At: http://bbbthetruth.com/florida-congressional-record-on-BBB-E1550.pdf