LOS ANGELES (CN) – An attorney claims the Better Business Bureau of the Southland and the attorney who is its “sole shareholder and officer” give bad ratings to businesses that refuse to pay for “accreditation” or threaten its monopoly on ratings services. Chance Gordon sued BBB of the Southland, William Mitchell, and Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management, in a federal RICO complaint.
“Defendant Southland BBB provides to the consumer access to complaint lodged by prior dissatisfied customers, which to its credit is a tremendous public service and absolutely protected activity,” Gordon says in his 27-page complaint. “However, it is defendant Southland BBB’s rating system of non-member businesses and the underhanded conduct of defendant Mitchell’s participation on defendant Southland BBB’s Trustlink Website that has caused defendant Southland BBB to run afoul of the law.”
Southland BBB rates businesses from A to F, and “touts this rating system as being completely objective, and historically this was the truth,” Gordon claims. However, since defendant Mitchell has taken the helm of defendant Southland BBB, he has used what was supposed to be an objective algorithm of the quality of services rendered by a business, as a weapon in which to: (1) punish businesses that do not pay the exorbitant feed demanded by defendant Mitchell for membership in defendant Southland BBB; (2) run businesses which compete with businesses owned or controlled by defendant Mitchell into ruination; and (3) in order to direct business to defendant Springboard.”
Gordon claims that Mitchell holds a financial interest in Springboard and was one of its original founders, more than 30 years ago.
“In most instances, a business who is a non-member and has received complaint will on average receive two grades less than a business that has paid for its ‘accreditation’ from defendant Southland BBB,” the complaint states. “Furthermore, in testimony from prior litigation, defendant Mitchell has admitted that he personally applies the rating system based upon his whim, personal interests, and desires.”
Gordon adds: “Defendant Mitchell has a direct and pecuniary financial interest in the revenues of defendant Springboard. As a result, any business which shares this field of practice is a direct target of defendant Mitchell. One such business is the one that is operated by plaintiff.”
Gordon says he complained to Mitchell about his allegedly unfair tactics, and that “In late August of 2010, plaintiff once again challenged defendant Mitchell, pointing out the multiple conflicts of interest, fraud, and corruption, which connected defendants in this action. In retaliation, defendant Southland BBB gave plaintiff an ‘F’ rating.”
Gordon demands damages for RICO violations, interference with prospective economic advantage and Business Code violations, and an injunction. He represents himself.