St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 26, 2013 – Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois is the winner of this year’s “Myers Memorial Award” from the Council of Better Business Bureaus. St. Louis BBB also won two “Outstanding BBB Awards” for Best Charity Review program and Best Conciliation and Arbitration program.
The Myers Award, which includes a $10,000 honorarium, is named for BBB veterans Jerry Myers and his son, John Myers. It recognizes exceptional examples of BBB operations, such as advertising review, investigations, charity review, trade practice initiatives and education projects that result in meaningful and effective information that helps consumers make informed choices in the marketplace. The awards were presented Tuesday at the 2013 International Assembly of BBBs in Austin, Texas.
St. Louis BBB was recognized for its role in forming the Consumer Fraud Task Force, a coalition of local, state and federal government agencies and nonprofit business and consumer groups in Missouri and Illinois that work together to protect consumer and donor rights and guard against fraud. The award also recognized the task force’s impact.
Since it was formed a decade ago, task force members have focused on the marketing of questionable auto service contracts as well as informing the public about frauds that include fake ticket sales, foreign lotteries and sweepstakes as well as online “sweetheart swindles” and deceptive free trial offers.
Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO, said that receiving the prestigious Myers award underscores the important role the BBB plays in exposing bad business practices and promoting self-regulation of business to increase marketplace trust.
“We are dedicated to helping consumers make informed business decisions and to warning them about actual or potential fraud,” Corey said. “Just as important is our role in upholding high standards for business ethics among BBB Accredited Businesses and other firms in our region.”
The award for Best BBB Charity Review program recognizes St. Louis BBB’s recent development of an online charity evaluation tool, which streamlines the application process for charities to meet BBB Standards for Charity Accountability, shaving several hours from the time required to complete an application. The tool was made available for other BBBs for evaluation of their local charities.
St. Louis BBB began evaluating charities in 2002, and its charity evaluations have helped tens of thousands of donors become more informed about the charities they support. In addition to the 193 charities now earning BBB Accredited Charity status, BBB has investigated and warned the public about questionable practices by some charities.
The award for Best BBB Conciliation and Arbitration program focused on the BBB’s role in helping consumers and businesses reach a mutually acceptable resolution of complaints. BBB mediators, including volunteer law students from Washington University School of Law, step in only after the BBB’s first attempt at assisting consumers and businesses to resolve complaints has failed. Mediators serve as intermediaries in the process, making phone calls, requesting documentation to support each party’s position and relaying proposed solutions between companies and consumers.
The award also recognizes the BBB’s work with Professor C.J. Larkin at the law school to improve its training program for mediators, resulting in an improved resolution rate for marketplace related disputes brought to the BBB’s attention.
Consumers are urged to contact the BBB at 314-645-3300 or www.bbb.org, for a BBB Business Review before doing business with any company or charity.