To inform, educate and advocate on behalf of consumers and businesses in our service area by providing information, counseling and education in an effort to combat unethical business practices and provide protection from fraudulent schemes through programs, seminars and dispute resolution utilizing and promoting volunteers educated in consumer awareness.
The Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston was founded in 1922 by a group of business owners who wanted to establish a means of self-regulation in an effort to combat unscrupulous business practices as well as providing consumers an avenue to resolve problems with businesses. The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization funded primarily through membership fees obtained from businesses.
In 1970, the Bureau established an Education Foundation as a separate 501©3 nonprofit organization to promote basic consumer awareness. Since the addition of a full-time Executive Director in 1998, the Education Foundation has established four programs with the primary goal of educating and advocating on behalf of consumers to combat unethical business practices and promote consumer awareness.
Program Goals and Needs
1. Silver Sleuth Program – Educating older adults about schemes and scams targeting this vulnerable population and providing information on how to protect themselves and providing one-on-one assistance in resolving problems due to fraudulent business activities.
2. Young Consumer Advocate Program – Youth aged 16 to 22 are educated on their consumer rights, obligations and fraudulent schemes, with an emphasis on gaining the skills necessary to become contributing members of the community.
3. Consumer Awareness 101 – Consumers living on lower incomes are at higher risk for being trapped in a cycle of debt due to their lack of consumer socialization skills. Through a series of presentations individuals learn: a) how to avoid scams and fraudulent business practices; b) consumer rights and misconceptions; c) how to handle their debt; and d) the real cost of doing business through cash-advance loans or rent-to-own companies.
4. Senior Medicare Patrol Project (SMP) – Funded through a federal grant from Administration on Aging, this program uses volunteers to train Medicare beneficiaries about Medicare fraud, abuse and waste and the importance of reporting incidents to Medicare.