Portland, Ore. — A well-known auto repair shop filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit after the Better Business Bureau gave it an “F” rating.
In the lawsuit, Leif’s Auto Collision Center argues the rating is unfair and the company is being punished because it refused to join the BBB and pay the required membership dues.
Last month, the BBB took the unusual step of publicly announcing that Leif’s had earned an “F” rating.
Background: Leif's gets 'F' rating from BBB
"Leif's does not deserve an F,” said attorney Ryan Bledsoe of Tonkon Torp, who represents Leif’s.
Bledsoe argued the BBB misrepresented the number of complaints against the company.
"Leif's has serviced 130,000 clients over three years and they've received 57 complaints. That is 99.96 percent of customers that did not complain,” said Bledsoe.
The lawsuit argues Leif’s was slapped with an “F” rating because the company refused to pay BBB membership dues.
"The BBB calls Leif's and asks for him to pay his dues. He says ‘No’ and then gets an F,” said Bledsoe. “There is concern about the business practices that the BBB is employing."
The lawsuit points to national news stories that have raised questions about BBB operations, including one news report where Hamas and other fictitious organizations that conducted no business received an A- rating or better after paying membership dues.
“Our ratings, standards and accreditation have never been for sale,” wrote the BBB in a statement to KGW. “Businesses meet our standards first, apply for accreditation and that accreditation will allow you to use our logo through a license agreement.”
The BBB said it stands by the “F” rating for Leif’s because the auto repair company has failed to respond to a pattern of consumer complaints.