"We have a real dyslectic job around here... we are here for consumer protection and we are here to promote good business. We can't win."
Sitting in the large conference room of the Better Business Bureau's office, 1333 West Loop S., bureau president Dan Parsons looks tired after a long day at the office, where he has made his business the business of others since 1983.
From consumer complaints to the advocacy of business in the metropolitan Houston area, Parsons has had much on his plate since taking the reins in 2002, a job the president says isn't always easy.
"We are a business association, supported by the businesses to support the consumer and business," Parson said. "We have to walk a very balanced line."
Earlier this month, Parsons met with Sun reader Marcia Kushner to discuss a complaint associated with her nearly four year old defective home, built by Legend Homes, a BBB member.
While Parsons did not deny Kushner's plight, he did say Legend had few complaints.
"I am not saying that this hasn't happened to others, or that it isn't a cyclical problem, but as homebuilders go, [Legend] doesn't look real bad," Parsons said.
However, the bureau president did cite a BBB statistic claiming for every one complaint the organization receives, there are twenty problems never reported.
From KB Homes to David Weekley to Royce and Perry, Parsons said the growing trend in building new, damaged and defective homes, however, is a problem which the BBB is looking at.
"Something very bad is going on and for the first time, I am starting to wonder whether we are going to be able to keep homebuilders as members," Parsons said.
"Don't get me wrong, there are still some big builders who are making good homes, but...I think there are a lot of homes being built and some homebuilders are cutting corners."
Already barring credit repair services and sexual-oriented businesses, a regulated industry, from membership in metropolitan Houston's BBB, Parsons said changes are likely forthcoming as more complaints mount against homebuilders.
"I am sitting here on top of one of the biggest industries in the area, looking at all the problems we are having with them, and a year from today, we could have a ban on builders at this BBB. I don't know, but its coming," Parsons said.
In 2003, after homebuilders successfully lobbied the state legislator for a new state agency to protect them against lawsuits, the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) was formed.
Since the TRCC's inception, Parsons said nothing but problems and issues have arose, sending the commission's advocates down on the president's favorable list.
"This TRCC act came as a stealth act," Parsons said.
"Our mandate on the TRCC is that it is the law, but it is not a good law. We don't like laws like this; we want businesses to play fair."
Furthermore, Parsons said the TRCC hurts the good builders left in the industry.
"Half the builders hate that law. They saw some of the zealots start to affect their industry, not because they were bad but because other builders were bad," Parsons said.
"It is a terrible law. It is interesting that you look at the homebuilders who backed the TRCC law have gone south with us-Weekley, Royce and Perry."
While glancing out the window of the conference room to the Houston skyline, Parsons predicts the TRCC will be heavily scrutinized in the next session of the legislator due to "improper execution".
"They formed a state entity in the year there was a budget deficit in this state. That's unheard of!" Parsons exclaimed.
"I think you will find, in the next session of the legislator, there will be a major fight in the legislator over this, regardless of what administration is in power."
Considering the BBB's mission, the president sighed, citing difficulties when one of Houston's largest industries is declining in quality.
"In 1980, General Motors were building cars that were awful. Look at people building the shuttles-how do you put an O-ring on without blowing up the shuttle? Now, we have builders who are cutting corners or leaving houses incomplete," Parsons said.
"We are trying to be non-partial, but we're stuck."
For more information on the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston, visit their website at www.bbbhou.org or call 713-868-9500 or 800-275-3626.
Following up on the story of Sun reader Marcia Kushner's struggle with Legend Homes, Kushner said she filed her official complaint with the BBB last week and is awaiting Legend's move on the matter.
Stay with the Sun for complete coverage on Kushner's story.
Brandon De Hoyos can be reached at