BBB study reflects Mediation is more effective than Arbitration in resolving consumer disputes

August 19, 2008

August 12th, 2008 – Columbus Ohio -BBB Serving Central Ohio announces advancements in local mediation program offering business and consumers a faster more flexible way to resolve complaints. BBB’s enhanced program helps eliminate roadblocks to resolving disputes including legally binding dispute resolution processes.

BBB’s new direction and focus on Mediation is in line with the increasing hits mandatory arbitration is taking with the courts. Mediation doesn’t force consumers to give up their right to court, but first, gives the parties in a dispute a meaningful opportunity to collaborate and take into consideration and resolve the business issues and extenuating underlying and peripheral issues.

“ Everyone has the opportunity to speak, raise questions, and we felt we were never pushed into a decision but allowed to act in our own best interests….they (mediators) can help bring two totally opposite sides to a “good place”, BBB consumer survey feedback revealed.

BBB held 52 mediations through May 2008, compared to only 11 mediations for the year in 2007. Since the beginning of 2008 the average days to offer mediation decreased from 76 in January to 30 in May, and the average days to close cases that involve mediation from 74 in January to 32 in May. The overall complaint settlement index has increased from 75% in 2007 to 79% in 2008 through May.

“Our BBB dispute resolution just took a huge advancement in the modern marketplace because we’ve integrated mediation, offered mediation sooner, held more mediations, and improved our overall complaint settlement index. This is part of our goal to increase the quality, value and accuracy of our BBB dispute resolution.” Said Kip Morse, BBB President.

Surveys of business and consumers who participated in meditation show that most would contact BBB in the future and found the experience to be helpful and would recommend to others.

The project was developed and implemented after careful review and experience with the current methodology that is consistent across BBBs. Early evaluation of the mediation processes involved BBBs application and acceptance as an externship site for Capital University Law School’s 2- year Mediation Certificate program. Externs gathered and analyzed mediation information from the BBB system to determine and overcome obstacles for program expansion. They also worked with BBB as mediation consultants, joining a pool of volunteer mediators handling mediations along with BBB staff.

BBB’s focus on enhanced mediation processes in 2008 is reflected in the decrease in the average number of days to close cases through mediation by 43%, and increased the overall complaint settlement index to 79%. Its implementation has shown a radical shift in BBBs effectiveness and relevancy in the marketplace.

About the BBB

BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 126 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit for more information about BBB.