What If the Business and Consumer Can’t Resolve a Complaint and BBB Can’t Confidently Say the Business Has Resolved the Issue?

June 26, 2012

Last year a consumer contacted BBB about replacement windows that had been installed in her house.  She reported that the screens on the windows did not fit and there had been damage to one of the frames.  The company had sent out a manufacturer’s representative twice before replacing the damaged window. Unfortunately, when the screens were replaced, they still did not fit.  It was at that point, 13 months after the purchase, that the consumer came to BBB.

We sent the complaint to the company and received a reply two days later.  The manufacturer had sent the wrong product out twice, but the company believed that the last effort had corrected all problems and the issue was resolved.  The consumer disagreed, saying that the screens did not fit and the installer had taken the screens back with him.    A month later the company reported again that all issues had been resolved, and again the consumer reported that the screens were not completely installed and the installer had damaged the framing while installing one of the screens.

We continued to work with both parties with several disagreements about whether or not the job was complete.  New information came back to us with accusations by both sides of who was responsible for the damage to window frames and the difficulty of reaching each other.  Finally, four months after receiving the complaint, the consumer told us she wanted her money refunded as the job had been wrong from the beginning.  She felt she had paid for new screens and was receiving repaired screens.  The company said they had ordered new screens at their expense, three times.

BBB asked the business to arbitrate the complaint and the business agreed.   We contacted the consumer who also agreed to accept an arbitrator’s decision.  The arbitration was held six weeks later with a resulting arbitrated decision.

Because arbitration is confidential, only the parties involved and the program administrator know the outcome of the arbitration, so we can’t report on the final decision.

What we do know is:
• There has been a final resolution to the problem and both parties have been able to put it behind them
• Regardless of the outcome, we report it as a resolved complaint
• Because the company is an accredited business, there was no charge for the arbitration
• Unlike most court hearings, the arbitration was scheduled quickly and the results are confidential

If you have questions about arbitration, feel free to give us a call at 804-648-0030.  It’s a benefit of your BBB accreditation.