It’s a fact of life that not all transactions between consumers and businesses go smoothly. Complaints happen. How those disputes are handled, however, can make the difference between a happy consumer and an unhappy consumer.
One of the best ways to avoid the possibility of a complaint is to do your research before point of purchase. Research the company, the product, the service and return policies. Check Better Business Bureau® Business Reviews to see if the company in question has a history of complaints and if they were resolved.
The next best way to avoid disputes is to get everything in writing and to make sure you’ve read the entire document, including the fine print. If you don’t understand something, it’s your responsibility to ask questions.
If after doing due diligence you still end up with a dispute, BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming advises that you first try to come to a resolution directly with the company. The following tips should help:
Contact the business owner or manager and communicate your concerns rationally. Don’t become emotional, use foul language or make threats.
If there’s a contract, review the details. Sometimes it’s the consumer who has erred.
Organize your paper trail – i.e. keep your receipts – to substantiate your side of the dispute.
Should these steps not work, consider filing a complaint with your BBB, which acts as a neutral third party to work with consumers and businesses toward resolving complaints. If agreement cannot be reached, the parties involved may elect to go to arbitration. In this situation, the business and customer present their cases to an independent third party who renders a decision that is enforceable in court.
Another option is to take the case to small claims court. While the maximum amount that can be claimed differs from state to state, court procedures are generally simple, inexpensive, quick and informal. Court fees are minimal, and you often get your filing fee back if you win your case. Typically, you will not need a lawyer.
Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit bbb.org.