When do you call your BBB if you have a concern or complaint?

 One of the most common statements we hear from consumers when they call in to the BBB staff is, “If only I had gotten a business /charity report before I did business.” Of course, this follows a bad encounter that they have after they have done business with less-than-honest people. So, when do you call your BBB? Prior to purchasing or donating.

It takes not more than a minute to find the BBB phone number in the phone book (Fort Wayne at 260.423.4433); (Merrillville at 219.791.9550); (Osceola at 574.675.9315); or (Toll-Free at 1-800-552-4631). It takes about the same amount of time to log on to our Website at www.bbb.org and locate a company that you are considering doing business with. Please take that minute or two. It really can save you a lot of problems in the future. It will also save you from taking more of your time to file a complaint with us.

In addition to a Reliability Report, educate yourself. Know your rights and responsibilities, comparison shop, read contracts, and ask questions before you buy. If an offer sounds too good, it is!

Now, if you get to the complaint stage, remember that our first advice to you will be to try working the issue out with the business. We have a wonderful staff that will assist you, but there are some “ground rules” to keep in the back of your mind:

· Don’t return used goods under the pretense that they are damaged if they are not. Your truthfulness matters and it saves all consumers money. When a business is paying for costs such as this, it does reflect on higher costs for consumers.

· Don’t make unreasonable demands. Respect the business’ right to limit services and products.

· Again, we will ask you to try to resolve the complaint with the business before filing the complaint.

· When filing a complaint, do not use derogatory language or profanity in the complaint.

· Do not threaten the business owner, in general or via a lawsuit.

· Make no racial comments.

· Do not misrepresent the truth.

· No pornography or vulgar contents (yes, we do get this). It is extremely disrespectful, as you might guess.

· Think it out before you write. Remember how you would feel if you opened a letter and it was scathing. Business owners are people too.

· Don’t “make up” a complaint to get something for nothing. This happens and it is unethical and wrong.

· If you call in, do not yell, scream, or swear at the BBB staff member. Remember, they are trying to help you, not hurt you. These individuals work very hard.

· It takes a few days for the complaint process. Be patient. Our staff is very efficient, but they have a lot of work.

· Remember that there are two sides to a story. The BBB does not endorse the consumer or the business. We are an unbiased party who is trying to help both parties with a positive outcome.

· Finally, we will not process complaints if they are abrasive!

If consumers and businesses make contacting the BBB a priority before they purchase or donate, we can help you make an informed decision. And, in the scheme of things today, that is a huge service.

When you see the BBB logo in a place of business, thank them. They are doing you a big favor: 1) trying to do it right and 2) supporting your BBB in offering free services to you! They are, after all, an accredited business, and that means something in today’s business world!