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Just Filed a Complaint with the BBB, What Happens Next?
Did you know that the Better Business Bureau is not a government agency? Nope, it is a nonprofit regulatory agency, where consumers and accredited business can submit complaints. Consumers can also submit customer reviews even if they don’t have an actual complaint. However, the consumer must have had a proven market transaction with the business before the review can post. Yes, they will verify.
Did you know that each Bureau is its own entity? Yes, that’s right. Each Better Business Bureau is its own entity; kind of like a franchise. They are all regulated by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Each Bureau works together to foster honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers, handling thousands of consumer complaints per year. Some BBBs also have an alternative dispute resolution program where parties involved can attend mediation or binding arbitration for free or at a small fee.
The Complaint Process
There are there are several ways to submit a complaint; online at BBB website, via email, by fax, U.S. mail, or showing up to submit one at the office in person. Complaints are never accepted over the phone. They must be submitted in writing. They also do not accept anonymous complaints.
Once a complaint has been submitted, it is then reviewed and forwarded to the company.
Keep in mind that the BBB is not a regulatory agency. They are a reporting agency. For many businesses that aren’t accredited, they do not have to provide a response to the BBB. If the business does not respond the complaint, it will close as no response and this will be reflected in the business rating on the BBB website. If the business does respond to complaint the complaint can close in the following ways:
Answered, Resolved, or Unresolved.
Have you ever filed a complaint with the BBB?
Complaints that Cannot be Processed
Some complaint cannot be processed by the BBB. Below is a list of complaints that cannot be processed.
- Purchases made more than 365 days ago
- Landlord/tenant disputes
- Employee/business disputes
- Discrimination claims
- Civil Rights claims
- Allegations of criminal acts
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases
- Claims already tried in a court of law
- Cases that are already in litigation
- Business to business complaints for collection purposes
- Companies that are out of business
- Issues based solely on dissatisfaction with a company's price
- Buyers remorse
- Seeking an apology
When the complaint is forwarded to the business, the business then has 10 days to respond. Once a response is received, the consumer then has 10 days to provide a rebuttal. So on and so forth.
If a business is an accredited business and a complaint is not resolved through the normal complaint process, a consumer or the business can request mediation or arbitration.
Was your complaint successfully resolved?
Mediation and Arbitration FAQs
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the mediation and arbitration process.
What is mediation?
Mediation consists of a neutral party guiding the parties to reach a resolution.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration consists of a neutral party that will make a decision regarding dispute based upon the statements and/documents/proof provided by the parties.
Is the mediator or arbitrator a BBB employee?
All mediators and arbitrators are non-BBB employed neutral, third party volunteers from the community. Some are attorneys, all are professional, experienced, and certificated.
Will it reflect on the BBB business rating?
A complaint scheduled for mediation or arbitration that has been resolved will not reflect on the BBB business rating.
May I bring someone with me?
Yes. Witnesses and legal representation are welcomed. They must be present at the commencement of the hearing. Please let us know in advance if additional persons will be present so that we can make proper accommodations.
How long does a hearing usually take?
Mediation usually takes an average of 2 hours while arbitration usually takes an average of 3 hours.
When would the hearing be scheduled?
Arbitrations are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday at 10:30am only. Mediations are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. Unfortunately, we do not schedule hearings for Monday or Friday.
May I teleconference for the hearing?
Consumers may teleconference only if they are located outside of the Houston Metro area. The company or a representative must be present for the hearing.
Is there anything I need to do prior to the hearing?
You will need to confirm your attendance. If it is scheduled for arbitration, you will need to complete, sign, and return your agreement to arbitrate. Make sure to complete the sections labeled “Nature of Dispute” and “Desired Resolution”. For mediation you need only reply in writing that you will be attending.
Benefits of BBB Mediation and Arbitration
It's FREE. At least it is for accredited businesses and their clients and consumers.
Having someone to hear you out on your concerns and issues.
A neutral party, which is a non-BBB employee, gets to assist you in resolving your complaint.