The role of the Better Business Bureau is that of an unbiased third party seeking voluntary resolution of reasonable consumer complaints. It is a basic policy of the Better Business Bureau that consumers first attempt to resolve any dispute directly with the business involved. If then the matter cannot be resolved, the Better Business Bureau will attempt to bring about a resolution using techniques of communication through correspondence.
The process is as follows:
Conciliation: Upon receipt of a complaint, the Better Business Bureau will forward a copy to the company concerned for its review and reply. The company is provided a deadline of three weeks to respond to the BBB in writing however, if a response is not received within two weeks, a second request or follow-up will be made. When a written response is received, the BBB forwards a copy to the complainant to determine if the complaint has been resolved or if further assistance is required. If the complainant is seeking more information or is dissatisfied with the company’s response, the company may be contacted for a further response. If the complaint cannot be resolved through this process, the BBB may propose mediation or arbitration to both parties as an alternative to resolve the complaint.
Mediation: Mediation is an informal process in which a qualified third party, the mediator, helps the parties resolve their differences. The mediator offers guidance in order to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution. This type of agreement works because the parties in dispute make the final resolution themselves.
Arbitration: Arbitration is an informal process where both parties must agree to an arbitrator making a legally, binding decision. The arbitrator will allow each party to present their respective sides and introduce relevant evidence. The procedure is fast, fair and an economical alternative to court.