Use the Better Business Bureau complaint and resolution proceedures:


Key advantages to filing a complaint with the BBB:
Steps to filing a complaint with the BBB:
  1. Gather the information you will need:   This includes the name of the business you are complaining about, their phone number, website and address.   Save all papers including receipts, letters or forms you have.
  2. Write out a draft of your complaint:   This will make filing out the BBB online complaint form easier and make your complaint more effective.   For the most effective complaint, follow these tips in drafting the complaint:
    • Write out a simple explanation of your chief complaint.   Avoid complaining about every thing said or done.   If your chief complaint is that a car repair shop did repairs without first telling you how much they would cost and getting your permission, for example, it does not help your complaint to argue that the workers were rude.   The most convincing complaint is one that is simple and straight forward.
    • Briefly describe how the problem arose in chronological order, including the names of any employees you dealt with.
    • Do not try to sound like a lawyer.
    • Briefly explain how the problem affects you financially, personally, etc., and what you have already done to try to solve the problem.
    • Most importantly, in a separate paragraph explain what you expect the company to do to make it right.   Your proposed resolution should be realistic.
  3. Go to the New York BBB complaint website:   Open the BBB complaint website for New York to start your complaint.
  4. Fill in the necessary information:   Answer all questions using the "continue" and "next" buttons to go through the BBB complaint form.   Make sure to include accurate contact information for both you and the business.   Use your written draft complaint to fill in the complaint explanation box.
  5. Wait to hear back from the BBB:   You complaint will be sent by the BBB to the business within 2 days.   The business will have 14 days to respond to your complaint.   Quite often you will be contacted directly by the business to try to work out a solution to your complaint during this time.   The response that the business wants to give to BBB is that they have resolved the issue with you.   If the business does not respond to BBB within 14 days, the BBB will send out a 2nd request.   If they do not hear back from the business within 30 days of the 2nd request, BBB will likely close the complaint and list it as unresolved on their website which may greatly affect any rating or review for the business.   If this happens, your next step would be to sue the business.
  6. Provide any additional information requested:   once the BBB hears back from the business they will send their response to you.   They may also request, by letter or by phone, that you provide additional information or explanation.  Provide additional information as quickly as possible.
  7. Consider the resolution:   At this stage the BBB cannot force either side to accept a specific suggestion.   They may make suggestions, but their suggestions are not binding on you or the business.   If you decide to accept a solution offered by the business, with or without the suggestion of the BBB, the matter will be marked as resolved.   This will usually be placed on the BBB website for that business and will show that the business had a complaint but was able to work out a solution.   You can indicate whether you were satisfied with the solution.
  8. Consider alternatives if you do not want to accept the solution:   If you decide not to accept a solution offered by the business, the BBB may suggest Mediation or Arbitration or the matter will be marked as closed without a resolution.   This will usually be placed on the BBB website for that business and will show that the business had a complaint but either did not offer a solution or offered a solution that you were not willing to accept which may effect the way other consumers view the business before doing business with them.
Mediation:  Unlike arbitration, Mediation is not binding on you or the business you have the complaint with.   The mediator will try to get both sides to agree to a resolution of your complaint through discussion.   If you cannot agree, however, you are free to move on to arbitration or to sue the business.

For more information on the BBB mediation process, see the BBB Mediation information page.

Arbitration: Arbitration is binding.   What that means is that you will be giving up all of your rights to sue the company you are arbitrating with and both you and the company agree to be held responsible for what the arbitrator decides.   The advantages to a BBB arbitration are: The disadvantages to a BBB arbitration are:

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