A Hard Target Answers All Complaints

In 2013 alone, there were 894,868 consumer complaints submitted to the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”).  The BBB gives free reviews on over 4 million companies, and has the distinct ability to affect your company’s capacity to do business.  The BBB grades a business based on letter grades (A+ through F), and prides itself on enabling consumers to find trustworthy businesses.  While each business has its flaws, you can minimize the BBB’s influence by responding to consumer complaints in a timely fashion.

Answering all BBB complaints with a legal basis for your company’s activities is extremely beneficial.  BBB ratings depend on a number of factors, including whether complaints have been resolved timely or whether the business has demonstrated a good faith effort to resolve complaints.  See Letter-Grade Rating System FAQs (found at: http://delaware.bbb.org/ ratings-faq/.)  Additionally, the BBB takes into account whether your business is in violation of the law, the extent to which the BBB is able to develop a clear understanding of the business, and the number of unresolved complaints.  In total, the BBB takes into account 16 factors in determining a business rating.

By responding to complaints quickly and efficiently, you put the onus back on the complainant to justify their position.  By backing up your response with the legality of your actions, the complainant has a difficult time responding logically.  Moreover, putting your business and the interactions it had with the complainant in clear language will allow the BBB to see your side of the dispute, and eventually determine that the complaint is resolved.  Therefore, it is imperative that your business answer each complaint.

By failing to respond to a complaint, you are putting your business in jeopardy.  When your company decides not to respond, the complainant may take legal action.  This action may be in the form of a private action, where the complainant sues your business.  In more cases than not, however, it will be in the form of a Department of Justice (“DOJ”) or Attorney General (“AG”) action.  Depending on the state your business is located in, the DOJ or AG could revoke licensing, certificates, or approvals for your company to do business.  See, e.g. State of California Department of Consumer Affairs Resource and Referral Guide, pg. 15 (found at: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/guide/ ref_guide.pdf.)  Further, these agencies could give a complainant valuable ammo for a private complaint.  Therefore, answering BBB, DOJ, and AG complaints is a preventative measure, ensuring your business continues to obtain clients and is a hard target for costly litigation.

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