I believe that joining your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) chapter is a great way to establish another communication path with your customers and suppliers. Are there any good legal reasons not to join the BBB and their dispute resolution processes?
I have not had much experience with the BBB, but I have had to respond to several customer complaints for clients. There is no real dispute resolution process at BBB. The customer files a complaint and the business is given the opportunity to respond and address the complaint, but BBB does not impose any penalty or sanction, other than to note the complaint in the business’ Reliability Report. This is directly from the BBB Web site:
“I filed a complaint with BBB, but the business did not respond. What does this mean?
When BBB receives a complaint, we present the complaint to the business and request its assistance in resolving the problem. Most businesses are happy to work with us. Many are grateful for the opportunity to redeem a customer relationship, and BBB Accredited Businesses must respond to complaints or risk losing their accredited business status.
However, some businesses do not want to work together to resolve complaints. BBB is not a government or law enforcement agency and cannot force a reply from a business or administer sanctions. However, a business’ unwillingness to respond will be noted in the business’ BBB Reliability Report, and the customer is free to pursue alternatives such as legal action.”
Joining BBB is an individual decision. Some areas may have more participation and for competitive reasons you may want to join. Getting an additional layer before a lawsuit may also be helpful. Be careful what you write in response to a BBB request; it’s not likely that response is confidential and it can be used later in a lawsuit.