Ask Amy: How to get help when dealing with a bad business

Before you buy just about anything these days you probably check the reviews. Are you getting the best information when looking around? Or, what about if you need help dealing with a bad business? We are looking into what you need to know about backgrounding a business with the Better Business Bureau.

100 Years of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston

The BBB is the original review site, but now there are dozens of ways to check out or get help when you’re having a dispute with a business and you should check as many as you can. We sat down with the President of the Houston (South Texas) Better Business Bureau to talk about how to get the most out of the company’s website.

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

How is the BBB different from other review websites?

Unlike a Google or Yelp review every complaint and review on the BBB is verified before it’s posted, so you know the person posting was actually a customer. From retail to restaurants, you can see the total number of complaints that a business has received over the last three years.

How the company responds to the customers who made those complaints is part of what determines their grade with the BBB and that is why you have a better chance of getting a response when you file a complaint with the BBB.

“We don’t tell the company you must do this. We’re not in the bid. We’re not judges, we want an answer. Can you talk to your customer? We’re trying to bridge that gap. Yeah. Now, if the firm is one of our accredited businesses, well, we call members, okay, we’re looking with a much heavier filter, because they’re held to a higher standard,” said Dan Parsons, President of BBB Greater Houston and South Texas.

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Here’s how it works when you file a complaint with the BBB

Everything you submit will be forwarded to the business within two business days. The business will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. Complaints are generally closed within 30 days.

Timeline for getting your complaint resolved

  • Complaint is filed.
  • BBB works to get the complaint processed within two business days.
  • Business will be asked to respond in 14 calendar days from the date you filed the complaint. If a response is not received, a follow-up letter will be sent to the business.
  • Consumer will be notified of the business response when the BBB receives it and will be asked to respond.
  • If the business fails to respond, the consumer will be notified. Complaints are generally closed within approximately 30 calendar days from the date filed.
  • If the business responds to a complaint but the customer remains dissatisfied, BBB may request a second response from the business. BBB staff will also consider whether mediation or arbitration should be offered.

Failure to respond to a BBB complaint may have a negative impact on the BBB rating of any business because being responsive to customer complaints is a core element of both BBB Accreditation Standards and BBB Reporting Standards.

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

There’s also the BBB Scam Tracker where you can report fraud and see what else other people are dealing with.

In the full “Ask Amy” episode, you can hear more from Parsons about how the scoring process works and how companies have lost their membership for poor business practices.

(Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Helpful links:

Better Business Bureau

How to file a complaint with the BBB

BBB Scam Tracker

How to check charities

Tips for handling an issue on your own

Do you have an issue or question for me? Email and I’ll work to find answers!

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.