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Old 11-19-2008, 12:51 PM
 
372 posts, read 793,393 times
Reputation: 126

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I've only used the BBB one time for a complaint, and that was for a business in Utah. My credit card was overcharged for a meal by an apparent typo on the number pad. My credit card company cancelled the payment, but I wasn't satisfied until the business made good. After four unfulfilled promises to make good, I contacted the BBB. Really all they did was write a letter to the business saying that I had made a complaint. The money was quickly refunded and we all moved on.

In the OP's case... did you have a written quote? Were there any change orders that may have raised the contractor's ability to meet the original quote? Did you meet all of your obligations, etc?

I once saw a local woman complaining about a construction company because the her bill for painting was higher than originally quoted. What she failed to mention was that it took her a week to determine color choices, and she had them repaint several rooms multiple times. Obviously contractors can't eat that labor cost, which is no fault of their own.
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,090 posts, read 11,108,728 times
Reputation: 4110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
DELL was giving me the run around when I asked that my written warranty be honored for on-site service. I filed a complaint with my local BBB and Dell contacted me, asked how they could help and replaced my computer... Sure I could have taken DELL to court, but contacting the BBB was much easier, extremely fast and with no out of pocket expense.
Pretty sweet

I think they are good to have, but I think without teeth of forcing the issue they can get swept aside and ignored really easily by unscrupulous companies
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:47 PM
 
11,281 posts, read 46,190,332 times
Reputation: 15235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
My BBB experience is limited to CA.

The BBB in California is certified by the State of California to administer California's version of what is commonly referred to as the "Lemon Law"

The Lemon Law sets up a procedure where a consumer can require Auto Manufacturer's to participate in Binding Arbitration as an alternative means to settle market place disputes.

The Arbitrator(s) decision is final regarding the manufacturer should the consumer accept the decision. The consumer is free to pursue legal action, without prejudice, should the consumer reject the decision. It is truley a win/win for consumers.

I would hardly consider such a valuable service administered by the BBB, at no cost to consumers, worthless.

The Secretary of State can be a valuable resource in dealing with incorporated businesses. Is the OP's Contractor a corporation?

The BBB really came through for me in my Dispute with DELL computer.

DELL was giving me the run around when I asked that my written warranty be honored for on-site service. I filed a complaint with my local BBB and Dell contacted me, asked how they could help and replaced my computer... Sure I could have taken DELL to court, but contacting the BBB was much easier, extremely fast and with no out of pocket expense.
I'm really sorry, Ultrarunner ... that you're so stuck in a rut of worthless examples that have no relevance to the OP's problems with a contractor that you simply cannot see where you're taking the conversation.

To begin with, CA's Lemon Law is well enforced by the dealer licensing board. You could have obtained your result of binding arbitration after your dissatisfaction with a dealer by simply making contact with the dealer board. The BBB has simply found an avenue to try to make themselves of value to the community, but is merely duplicating that which is already in place and available to you at no cost.

Your difficulty with a product and them honoring a service contract with a computer manufacturer, in your case, DELL .... is laughable on the face of it in that you felt obliged to contact the BBB to obtain service. As a company, DELL knows that they live or die on customer satisfaction with their products, and that a dissatisfied customer is sure to tell many others about their experience. Knowing the customer service end of the computer business as I do (with relatives and my children working at MSoft and friends or clients working at other computer hardware suppliers) ... I have little doubt that you accomplished any more through the BBB than would have been done by contacting their customer reps. DELL is a very reputable outfit, and sensitive to even adverse reviews or letters published in the geek press or finding their way to Consumer Reports (or similar consumer pub's).

The OP's problems with a contractor fall well outside of your examples, and squarely into the domain of which the BBB is "essentially worthless". Especially when the OP identifies that the contractor is NOT a member of the BBB and has NOT been responsive to their contacts.

Again, I'm happy that you're happy with your results through the BBB. But they're simply not applicable to the OP's problem.

Oh, and the Secretary of State has nothing to do with how the contractor conducts it's business beyond being sure that they have filed their corporate/business paperwork and paid their fees and taxes in accordance with the state laws. Unless their behavior is in violation of those issues, which doesn't appear to be the OP's problem with this contractor, the SOS has no interest in this problem. Even the licensing for the contractor may not be interested in the problem unless they have applicable state laws to estimates and change orders as part of the contractor's license. Most states license boards are only interested in the technical proficiency and familiarity/compliance with building codes applicable to their trade/craft. So, you may "wish" that all these state agencies have jurisdiction or control of the contractor's behavior in the OP's problem, but they don't. This really comes down to a civil/contract dispute between the contractor and the client ... and again, the BBB is worthless here if one or the other party doesn't want to come to their table. From the OP's report, that's what is going on here with the contractor.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:38 PM
 
27,236 posts, read 55,635,195 times
Reputation: 21493
I concede that we will find no agreement on whether the BBB is a worthless organization or not...

What is indisputable is the BBB can and does get results at no cost to the consumer in some cases.

The Secretary of State's Office under March Fong Yu was very helpful in my dispute with a Structural Pest Control Contractor. The Contractor filed a lien on my property when I refused to pay for the additional charges above the bid... additional cost that I didn't authorize and for which no change order was issued. Total authorized repairs $22,000, unauthorized $2100.

I checked with March Fong Yu's office and found the Contractor, a corporation, was doing Business, i.e. Business Cards, Estimates and Invoices using a Business Name not registered with the her office. I contacted the contractor's lawyer and demanded the lien be lifted because the contractor's business had no standing in this State under name used. The attorney said it was a minor filing error... BUT agreed and advised the client to remove the lien without any additional payment above the original bid.

I will have to defer to you and your knowledge of the computer industry. I know next to nothing about computers and have no industry experience, other than end user. I do know I wasted many hours with DELL Customer Service and I was becoming increasingly frustrated talking to people in India that said they didn't have the authority to authorize an on-site visit under the in-home repair plan I paid for.... once I made my complaint through the BBB, DELL was calling me and it wasn't from India.

In California, the BBB arbitration program is the only certified program for many manufacturers... General Motors and Volkswagen's CA programs are administered by the BBB... Ford is not.

The OP said the following"

Better business bureau - Do they help?

I am in a conflict with a contractor - he charged me way more than he originally estimated and isn't backing down from his price. Should I file a complaint with the BBB? What can they do? Is this really much of a threat for a company?


My answer is a qualified YES... the BBB does help and you should file a complaint. In the very least your complaint will be noted and can be referenced by other consumers and can help in establishing a business pattern. As far as a threat to the company... that entirely depends on the company as to how much, if any, weight the company gives complaints.

A "Fly by Night" business or a business on the verge of Bankruptcy probably could care less.

As Sunsprit pointed out, "DELL knows that they live or die on customer satisfaction with their products, and that a dissatisfied customer is sure to tell many others about their experience.a reputable company such as DELL will take complaints seriously."

Last edited by Ultrarunner; 11-19-2008 at 10:05 PM.. Reason: Correct Spelling for Sunsprit
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Georgia, on the Florida line, right above Tallahassee
10,474 posts, read 14,388,747 times
Reputation: 6374
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
In my experience, the only people that the local BBB helps is themselves.

They're simply a business out to make money.

I've had way too many high pressure solicitations from them to join up, even from BBB's that weren't based in my business area and weren't going to give any benefit to my business. All they wanted was my membership fee ... and they knew that I wasn't going to benefit except to have the BBB plaque on my wall. I guess that's supposed to impress customers that I'm a reputable business, just because I'm a member of the BBB?

Anyway, they have no enforcement ability, no legal standing ... and, the one time in 30 years I did have a customer register an alleged "complaint" ... the BBB had simpy no comprehension of how the automotive repair estimate laws worked in my state.

I had the proper diagnostic estimate signed off and the work explained and authorized in advance by the client, and he was po'ed because it was going to cost him a lot of money to fix the car ... and almost as much to put it back together from the tear-down inspection without fixing the car to put it back into it's towed-in condition. Nobody wanted to understand that being a tech doesn't mean I have x-ray vision for engine mechanical failures after a client (knowingly) drives a car after having run into a parking lot concrete abutment and tears open the oil pan, stops, and sees the oil leaking out from the pan ... and drives the car a few miles until the motor locks up.

I advised the client I'd have to remove the motor from the car and tear it down to determine the extent of the damage and what it would cost to repair ... he just wanted to blame everybody else for his stupidity. He even went to the extent to claim to his insurance company that the motor I had on my engine stand wasn't his car's motor, but a "junker" that I must have had around my shop ... the guy was too ignorant to know that the motor had a serial number and I had the car's build tag showing that to be the motor from his car.

IMO, a BBB staffed with folks pressing a complaint with this profound level of mis-understanding and trying to use it to coerce me into joining is all the reason I need to know these folks are worthless. Their whole focus was on the "fact" that I had an unhappy customer who had registered the complaint ... not recognizing the possibility that the customer was refusing to acknowledge their part in destroying their motor, or accepting responsibility for authorizing work to be done to their car in accordance with the consumer protection laws of the state. Those laws work both ways ... to protect the consumer and the shop authorized to do the work.

I refused to put the motor back together and re-install it in the car without being paid for my professional services, but I allowed the guy to tow the car away without payment for my work to that point. Of course, when his insurance company called up to find out what had happened, I was able to prove that the motor he had with the car was the correct one from it ... and he'd told me and the tow truck driver that he'd damaged the car pulling into a parking spot and then stopped to see the oil leaking out. He said he thought it wasn't leaking out fast enough that he'd have to worry about it for a few days, but only made it a few hundred yards. He also tried to get a claim in with the extended warranty company, but they weren't going to cover driving the car with the damaged oil pan. Too bad, it was a nice 240D MB before it got damaged.
What. an. idiot.

I have a friend that is a transmission mechanic. His brother owns the shop and he works there for him. They had a dude bring in a truck - looked like a bogger - and they fixed his transmission. 3 weeks later he brings it back, saying it's "broke" and they "F'd Up." and he's all mad. Truck was covered in mud, BTW. They fixed it again for free. 4 weeks later, same thing. Transmission "broke", gonna "sue you" and the truck was covered in mud. My bud and his brother told him he had 5 minutes to get that truck out of their parking lot before they whipped his ass.

Gotta love the South. Gotta love it.

I thought it was funny, anyways.

P.S. They build the low gear ratio AOD that is in my Torino now and I've had no problems for 3 years.

Last edited by 70Ford; 11-20-2008 at 12:21 AM..
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:37 PM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,781 posts, read 19,561,615 times
Reputation: 6364
Well Sunsprit...I'm with you in regards to the BBB. I also was in the auto engine rebuilding/auto parts store and had my share of letters asking for a $50 fee to put a Plaque on my wall. As you said, they are nothing but a Business. They have some fileing cabinets that hold only complaints from different people. Had a customer say to me that he had called the BBB for some info on my business operation and they could not come up with anything. My answer was that my reputation and name was beyond reproach and that being in the area/city 17 yrs my name was well know...maybe not to him but well known to many others. Working on autos (repair etc) we were registered with the BAR (Bureau of Auto Repair) in Sacramento, State of Calif. We all had to follow the state guidelines or we were in doo doo. I recognized every word of your post as it rang a familiar bell. Steve
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:31 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,655 times
Reputation: 10
what if the company is no longer a member of the BBB ? then what?
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:49 PM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,781 posts, read 19,561,615 times
Reputation: 6364
OLD thread but the BBB is still the same. Pay your yearly pittence and your a member. Stop paying and they would probably drop the business off the computer.

They only keep records of complaints made against any who are a member.

If a number of complaints is made believe they would only send out a letter and request a resolution.

It is possible that many who are paid members have NO complaints filed against them and therefore have zero notations on file.

In my old business I would tell a customer to ask anyone in my trade about my reputation and integrity which was beyond reproach. I had police officers...a deputy sheriff... and Police chief as customers.
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:06 PM
 
Location: SE Florida
1,194 posts, read 3,807,571 times
Reputation: 754
Yes this is an old thread but news is always available when the BBB is known to be a figure and not a real business that has authority to solve a dispute.

In S. Florida the BBB is a figure and nothing more or less...Just a figure to appease the public where as three messages are sent by the complantant to a business entity the BBB restricts further messages.
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:41 AM
 
2,775 posts, read 3,158,349 times
Reputation: 3006
Quote:
Originally Posted by akire View Post
I am in a conflict with a contractor - he charged me way more than he originally estimated and isn't backing down from his price. Should I file a complaint with the BBB? What can they do? Is this really much of a threat for a company?
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a waste of time and a complete scam I cannot/will not support (and I'm a business owner). They are just a private company which uses the term "bureau" to deceive others into believing they are some sort of not-for-profit Government Agency. With the Internet there are many ways you can document your "review" of any company and the BBB is now only 1 of over 1000 places you can go to express your complaint. To clarify succinctly: the BBB has absolutely no authority or power to resolve issues you have with any company or contractor.
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