The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is a non-profit agency dedicated to maintaining a marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other. In 2011, our BBB handled nearly 25,000 consumer complaints. Our conciliation services are offered free to the general public and the business community. Below, please find the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Are all of your services free? Most of our services are free. We provide Business Reviews to the general public and handle consumer complaints free of charge. Our Auto Line program is also free. A small charge to both the business and consumer may apply in regard to some of our mediation and arbitration services.
How can I file a complaint? You can file your complaint online at www.bbb.org (which is quickest) or mail your complaint to: BBB, 220 S. River Ridge Cir, Burnsville, MN 55337. Be sure to include your contact information, as well as contact information for the company your complaint concerns.
Does my complaint have to be in writing? Yes, to pursue your complaint, we will need you to submit it in writing. We don’t need all the details, but provide enough information so that both we and the company will understand the crux of the problem as well as your desired resolution.
Why do I have to submit my complaint in writing? You’re the one who experienced the problem, so no one else has the perspective you have. If we took your complaint over the phone, our concern is that we might misconstrue critical details, potentially confusing the situation further and likely increasing the amount of time the company would need to investigate your concerns.
What happens once I submit my complaint? We’ll forward that complaint on to the company with a letter from us describing our process. In many cases, the company will respond within 2-4 weeks, though it can take up to six weeks before a response is received.
Can you make the company do what I ask them to do? No. The BBB is not an enforcement agency. However, most companies respond to complaints we forward to their attention and make a good faith effort to resolve customer concerns. We’re able to resolve roughly 85% of all the complaints we receive.
What happens if the company doesn’t respond to my complaint? We’ll close the complaint as unanswered and that will have an impact on the company’s BBB rating. Other potential customers will see that the company failed to respond to a previous complaint.
What if the company doesn’t resolve my complaint? A BBB specialist will review your case; it will then be closed appropriately and be factored in to help determine the company's BBB rating.
Does the company have to be a BBB member for you to handle my complaint? The BBB accepts – and pursues – complaints whether or not the business is a BBB Accredited Business.
Before filing your complaint, we strongly encourage you to first attempt to resolve complaints directly with the company. However the BBB will not reject a complaint if a consumer has not taken this step. All complaints are processed by local BBBs, most often the BBB where the company is located.
Note: The BBB generally does not handle complaints which are more effectively handled by other government or private agencies or the legal system, such as complaints involving employment practices, discrimination, or matters in litigation. More details about the BBB Complaint Acceptance Guidelines are available on our website.
Here are some other types of complaints we cannot pursue:
- Complaints concerning individuals (unlicensed handymen, for example)
- Attorney-client disputes (these are handled by the State Bar Association)
- Complaints seeking collection of a debt owed
- Complaints seeking compensation/damages
- Complaints regarding care provided by a medical professional (doctor, dentist, veterinarian). These are handled by their respective Professional Boards
- Employment disputes (these are handled by the Minnesota and North Dakota Departments of Labor)
- A complaint that alleges harassment/discrimination
- Complaints involving pricing/policy issues
- Cases where only an apology is sought
- Complaints filed by third parties.
- Situations when the complaintant is not seeking a resolution.
- The BBB also cannot accept anonymous complaints.
*The BBB reserves the right not to process complaints containing abusive or foul language.