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One of the primary purposes of our office is to resolve disputes between businesses and their customers. We generally handle about 40,000 complaints a year. The majority of our complaints are resolved successfully. The complaints also give us critical information about companies. After identifying a problem at a company, we will work with the company, if it is responsive, to help it correct the underlying problem.

The cornerstone of our dispute resolution program is telephone mediation. Through three way conference calls with the company, consumer and mediator, we have been very successful in resolving complaints with a minimum of inconvenience to any party.

In addition to our regular mediation program, we also conduct special Dispute Resolution Programs, including a Customer Commitment Program and Informal Dispute Settlement Programs. Many member companies participate in BBB Dispute Resolution Programs by agreeing: (1) to expedite a customer's complaint by using a special contact person; and (2) to arbitrate any unresolved complaint not settled through the mediation process.

We also conduct a special program for high volume companies seeking to improve their customer service. The companies involved do not currently qualify for a satisfactory rating, and cannot be members, making them ineligible for the Customer Commitment program. Again, our goal is to create a method to expedite the complaint process and get quick results for consumers. We fax complaints to the company, provide monthly reports and work with the company to correct the underlying problems.