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How to See If a Business Has Complaints

by George N. Root III ; Updated September 26, 2017
Protect yourself by finding out if a company has a history of unhappy customers.

It can be frustrating to have an unsatisfying transaction with a company only to find out that the business has a documented history of complaints against it. Before you sign a contract, research the company you are considering doing business with to see if there have been any complaints filed against it. Some companies readily resolve complaints, which is something you should take into consideration when doing your research. However, a long history of unresolved complaints should be a warning sign to consumers.

Contact the local office of the Better Business Bureau to find out if there are any complaints against the business you are researching. The Better Business Bureau is also online, and that can make searching much easier (a link is provided in the Resource section).

Contact the governing body within the company's industry. For example, if it is an insurance company, contact your state's insurance regulatory department to see if any complaints have been filed. Make detailed notes on the information you are given.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission to request any complaint information filed against the company (a link to the FTC is provided in the Resource section). The FTC does not mediate disputes between companies and consumers, but it does offer an extensive database of complaints for consumers to use.

Call your state attorney general's office and ask for any complaint information on the company.

Contact the local law authorities to see if any local complaints or problems have ever been reported regarding the company. The local authorities may not be able to release detailed information to you, but they can let you know if a company has had any formal complaints filed by local consumers.

Tips

  • Always ask how many of the complaints were resolved by the company. If a company resolves its disputes, it may still be worth doing business with.

About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.

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