How To Resolve A Problem With A Product Or Service
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Most legitimate, reliable businesses will do everything in their power to ensure customers satisfaction.
Unfortunately, services and products may not always turn out the way we expect. When a problem occurs, most of us hope we won’t need to jump through hoops to get things resolved.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests simple strategies for resolving a problem you may have with a product or service, and Victory State Bank would like to share them with our blog readers:
Where to Start
Contact the seller. Keep a record of your conversations — who you spoke with and when, and the action promised. If you can't resolve the problem at this level, contact the company headquarters.
In some instances, you may have to contact the manufacturer. Many companies have a toll-free telephone number. Look for it on package labeling, or call 1-800-555-1212 for toll-free directory assistance.
Management may be grateful for your input; it can help identify problems that are bad for business.
Write a Letter
An effective complaint letter should be clear and concise, and include all the facts. Include copies — not originals — of documents regarding your complaint, such as sales receipts, repair orders, warranties, cancelled checks, contracts, and any correspondence with the company.
You may want to send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested.
The extra money this costs pays for your proof that the company got your letter and who signed for it.
And If That Doesn't Work
If your letter doesn't do the trick, contact the following organizations for help:
State and Local Organizations
Check your telephone directory for the complete names, addresses, and phone numbers of these offices:
- Your state attorney general usually has a division that deals with consumer protection issues;
- Your local consumer protection office;
- The Better Business Bureau in your state and where the company is located;
- Your local Postmaster;
- The local media — television, radio, or newspaper consumer actionlines.
- www.consumerworld.org lists international, federal, state, local, and private consumer agencies as well as Better Business Bureaus, consumer organizations, and professional associations.
- The Consumer Action Handbook offers tips on buying products and services, and lists contacts for information and assistance. For a free copy, write: Federal Citizen Information Center, Pueblo, Colorado 81009.
- If you're not sure which federal agency has jurisdiction over your inquiry or complaint, contact the Federal Information Center listed in the U.S. government section of your phone book.
Dispute Resolution Programs
Many consumers and businesses use dispute resolution programs — mediation and arbitration — as an alternative to going to court. Some businesses require consumers to arbitrate their disputes and waive their right to go to court.
Check your contract or product packaging for details.
Some programs are free. Others charge a flat fee, or a rate based on your ability to pay.
- Mediation involves a neutral third party — a mediator — who helps you and the other party try to resolve the problem. However, it's up to you and the other party to reach an agreement.
- Arbitration is less formal than court, though you and the other party may appear at hearings, present evidence, or call and question each other's witnesses.
Unlike mediation, an arbitrator or panel makes a decision once you've presented your case. The decision may be legally binding.
The following organizations can help you find a program near you:
- your state attorney general or local consumer protection agency;
- small claims courts and court systems;
- nonprofit dispute resolution organizations;
- bar associations and law school clinics;
- Better Business Bureaus;
About Victory State Bank:
VSB Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com .