Routing Your Online Purchase Complaints to the Right People
You made your purchase from a Web site. The treasure arrives at your door. You open it up and — there's a problem. It may not be what you ordered — it's the wrong size, color, or item. Or worse yet, you purchase an item and it never arrives!
Fear not. Resources exist for resolving blunders with online buying. Check out the following tried and true sounding boards for your concerns and complaints.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau is the granddad of all business complaint organizations. If you think that a company has treated you unfairly, you can file a complaint online with the BBB. This organization contacts the merchant to help resolve the issue.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
If you bought the product online and it was delivered by mail, you can complain to the U.S. Postal Service. You can post a complaint, but keep in mind that although the Inspection Service can't resolve routine business disputes between companies and their customers, it can act against a company or individual if a pattern of activity suggests an attempt to defraud consumers.
If the merchant you did business with is a member of Square Trade, and you have dispute with this merchant, Square Trade will intercede between the buyer and seller to settle disputes, whether the seller is an online merchant or an individual seller on eBay or another auction site.
A merchant subscribing to WebAssured promises a high standard of conduct in dealing with customers. Web sites carrying the WebAssured seal promise that you get exactly what you order. Better yet, even if the merchant isn't a member of WebAssured, consumers can still sound off via the Automated Dispute Resolution System.
Netcheck Commerce Bureau
NetCheck has assisted the public in receiving refunds totaling an estimated $2 million. This company handles complaints on any Web site worldwide concerning fraud, refunds, copyright infringement, false advertising, spam, or unsolicited bulk e-mail.
At Planet Feedback, you can sound off on a public bulletin board about a transaction you had with a merchant, and the whole world can see it. Other online shoppers may chime in with their own opinions as well.
David Horowitz's Fight Back
At well-known journalist David Horowitz's Web site, you can get consumer support and resolution of your problem for a small fee. David has much experience in educating consumers to stand up for themselves against merchants. He has been instrumental in getting consumer protection laws on the books.
National Consumer Complaint Center
The National Consumer Complaint Center provides a method for promptly communicating consumer complaints to United States government agencies that are interested in investigating and taking action for consumers.
Internet Fraud Complaint Center
The Internet Fraud Complaint Center, the IFCC, is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the National White Collar Crime Center. The IFCC provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation.
National Fraud Information Center
The National Fraud Information Center provides a handy online form for you to fill out for reporting Internet or telemarketing fraud. You can also call in the suspected fraud via a toll-free number found on the site.