7 on Your Side: Disputes between businesses and consumers - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 on Your Side: Disputes between businesses and consumers

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SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) -

Resolving a dispute between a consumer and a business can be a long and frustrating process for both sides. In some cases, the Better Business Bureau offers an arbitration process to ease things along.

The BBB has two programs for arbitration. The first is the auto line, which deals with vehicles that fall under the state's lemon laws.

"It's conditionally binding, because the manufacturer is bound by the decision, if the consumer accepts the decision. The consumer is not bound by that decision. So, if the consumer goes through Auto Line arbitration and they choose not to accept the arbitrators decision, they still have the option to go to court," said Carmen Million, President of the BBB of SWLA.

The second program is a binding arbitration service to consumers and businesses who belong to the BBB. Million says it's an opportunity to get all of the facts on the table in front of an objective, third party.

"When we set up the agreement to arbitrate, both parties sign an agreement saying that the arbitrator's decision is going to be legally binding, so they're going to accept that decision, whatever it is... They are given an opportunity to state their case. They can present witnesses; they can provide any kind of documentation that pertains to the case," said Million.

Million says the arbitration process is streamlined and faster and more economical than going to court. Even if businesses lose, they win, because the complaint is resolved, said Million.

"Our accredited businesses are offered this program for them and their customers because the Better Business Bureau does not allow an accredited business to have an unresolved complaint," said Million.

The process is made possible by attorneys who volunteer their service, and right now, the BBB needs more volunteers.

For more information, contact the local BBB at 337-478-6253 or visit http://www.bbb.org/lakecharles/.

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