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BBB Tip of the Week

When most people think of the Better Business Bureau, they think of filing a complaint. Some think of checking out a business before they buy, while others think of reading alerts about scams. A few may know they can compliment a business on our website, too. But these are not all the services of the BBB. Alternative Dispute Resolution is an alternative to going to court. We offer two types: mediation and arbitration.

Mediation: The third-party facilitator – the mediator – assists parties to negotiate a settlement. The process has a structure, timetable and dynamics that ordinary negotiation lacks. The process is private and confidential. BBB mediators are trained to keep the communication open, progressive, fair, safe and non-inflammatory.

Arbitration: Arbitration is a more structured and formal way to settle issues outside of a courtroom, but it does bear similarities. In a BBB arbitration, both parties present their side to the neutral, third-party arbitrator, who then gives a ruling, like a judge. BBB arbitrators are contracted from a pool of professional union arbitrators, lawyers and other experts.

Advantages: Alternative Dispute Resolution services can be cheaper, more flexible, and faster than going to court. And when you’re scheduled for a session at the BBB, a specific time will be blocked out for you. Going to court can be like waiting for the repairman — you’re on the docket with a bunch of other cases “sometime between 10 and 2.” And mediation can save the relationship between a business and a consumer, and lead to further business transactions.

Contact BBB: To find out if mediation or arbitration is right for you, contact the BBB serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana at (509)455-4200 or (800) 356-1007.

More info or to report scams: Visit the BBB at 

Holly Doering,

Better Business Bureau

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