Taking on Corporations or Businesses for Refunds or Accountability

You might have purchased an item online or in a retail outlet, and the item may have been damaged, not described correctly, or after the sale service is non-existent or poor in quality. Or maybe the price was reduced and they won’t honor the difference. You could also have received fees or had rude customer service. What is your recourse in these instances? How do you make yourself heard to a non-responsive entity? Most businesses, especially small businesses will bend over backwards to accommodate you, but large corporations especially, will sometimes exhibit a disregard for you, the customer. This brief article will look at the proper means of communication when an issue has to be escalated, and the means for doing so.

Be Polite

This goes without saying, but particularly if you are feeling like this matter should be escalated, you have to ensure that all communications remain professional between you and the other party. Email and recorded conversations can be brought back to haunt you, so be polite and professional. This does not mean be passive or subservient.


If there is an issue it is important to call (and/or email) the other party to clearly state what the issue is, what your expectations are, and what the companies policy is in relation to this. If you expect this issue might be irresolvable, or could become complicated or messy, maintain written records detailing all contact with the other party, including the date and time of contact, who you talked with, and their responses to you. If you haven’t found meaningful resolution through a phone call or personal visit, be sure to document where you are at and email the other party notifying them of where your dispute is at, and the resolution you would like to see take effect, and thank them for their time and effort in assisting you in this process. Include photos if necessary.

If you have contacted them twice and there has been no resolution, you will probably be frustrated. However before elevating this to another level, you should contact them a third time, politely listing the issues that you have had with them, and letting them know that you will take this matter farther if you haven’t received a satisfactory response with ‘x’ number of days. This makes the other party aware that repercussions for their actions are possible, but that they have ‘x’ number of days to think this over and offer restitution themselves.

Elevating the Matter to a Higher Level

At this point you would have contacted the other party at least three times and there has been no resolution of the matter. You would also have notified them of your intention to proceed with the resolution of this matter independently of them. If you are in a country such as the USA or Canada, you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This may sound lame, but in the USA it automatically involves a case lodged with the State Attorney General. You can also look up the other parties business or corporation online with the BBB and see other cases that are either open or pending resolution. This will require that you search this business by both the office location you used, and by the head corporate office. To create your own case, you will go farther quicker if you take it straight to the corporate headquarters.

This complaint has to be lodged in the home jurisdiction of the other party, so if there corporate office is in Utah, you would file the case with the Utah BBB. This is where your written records of the case, and any photos, will be of great assistance to you. Take your time and fill out the form professionally and without emotion (not as easy as it sounds at times) and press ‘submit’. The other party will receive notification that a case is pending them from the State Attorney General. They will have ‘x’ number of days to reply or resolve the case. In the case of a corporation that has a long record of BBB cases, and there are companies that do, the resolution will generally be in your favor. You will have to wait, probably a number of weeks, until resolution is reached, but this is a good method for proceeding.

  • If however you are complaining about a bank, perhaps they pocketed hundreds of dollars in fees and charges for you being 60 cents short on their monthly fee, be aware that they might not take kindly to this. Phone threats are possible, and in this case it is a reflection of the type of corporation that you are dealing with. If you are complaining about a bank or other institution and they call you from Head Office with thinly veiled threats and request that you reconsider your case, it might be in your best interest to retreat and submit to this corporation. Do your own threat assessment and proceed in the manner that provides personal safety for your self and your friends and family. This does happen although it is exceptional.

If you are in another country or jurisdiction where there is no BBB, search for consumer protection regulatory agencies, or corporation licensing and complaint agencies. Proceed with them as you would with the BBB case mentioned above. Most businesses or corporations would rather resolve the case than have their irresponsible actions reported. If you threaten to proceed with this action, ensure you follow through; otherwise the next person who has a complaint will be brushed off also.


Many consumers will consider a chargeback as a first line of defense; however this can backfire on you costing you time and effort. Visa and other credit/debit card processing agencies are looking out for chargebacks and these are quite easy to fight for the other party. If an awkward customer does a chargeback, the seller or corporation can fight this, in fact Visa could enable the seller protection in this case. If the item has been delivered, and customer relations have not been continued, the buyer could lose the case. It may enable you to receive compensation, and many times will, but in some cases in can work against you.

If there is fraud, or absolutely you have been wronged, you certainly should be proactive, but be aware that you still might have to take it the other way yet. If you have paid cash or non refundable payment, the other method is your only recourse if the other party is non responsive.


The aim of this page is to empower individuals, who feel they have been wronged, with a few options regarding recourse. There could be other options available to you also, but always remember that being polite and maintaining open communication until it is proven that this method won’t work, is always in your favor. This article is not legal advice, and you should always look at all aspects of your individual grievance before proceeding, and only proceed when all other means have been exhausted.


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