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Characteristics of a Model Consumer Dispute Resolution Mechanism (From Consumer Dispute Resolution - Exploring the Alternatives, P 27-35, 1983, Larry Ray and Deborah Smolover, ed. - See NCJ-91236)

NCJ Number
B B Gregg
Date Published
Mechanisms for handling consumer complaints should be visible and accessible to all consumers, should encourage the speedy resolution of a dispute, and should assure that both sides to a dispute are directly involved in the resolution process.
Such programs should also encourage the finality and conclusiveness of the resolution of a dispute, ensure that the results of a dispute settlement effort are carried out, and keep the consumer informed regarding the status of the case. In addition, the programs should provide useful information on other methods of redress if dispute settlement efforts fail, should provide the consumer with an advocate or an advisor, and should be open to public scrutiny. Moreover, the complaint handling organization should identify patterns of consumer abuse and take steps to change practices which caused the particular consumer problem. State and local agencies are in the best position to deal efficiently with a large volume of individual consumer complaints as well as to develop ways to prevent deceptive marketplace practices. Any agency's success will depend ultimately on its level of funding. The failure to develop and maintain effective mechanisms for settling disputes could have serious consequences, especially in times of economic hardship. The continuation and expansion of various means of redress of consumer grievances should be supported. Two footnotes are included.