How to Report a Business (Get a Bad Business Shut Down)

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Unfortunately, bad businesses pop up everywhere. Even a business which used to be good, may be sold to new owners and suddenly become a nightmare to deal with.

No matter what has happened, it’s important to step up and report that business before they can ruin someone else’s day. Sometimes, when you report a bad business, it will even result in the business eventually being shut down.

Read on to learn more about how to report a bad business so that they can be shut down.

What is a Bad Business?

Before discussing how to report a bad business, it’s important to specify what qualifies as a bad business. Although you may have had a bad day and an employee wasn’t able to fix it, this doesn’t make the business bad.

Even if a company messed up your order, this doesn’t mean they are a bad business because everyone makes mistakes. What makes a business bad is how they deal with said mistake. Below are the most common signs of a bad business.

  • The business took your money and didn’t deliver what they promised.
  • The business made a mistake and refused to correct it.
  • You received the wrong product, but didn’t receive a replacement or your money back.
  • The company doesn’t follow it’s own policies (such as allowing returns, refunds, etc)
  • An employee spoke to you using racially or sexually inappropriate language.

If the business you are dealing with has done one of the above things, then it’s definitely time to report them because they are a bad business. Before you do, ensure you collect evidence, such as taking a screenshot of the conversation with the business or showing your bank statement where the money has already been deducted from your account.

How to Report a Bad Business (Step-by-Step)

Reporting a bad business isn’t as easy as filling out an online claim. There are actually several steps you need to complete in order to get the response you desire.

Step 1: Speak to Managment

When you first start having problems with a business, before you escalate to anything else you need to ask to speak to a manager. Often times managers can fix your problem quickly and easily without you needing to report a business.

Even if the manager refuses to fix your problem, take their information down, such as the name and their title. You will need this when you file the complaint.

Step 2: Contact Corporate

If the manager you spoke to isn’t corporate level, then your next step will be to contact the corporate level. You can often look online to find an address where you can mail your complaint. Some corporations have their phone numbers online, but not all. You may also want to check the company website to see if there is a complaint form on there.

Step 3: File on the State Level

If your issue isn’t remedied by this point, it’s time to file on the state level. You will need to go to the State website to find out how to do this. The website varies by state, and who you need to file with will vary too. Some states have an easy to fill out form, while others require that you submit to the Attorney General.

Step 4: Report to Credit Bureaus

This step isn’t for everyone, as it is mostly for businesses which discover that a business they are working with is bad. This could mean that you ordered products to stock your store, paid for them, and the business never delivered. If this is the case, take the time to report the company to the 4 main credit bureaus using their EIN.

Step 5: File a BBB Complaint

Even if you are just an individual who has been screwed over by a business, anyone can file a BBB complaint. The BBB will look into your complaint and act as an intermediary between you and the company.

The process is straightforward and easy, and can be used no matter what state you live in (and even in Mexico and Canada!) The BBB is a nonprofit and they will have a response for you within 14 days. Companies that are part of the BBB are required to respond otherwise they will no longer be accredited as part of the BBB. Even if a company isn’t a part of the Bureau, if they don’t respond your complaint may be made public on their site for others to read.

Step 6: Contact the Media

While contacting the media may not be appropriate in every case, some cities have a section of the media specifically designated to help people resolve problems with businesses. Often they will do their own investigation, or approach the company on your behalf to see what happened.

Involving the media puts a lot of pressure on the business and will likely help in cases where the BBB was unable to help. It is, however, not suggested to go to the media if you are filing a case with a local attorney. In that case, you will want to discuss with them whether or not you should involve the media.

Step 7: Involve the Federal Government

If you have done everything above and still have not had your situation resolved, then it may be time to involve the federal government. The United States has a special department to report problems to known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

You will need to set up an account in order to file your complaint, and this method definitely isn’t the fastest, but if you were truly cheated by a comany filling a report with the Bureau will help ensure that what happened to you doesn’t happen to anyone else. If you think about it, this is the least you can do, even if you don’t end up getting the refund you deserve.

Should You Give the Business a Bad Review?

In the modern day, taking to social media to give a business a bad review has become common practice. While this can sometimes work, you will want to be careful what you post on social media.

Sometimes, posting a picture of a damaged product you received, along with tagging the company that sent it can go a long way. But other times, this may backfire on you. This is why when you are making a public review it is important to consider what happened carefully. If you are an individual, there likely aren’t many repercussions to posting your dissatisfaction. But if you are a business, it is strong advised that you use other methods to express your distaste.

Remember that the internet can take a small fragment of mis information and run with it very quickly, which is why you should have all your ducks in a row before you even consider making a social media complaint.

As for a regular review on a site like TripAdvisor or Yelp, go for it. Just ensure your review is constructive and doesn’t include tall tales or bad language.

Tips for Getting a Business Shut Down

1. Don’t Waste Time with Social Media

If you have truly found a business which is bad to the core (taking money and not shipping products) saying something on social media is futile. Go straight to our list and begin the process of reporting them to the state or the BBB–the people who actually have the power to take their business license away.

2. Don’t Waste Time on International Companies

Unfortunately, no matter how much you may complain that an international company played you (Wish, based in China for example) there isn’t much you, nor your state’s attorney can do in these cases. While some international companies do have profiles on BBB, sometimes you just have to cut your losses and move on.

3. Always Attempt to Solve the Problem Yourself First

Many people make the mistake of having an issue with a company and going directly to their state or the BBB. While you may be angry and this might make sense at the time, all this will do it make you look like an idiot later. The BBB and most state’s attorneys will require proof that you tried to solve the problem on your own first.

4. Don’t Post or Say Anything You Will Reget

As difficult as it is, you need to stay calm through the entire proceedings. You never know if your complaint will be escalated to a court case where conversations between you and the company will be presented to the public. Do not call names or use poor language. Always treat the business politely and with respect, even if you aren’t getting the respect you deserve in return. In the end, this is the only way to come out victorious against a bad business.

Reference Legal Explanations

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  • "How to Report a Business (Get a Bad Business Shut Down)". Legal Explanations. Accessed on February 8, 2023. https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-report-a-business-get-a-bad-business-shut-down/.

  • "How to Report a Business (Get a Bad Business Shut Down)". Legal Explanations, https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-report-a-business-get-a-bad-business-shut-down/. Accessed 8 February, 2023

  • How to Report a Business (Get a Bad Business Shut Down). Legal Explanations. Retrieved from https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-report-a-business-get-a-bad-business-shut-down/.