Nonprofit organizations sponsored by private, local businesses which provide general information about products or services, reliability reports, background information regarding local businesses and records of the companies' complaint handling performances. Most Better Business Bureaus accept complaints against businesses and help to resolve disputes through mediation or binding arbitration utilizing volunteer arbitration panels.
Consumer protection offices that are part of provincial, county or city governments which receive, investigate and resolve through direct action or referral to law enforcement or regulatory agencies, consumer complaints that are a result of transactions in the marketplace. Most government consumer affairs offices also publish and disseminate a large selection of consumer education materials, initiate studies to improve standards of conduct for businesses and consumers, and analyze and recommend changes in consumer protection legislation.
Associations formed by individual businesses in a particular industry that join together to assist one another with business problems, to promote their industry, to offer consumer information, and, in some cases, to handle consumer complaints. Some trade associations have established third-party dispute resolution programs to arbitrate disputes that cannot be resolved by the associations.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.