By WIlson A. Rivera, Fort Gordon Public Affairs OfficeJune 5, 2014
FORT GORDON, Ga. (June 6, 2014) - Experiences among Soldiers and family members vary when searching for services provided by the community and shopping at local businesses. Consumers should keep in mind they are not alone when a purchase or deal goes wrong.
The Better Business Bureau is there to assist people with a resolution to any misconceptions and bad dealings with a business. Information about how to file a complaint or search through responsible accredited businesses can be found at the bureaus web site www.bbb.org.
Consumers can rely on feedback provided by other consumers concerning local businesses and are encouraged to leave their feedback as well. Comments and complaints can be submitted to establish a history and trends regarding various issues such as scams, services, prices, and safety concerns.
"We as consumers should always take the opportunity to ask for the service we deserve. We pay pretty good money for services like car repairs," said Diane Sarber, Army Community Service acting director.
"We want to have service members and families feel like they can make a report of a problem with a business that they have attempted to resolve and have been unsuccessful," she added.
Once an unresolved issue is unsuccessful after speaking with a service manager and a general manger, ACS' Financial Readiness section is able to assist as an arbitrator similar to the BBB and make contact with the business concerned.
"We understand these situations and want to ensure people advocate for themselves first," said Sarber.
A representative will try to establish contact with the business to obtain more information about a consumer issue. While remaining neutral during mediation, the goal is to reach a compromise where all parties achieve an agreement they can approve of.
Sometimes managers will be helpful, especially when it comes to the military. It just takes going about it in the right way, said Sarber.
"Businesses are particularly interested in keeping Fort Gordon real happy," said Sarber. "And, we want to make sure that these businesses do the legal and ethical thing."
A consumer complaint form is available at www.gordon.army.mil/acs, and a link to the bureau. People can also voice their concerns to an ACS advocate by phone or in person. Call (706) 791-1922 or (706)791-8685 to schedule an appointment
There are things happening, yet people are not aware of how to make a report to have that information presented to the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board. If there is a pattern or several complaints of business practices then that is something which can lead to review by the board and possibly sanction the business off-limits. The AFDCB makes recommendations for a business to be placed off limits to military personnel.
"We just need to help educate the military community in what their rights as consumers are," said Sarber. We don't want them to be taken advantage of."