Consumer dispute websites

Headline Goes Here

People complain about all kinds of companies, but for Neal Alderson, his complaints revolved around sunglasses.  And he was able to use one of the new online resolution sites to get his issues resolved quickly.

Alderson says when his expensive sunglasses broke in half, he requested a replacement pair from the the maker but says all he got was the run-around.  So he posted his gripe on GripeVine for free.  GripeVine contacted the shades manufacturer and soon Alderson got some not so shady news.

I got exactly what I wanted, which was a replacement pair of sunglasses," he said.

So, what makes GripeVine and other new problem-solving sites like ScamBook and PeopleClaim different than traditional complaint resolution avenues? The Internet.

GripeVine founder Dave Carroll became a YouTube sensation when he posted a video about an airline he says damaged his guitar and refused to pay for it.  After a million hits, Carroll says the airline changed its tune.

"In the first two weeks I received 10,000 email congratulating me. but also saying that they felt that they didn't have a voice and they wished they had a voice," said Carroll.

"Social media is what I call the great equalizer when it comes getting your complaint resolved," explained John Breyault with the National Consumers League.

While filing complaints on some sites is free, others may charge you.

On PeopleClaim, filing a complaint is free.  The site will notify the company about your problem, but if the company doesn't respond, you can pay $7.95 to your dispute posted publicly online.  And for $14.95 PeopleClaim will also notify watchdogs, regulators and the media. 

On ScamBook it's also free to file a complaint, but you can pay $4.99 a month for a personal investigator to be assigned to your case, who will mail certified letters to the company for each you each month.  Of course, this is something consumers can do.

"These sites offer to step in and play that role for you," said Breyault. 

Do these sites get results? 

ScamBook says, "We have resolved over $10 million in reported damages." 

PeopleClaim says, "Far more than half the complaints filed are resolved."

GrapeVine suggested we ask its customers.  Alderson is one of those customers and he's very satisfied.

"It's a very quick easy way to get your situation dealt with," he said.

None of the companies provide mediators or legal services. 

Meantime, PeopleClaim says if the company your complaining about doesn't respond to your public post in 90 days, it will refund your $7.95

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.