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By Contributed photo
BY BLAIR LOONEY Contributing columnist
Dear Action Line, I am writing to get assistance in filing a claim, however the vendor does not display any address information on its site. The vendor owner is a makeup artist where I attended a class. I paid for the class in full. He promised after taking each student's photo, he would email it to us. I have received nothing for about a year now.
The makeup artist runs his own business. He does have a website but does not show any business license under his name as far as what I could locate. I have been sending him messages through Facebook and have heard nothing for more than seven months.
Please tell me how to go about this complaint.
Dear Reader, Business licenses vary from city to city and some counties require them, too. You can check on the business by contacting the city or county business licensing department where the company is located. Please remember that this is a tax license and considered a revenue generator and not a competency license.
(For businesses in the city of Bakersfield, call the Treasury Division at 326-3762. For those in unincorporated Kern County, call the Sheriff's Office at 391-7690).
You have already done some of the things BBB would recommend. In order to file a complaint against the company, we need to find out where they are. You tell me the company has a website. That's a good place to start. You can go to a number of domain registration companies to check:
Normally, you can determine ownership of the domain (website). Once you have that information, you can contact the company via regular mail or possibly phone. We always suggest that you contact the company first. In your case, you have done so many times, with no response. So your next steps are these:
* Now that you have located the company, file a complaint with BBB. It's a free service, the only thing it will cost you is the time you spend to fill out the complaint form. BBB will contact the company to let it know of your issue and give the company an opportunity to let us help it resolve the complaint BBB offers a neutral setting for consumers and businesses to try to resolve marketplace disputes.
* You may also want to check with your local district attorney's office. Most local district attorneys have a business affairs division that takes complaints against businesses within their county. You may also want to check with the domain registrar to see if it has a complaint process, too. You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, too, at ftc.gov.
* You can also go to Small Claims Court in the county where the company is located. Fees and schedule vary from county to county, so you will need to check with that county.
Please remember, your BBB is always a great place to start to get background information on a company before you do business with it. A BBB Business Review provides valuable information to help you make a wise buying decision: Bbb.org.
Blair Looney is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 1601 H. St., Suite 101, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or email@example.com.