Some states mediate consumer complaints against businesses. New York, for example, has several mediators who review complaints, gather evidence—which ultimately can be used to bring suit—and help consumers obtain any refunds they are owed. This mediation role forces the state to take a closer look at each complaint, carefully categorize complaints, and track how they are resolved. Moreover, the information gathered in this process assists broader analysis of harmful business practices, which can help guide priorities. A number of Internet-related cases have grown out of New York’s mediation process. Some states follow the FTC model, however, and do not mediate consumer complaints, or mediate only on a limited basis. Thus, complaints may not be investigated. States should consider adopting the mediation approach.
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