Public Editor

Covering complaints about businesses

In a typical week, several readers will contact me to request The Star write about a complaint they have against a business. Today, one man told me a regional tire dealer used a bait-and-switch tactic on him.

I’m sure these consumers are often telling me their stories honestly, and their beefs are legitimate. But I’m sure the accused businesses will also often have a compelling counter.

The journalistic problem here is that there’s almost always a he said/she said, and ultimately there isn’t a huge impact on the greater public interest in individual cases.

That doesn’t mean there’s never any news here, and I often do pass these things along to the newsroom for consideration. In fact, I did suggest that editors look at another potentially interesting example I heard today — one that affects hundreds of people.

Suggestions I usually have: Missourians should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, and Kansans should visit In Your Corner Kansas for information on how to proceed in filing a complaint. The Better Business Bureau of Greater Kansas City is another resource to consult.