Site lets Mo. consumers view complaints online

Friday, July 13, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:34 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

ST. LOUIS — Attorney General Jay Nixon announced a new Web site Thursday that will let consumers investigate complaints lodged against Missouri businesses.

The site compiles more than 100,000 consumer complaints filed since Jan. 1, 2004, with Nixon’s office. Nixon said it will be an easy way for customers to find out more about a company before they do business with it.

“We think it’s going to be a really effective tool for consumers,” he said.

The “Know Mo” site can be found at Nixon’s office Web site: Visitors can type in the name of a Missouri business and get a list of complaints and the dates on which they were filed with Nixon’s office.

The Web site only discloses the broad category of the complaints, saying that a complaint against a bank was filed under the “Financing and Credit” category, for example. Nixon said the complaints could not be listed in any more detail because that would impinge on the privacy rights of consumers who lodged them.

Nixon said his office has a process to weed out frivolous complaints before they are put onto the site. Businesses can contact his office if they feel a complaint on the site is unfair, he said.

Many complaints received by Nixon’s office are sent there by the Better Business Bureau, said GeGe Mix, spokeswoman for the bureau’s office serving eastern Missouri.

The Better Business Bureau already publishes a list of business complaints on its Web site, but having a similar site in operation will likely help consumers, Mix said.

“It probably would be complementary,” she said. “I would say that (Nixon’s office) may be getting some complaints that we don’t receive, and we may be getting some complaints they don’t receive.”

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