Most consumers don’t have the time or the resources to turn the tide in their favor when dealing with an unscrupulous company. The growth of internet usage over the years has helped shift this tide with the aid of free online consumer resources. As more consumers hit the web to research a product or company before making a purchase, a company’s online reputation is becoming more important than ever.The following are good starting points for researching before you buy, or if you need help in getting a dispute resolved with a company:Better Business Bureau – The BBB.org is probably the most commonly known resource for consumers looking to fight back online. They will forward your complaint to the company within 2 days. If the company fails to respond, they get a negative rating for that complaint on the BBB website. They claim a 70% success rate for resolving consumer complaints.PlanetFeedback.com – This company provides a similar service as the BBB, however they utilize their network of company connections to try and get your complaint letter into the right hands. Their website is also a great resource for researching a company before you buy, as they post most of their consumer letters online in a searchable database.My3cents.com – This site provides a forum where consumers can share their story and get feedback from other members regarding possible resolutions. Consumers can also search their online database of reviews to get the scoop on a company or product before making a purchase.Complaint.TV – For years TV news stations have offered “On Your Side” consumer advocacy teams to help uncover consumer fraud and scam stories. Complaint.TV offers a free service to forward your story to multiple local TV news stations in your area.Complaints.com – With thousands of “complaints” logged in their online database, this site is a valuable resource to checkout before making any large investments with a company you may not know much about. Complaints.com will also attempt to forward your complaint to the business, and allows for businesses to respond to consumer through their site.With so many new consumer scams cropping up each year, it is always recommended to hit the web first before trying out a new product or investment. Be particularly wary of services solicited over the phone or e-mail. When in doubt, search Google for any information on a company you can find. Being proactive in your research can help you avoid trouble down the road.