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Making a Consumer Complaint

When dissatisfied with a company, getting them to act can be a challenge. This guide is about making a customer complaint.

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Solutions

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September 28, 2011

I've recently had to log more than one customer complaint, with different companies. Here's the strategy that worked for me:

  1. Never let 'em see you sweat. Even when the returns rep at one company got somewhat defensive and borderline rude, I maintained my demeanor of cool politeness. It helped that I knew she was genuinely in the wrong. If I'd allowed her to fluster me - and worse, let her KNOW that - she'd have won a victory. I wouldn't give her the satisfaction!
  2. Be calm, not confrontational. With not only the above-mentioned rep but a manager at the Sears Installation Department, I politely (almost apologetically) stated my case. Screaming, cursing, and other extreme behaviors would have destroyed my credibility and allowed the reps to peg me as just another crank. If you're upset, do whatever it takes to short-circuit the urge to scream, cry or curse BEFORE you call. If you get that same urge in the middle of a call, STOP. Put THEM on hold if necessary, or call back after you've calmed down. As I mentioned above, don't give what may be a rude rep the satisfaction of even such a small victory. If it's a nice rep, you'll only make his or her work day harder by being nasty.
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  4. Be clear and concise. If the Customer Service rep can't understand what you're complaining about, how can they possibly resolve your issue? By the same token, there's no need to relate your entire life history. Briefly explain the core issue and leave it at that. Let the rep ask questions for clarification if necessary. If it helps, pretend you're leaving a voice mail message. You only have 30-60 seconds to state your case. Thinking this way should help distill your complaint into the briefest possible terms.
  5. Do your homework before you dial. It helped that I knew pertinent dates and other information necessary to resolving my issue. If you don't have everything, the rep can usually look up your account with the information you do have.
  6. Be patient and persistent. Sometimes the first rep you speak to can't or won't solve your issue. Sometimes they send you to "electronic limbo" hoping you'll give up and go away. Rather than give them this victory, I've waited on hold for up to 20 minutes. I've also hung up and called right back, then politely explained how long I'd been on hold.
  7. Take names. This can help your case too, especially if you have to go over someone's head, as I did.
  8. Know when to go over the rep's head. When the Returns rep I'd spoken to became defensive, I knew it was time to take another route. I found a way to bypass her and go straight to the top in this case. I spoke to the General Manager of the company, who sent me to the rude rep's immediate supervisor. That got me results!
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  10. Follow through. We recently had two items we needed to return for repair or replacement, each going to a separate location. When I discovered, to my dismay, the wrong package got picked up, I called both involved companies immediately. The down side is, since the mistake was on our end, we'll now have to foot the bill for postage to get both packages to their separate locations.

Strategic, polite and persistent customer complaints have netted me this month: anew washing-machine manual, which should arrive any day; a $35 Sears gift card, which hubby promised to spend on me rather than himself, LOL; a promise to replace outright an item I'd sent in working condition for “evaluation,” that came back broken; and a promise to repair or replace a second item, damaged due to a power outage. (Yes, it was plugged in to a surge suppressor.)

Ya gotta love companies that take customer service seriously.

By JustPlainJo from Springfield, OH

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Comment Was this helpful? 7

By 1 found this helpful
May 30, 2008

Telephone your local library and ask for the "Business Section". Once someone answers, tell them you want the name, title and address of the CEO, President, (whatever) and also the same for your local District Manager of the Company in question. Send your complaint to the CEO and President, copy to the Sr. V.P., the District Manager and your local store manager of whom you are not finding resolution to your problem.

I PROMISE you, in less than 2 weeks, you will be receiving telephone calls to resolve your issues. Be sure to include the name of the person (in the letter of complaint ) with whom you are dealing with locally. That name in the complaint will have your local person sweating to keep his/her job this week, next week or next year..This is not something they want to 'big wigs' to know about :). This works EVERY time! In this case, the old adage: "The Customer is always right" has real meaning.

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By Cajun from Collinsville

Comment Was this helpful? 1

By 0 found this helpful
September 20, 2004

For those people having trouble with AOL & PeoplePC or for that matter any business go to www.Planetfeedback.com and register your complaint thru them. It's free!

Glenda

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
April 1, 2008

When trying to resolve an issue, always ask for the name of the person you are talking to in trying to resolve your issue; if not satisfied do this:

Call your local library and ask for "Business Dept." for the name and address of the CEO (or President, COO, CFO, WHATEVER) and any Sr. V.P. of the Company in question. Type a letter to both individuals (and include the name of the local person who did not care to satisfy your dilemma) and explain the problem. 99 of 100 times, you WILL get a satisfactory reply...

By Cajun62234 from Collinsville, IL

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By 0 found this helpful
May 16, 2006

Even though I don't like to complain, there have been several times I have done just that. Here are a few tips to resolve complaints.

If you're dissatisfied with the service you've received, or if a product doesn't live up to its claim, you should always take your issues directly to the company or retailer. Here are a few tips to lodging an effective complaint:

  1. Complain in writing.
  2. Make sure you outline exactly what will make you happy, whether it's your money back or a replacement product.
  3. If the issue still isn't resolved, take your complaint to a local media outlet. Jack Gillis says, "Sometimes, simply copying the retailers on the complaint is enough to get them to help you solve your problem."

By Bobbie G. from Rockwall, TX

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

May 23, 20050 found this helpful

When something breaks or a product doesn't work right, complain. Find their website and tell them what went wrong and most companies will send a coupon or replace the product.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
January 16, 2008

Which web sites do I post dissatification with Electrolux, Tappin, Lowes Customer Service and a local repair agency? I have a less than a year old microwave that died the day before Thanksgiving and is still not fixed. I dealt with a repair company that has told Frigidaire that it has been fixed (the guy was here 5 min).

Tami from Charleston, SC

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
January 16, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I usually check with the Better business bureau, you can register complaints with them, and they may even be able to help you resolve open issues :) good luck!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
January 16, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have used most of these before:

http://www.planetfeedback.com/

http://www.epinions.com/

http://www.my3cents.com/

http://www.complaints.com/

http://www.ripoffreport.com/

http://www.fightback.com/

Here are some others:

http://www.rateitall.com/

http://www.thesqueakywheel.com/

http://www.screwedcentral.com/

http://www.reviewcentre.com/

http://www.holyshnikes.com/

Have you tried to contact the various businesses not just by phone but by letter? Sometimes you have to work your way up the chain of command. Be sure to be firm but civil as the poster before say. Good Luck!

http://www.wiki  ter-to-a-Company

http://www.bbbonline.org

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
September 4, 2016

I had a "professional company" fix my floors. Well they detroyed them instead. They refuse to fix them. I have contacted so many people. I know there has to be help somewhere. Does anyone know where I can get help? Here are a few pictures of when it started. It has gotten a lot worse since then.

Thanks.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 27, 20170 found this helpful

I have in different circumstances managed to get some satisfaction by threatening companies to contact the Better Business BUreau or other organizations such as the FCC when a cell company was giving me the runaround

I sincerely feel that you need to sue them in small claims court. Figure out the $$ value of the damage (at leat $5000) and sue. YOU have a good case and mighb even be able to get a pro bono lawyer to work with you

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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