Know How to Complain Effectively

by Chris Bjorklund

The biggest mistake people make when complaining is that they don’t ask for what they want. Joe Ridout, consumer services manager for Consumer Action, says you should be specific if you want your complaint resolved to your satisfaction as quickly as possible. Do you want a refund, a replacement, a discount or an apology? 

When talking to a customer service representative, a supervisor or one of the super-supervisors (also called executive customer relations or retention specialists), Mr. Ridout advises that you stay away from making legal arguments. “If you appeal on the basis of fairness, that’s usually going to be more persuasive. Also some customer service reps are trained transfer complaints to the legal department once a consumer alleges the company is involved in illegal conduct, so it’s better to appeal on the basis of fairness.” If your own complaining doesn’t get results, get outside support from a consumer action hotline or consumer protection agency.

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