What’s Your Favorite Technique for Winning a Consumer Dispute?

by Chris Bjorklund

One of the columnists I enjoy reading in the New York Times is Christopher Hitz, who’s also known as “The Haggler.” In a recent column, he asked readers to send their best strategies for resolving consumer disputes. I must be “old school,” because I believe that simply working your way through the chain of command is what usually works best. Others have more novel approaches.

Someone wrote in suggesting that you use your camera to document your complaint. For example, if your hotel room has dingy towels, take some pictures of the dingy towels and show them to the clerk when you ask for an adjustment to your bill. Really good idea. Show versus tell.

Another suggestion is to have a private conversation with the manager, sort of a variation on my idea of working your way up the chain of command. Instead of talking publicly about your problem or screaming your head off in front of everyone, you ask the manager to step aside. Keep your voice low to add a sense of mystery and importance to the conversation. I might try this.

When talking to phone reps, one person uses passive aggressive approach to eat up a lot of time. The reps are expected to process so many calls per hour and they’re not allowed to hang up on customers, so the longer you keep telling them you’re not satisfied, the more likely they will give you what you want.
You must have a favorite technique or strategy that you’re willing to share. Send it to me at [email protected] and we’ll post it in a future blog.