NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Complain, Complain, Complain

Complain, Complain, Complain


          If you have recently been a disgruntled customer who has attempted to make your voice heard, you how difficult it can be to find a resolution to a problem.

          Unfortunately, making complaining difficult is the goal for many companies. Many companies do their best to make it very hard for customers to complain – hiding the phone number to call with grievances in fine print, online complaint forms that are difficult to navigate or being unclear on the steps it will take to resolve an issue with their company.

          Before contacting a company, research protections you may have as a consumer.  If you used a credit card for the transaction, you may have additional protections such as the ability to dispute certain items.  You may have extended warranty protection with a particular credit card or insurance. 

          Find out what the company or manufacturer promises if the product is under contract, warranty or guaranty. Learn who regulates the company and whether you might have additional consumer rights under federal or state law. If you are dealing with a collection agency, for example, the Federal Trade Commission offers an online summary of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as well as state laws regarding collections. To review the Federal Trade Commission’s summary visit: www.ftc.gov.

          Ask yourself – what will you accept as a solution?  What do you want to happen?  What will resolve the problem? Do you want to replace a damaged or broken product? A refund? You will have a better chance of achieving success if you state exactly what you want the outcome to be. Rehearse your explanation so you sound logical and clear when you speak with company reps.

          Keep notes of whom you talk to, when you reached them and what the net steps are.  Make sure you have the name, department and phone number of every person you speak with and a note about what you were told.

          Follow-up and be persistent.  Ask for a supervisor or another department. Ask if there is a better time to call, another person to whom a letter should be directed.


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