JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Nobody likes a complainer, as the old saying goes. But you work hard for your money and sometimes the service or product you purchase is not to your satisfaction. Companies know that, so they have call centers or support service.
What do you do if you are dissatisfied? Here 10 ways to file a complaint effectively.
Do not procrastinate. While the details are fresh and the merchandise is in its original package, contact the business or customer support immediately by phone and clearly explain your problem.
It is common sense, but choose your words. Even if you become frustrated by the process, avoid language that can be counter-productive. Do I need to say more? The words you choose may impact your results.
Keep a good record of the complaint by writing the name of the person with whom you spoke, title, time and the response. You want a good history of the process until you get results
If there's no progress in your phone complaint, ask to speak to a manager or ask to have your complaint sent to a conflict-resolution team. Many companies have staff that deals with complaints that may be difficult to resolve.
If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, then it is time to write a letter to a person in authority, such as the owner or CEO of the company.
It should be a one page letter, 250 words or less. Most people are not interested in a rant; if you prefer to send an email, do it, but reinforce your email with a letter.
What do you put in a complaint letter? The description of the problem, the steps you have taken to resolve it, and what you would like the business to do, within reason. Send it registered mail and give the company 10 business days to respond.
If there's no response, or if your complaint is still not resolved, it is time to formally register your complaint with a regulatory agency like the Attorney General, Public Service Commission or an organization like the Better Business Bureau. Ask them to investigate your complaint.
If you've done the preceding things and you're still getting no response, it is time to consider legal action. Consult an attorney. Even if you're not going to file a lawsuit, ask the attorney to write a letter of demand.
Consider consumer mediation. If it's is that important and you don't have the money for a lawsuit, mediation is a process that allows all parties to work out a settlement. It is reaching a compromise with the help of a neutral third party.
If you feel you have run out of options, consider the alternatives. You can conduct a consumer picket or use social networking to tell others why you have a complaint with the service or product.
But there are rules: If you plan to do a public picket, you cannot block traffic to the business and you cannot put libelous information in your handout -- that also goes for your internet protest. It defeats your purpose and sets you up for a lawsuit.
First Coast News