Got A Complaint? How To Fight Back!

Who hasn’t had a beef with a business or company?  Don’t get me started.  I’ve had my fair share.   Airlines.  Cell phone companies.  I’ve written about my frustrating experiences.

You’re angry and want to fight back (non-violently of course).  The problem is, you don’t.  Why?  Could be many reasons.  You don’t think it’ll make a difference.  You move onto other things and forget about it.  Or you don’t know how to complain.

Let’s work on that last one in a moment.  But first, you’re not the only unhappy customer out there.  The Better Business Bureau has a new survey out on consumer complaints. Here are the top complaints by industry (according to Labor Dept.):

  1. The cell phone industry, where complaints increased 2% in that sector from 2008 to 2009.
  2. In the TV/cable industry, complaints were up 9%.
  3. A whopping 42% more complaints in the banking sector.
  4. 9% more complaints about internet shopping.
  5. And finally, used car dealers saw a 2.5% increase in complaints.

The most effective way to have your complaint heard — file a written complaint. Some companies have an online form that you can use.

  • Make sure you keep a copy of your complaint letter so you can start a paper trail if necessary.
  • Make sure to include as many details as possible, including the action you want taken and how much time you expect the situation to be resolved.

Check out the government’s Consumer Action Handbook at, where you can find sample complaint letters.  You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or the state attorney general.

You may want to try the easiest approach first.  Call, email or visit the company’s customer service department.  But however you air your grievance, stay calm and be polite.  I know, that’s not easy sometimes.  But you’ll be more likely to get what you want.  Good luck!

Video version of the story:

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