It is frustrating when your engagement with a business does not go as you had anticipated. In the height of your disappointment, you may find yourself venting to your family and friends and maybe wanting to make a public warning to other customers. However, these approaches do not warrant that your issue will be resolved.
7 Ways to Effectively Complain about a Company:
1. Contact the Company Directly
The best approach to voice your issues would be to contact the company directly, either face-to-face or through their various contact channels, e.g., phone, social media pages, live chat, email, or formal letter.
Contact by phone is the most efficient method for getting an immediate response. However, if the company does not provide direct lines to call, use other channels where the customer representatives are highly engaged.
For instance, some companies’ customer support is highly engaged on Twitter, while others are involved on live chat or email. Check the company’s consumer reviews on different platforms to establish the channels of communication through which others customers get help.
Make your complaint as soon as possible as the company may have a timeline limit for resolving specific issues. For example, if the company offers a 30-day return policy for defective items, you only have 30 days to initiate your complaint and send back the items.
The best person to contact about the issue would be the one you originally dealt with or a company’s customer service representative. If the problem is not resolved or the representatives do not have the authority to fix it, ask to speak with the manager.
Be clear and articulate about your issue and the type of resolution you seek by providing all the necessary details and facts. Communicate in a polite but firm manner.
Keep in mind that a company’s ability to resolve your issue is guided by the law, your consumer rights, and their policies. If you do not get a solution, even though the solution you seek is within your consumer rights, consider other alternative channels for voicing your issue.
2. Write a Review on a Review Website
Online reviews websites are some of the most popular platforms for customers to share their experiences with companies they engage with. For instance, PissedСonsumer.com receives over 4.5m monthly visitors, including reviewers and prospective buyers seeking to identify issues that previous customers have alerted about a given company.
On a review website, other customers can comment on your review to provide pointers on how they resolved a similar issue. Also, some review platforms enable businesses to respond to reviews and customer complaints about their company.
If you are hoping to hear back from the company, be strategic about how you post your review. Use a professional tone and provide all the necessary details about your complaint, except your personal information. Also, mention the kind of solution you are seeking.
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3. Publish Social Media Posts
Aside from complaining to the company directly, you can publicly voice your issue about the company through various social media platforms. For instance, you can post your issues on your timeline or the different buyer beware groups or pages. The only downside to this approach is that the company will most likely not see your post if you don’t tag them.
With that said, if your post sparks interest with other customers who had a similar negative experience with the company, it could pick momentum and become viral. Most companies are aware of the effect of such negative publicity and may be keen to reach out to you to address the issue.
4. File a Complaint with the Consumer Protection Agency
The Consumer Protection Agency offers various services, including conducting investigations on customer complaints, mediating complaints, regulating and licensing professional service providers, educating about and advocating for consumer rights, and prosecuting consumer law offenders.
The government agency has offices across the U.S. in each state. Check the usa.gov website for contact information for your state’s consumer protection offices. Call to ask if they handle your type of issue and the procedure for filing a complaint. You may be required to submit a written complaint or visit their offices.
5. File a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection
The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for protecting customers against unscrupulous business practices, including rip-offs, scams, and fraud.
While they do not act on every complaint filed, the various customer complaints help create a database of fraudulent businesses. The database is then shared with law enforcers throughout the U.S. Businesses that consistently come up in the database are investigated and prosecuted if necessary.
To file a complaint with FTC, go to reportfraud.ftc.gov. You can report a wide range of issues, including phone card fraud, credit and debit card fraud, false advertising, job scam, identity theft, and unauthorized billing, among others. You will be led through a series of prompts to record details about the issue and the company.
6. File a Complaint with Your State Attorney General
Each of the 50 U.S. states has an attorney general who provides legal services for their jurisdiction. Each state provides a particular procedure for filing a complaint. Visit your state’s attorney general’s website for their contact information and the procedure for filing your consumer complaint.
You may be required to fill out a form, send a formal letter, or visit the A.G.’s office. Whichever the procedure, ensure to provide all the necessary details about the complaint and the company to help the attorney general plan an informed course of action.
7. File a Law Suit against the Company
If all else fails, and you feel you have legal grounds for suing the company, then go ahead with litigation. The exact litigation process will differ from one jurisdiction to another and depend on the type of complaints.
Typically, it involves drafting a demand letter and submitting it to the court and defendant. You then fill out relevant court forms and pay any required fees to register your case. You will receive a court date, and you should serve the defendant via mail.
Note that a litigation process is quite expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, it is only worthwhile if you have a solid case against the company.
There are several ways to voice your complaint against a company, as evidenced above. The most suitable one depends on the issue at hand and the company’s response. The first line of action should be to complain directly to the company. However, if they do not take the appropriate action to resolve your issue, consider other complaint alternatives.