Tips on making effective consumer complaints and more:
Internet ScamBusters #88
Today's issue is about how to get the results you want when you have a problem as a consumer -- in other words, how to resolve consumer complaints most effectively.
First, a quick follow up on last week's issue:
We began the last issue by answering the question about the PayPal class action lawsuit: it is real and not a hoax.
We got feedback from quite a few subscribers telling us that PayPal's customer support disagreed with us -- they said this was actually a phishing scam.
We got copies of all the emails, and went to our top contact at PayPal to find out the truth.
He told us that we were correct -- that the PayPal class action lawsuit and settlement are indeed real, and not a hoax. He told us that this will be corrected by PayPal's customer support.
Still, remember our prediction in last week's issue:
'We predict, however, that if there aren't already, there will soon be a lot of phishing scams about this class action lawsuit and settlement.' So, to learn more, see the email, and not get taken by a PayPal phishing scam, visit:
So, no need to worry if you followed our advice (since it was correct). And, it's always good to be careful.
And, we thought you'd be interested in a new car buying article we just put up on the site. It answers the question: 'What is the best day to purchase a car ?' Visit now.
OK. Time to get started...
9 Tips On How To Complain So You Get The Results You Want
As a consumer, there's bound to be a time when you feel that you received really bad customer service, or that you need to return something that isn't working, or you may even feel you've been scammed.
For each of these incidences, you may need to place a complaint -- and we want to help you make sure it's as effective as possible.
In fact, this article was inspired by the absolutely awful service and customer support we received from a company last week. It is truly amazing that this company is still in business!
So, here are 9 tips on how to complain to get results:
1. The most important thing is to put your complaint in writing -- making a phone call to the store or the agency won't have nearly as much impact as a letter will. (If you do end up on the phone, however, keep a log of who you spoke to and the date and time, as well as what each conversation was about.)
2. Be clear -- before you start writing -- exactly what the problem is and how you would like it to be resolved. This will help you organize your thoughts when you write them down.
3. Go right to the 'source' -- find out to whom you need to address the letter. The store manager is probably the first choice, but you might also send duplicates to the owner (or a head office) and any department heads that may be affected, for example.
4. Stick to the facts when you describe the problem. Exaggerating or getting angry won't help the situation -- and could harm it.
5. And speaking of facts, be sure to include all of them -- serial, model or brand name and number of any product in question. Also include the times, locations (if necessary), and the names of anyone who was involved.
6. Detail anything you've done to correct the situation yourself. For example, include calls you've made or other relevant people you've spoken to, repairs you've already done, etc.
7. Include copies of everything: receipts, warranties, repair invoices, and any other relevant documents. Keep the originals yourself until after the matter is fully resolved to your satisfaction.
8. Send your correspondence 'return receipt' so you'll know who signed for it, and when.
9. If you don't get a response within a reasonable period of time, or if the response is not to your satisfaction, and you want to pursue the complaint, you can contact:
- the state Attorney General's office, or
- the Dept. of Consumer Protection
And here's a bonus tip:
10. You can also let the company in question know that you're doing this (or send them copies of the letters). This may motivate them to work with you to resolve the complaint rather than involve the government.
We hope you rarely need this advice. But when you do have a problem, it's good to be prepared.
That's it for this week -- see you soon.