Mary Hunt: Want to get a complaint heard? Try these tips
Sometimes you just have to complain! The secret is to do so with such style and grace that your opponent is prompted to act — not out of duress, but because you present a compelling case and make it possible for him to remediate the circumstances with dignity and grace.
Just the facts. While the details are fresh in your mind, write down what happened.
Start easy. Make at least one good-faith contact with customer service. Don't threaten. State your case and the resolution you expect. Keep a paper trail with names and contact information of the people you speak with.
Be nice. No matter your method of commun-ication, do not make threats or use foul language. Wait until your anger subsides.
Write to the top. If you cannot reasonably resolve the issue, head straight for the top. Contact the highest level person in the company — the president or CEO. Don't waste your time working up the ladder.
State your case. Be very clear on what the problem is, what you have done to attempt a resolution and exactly how you want this resolved.
Use strong language. If applicable to your situation, words like shocking, appalled, egregious, outraged and reprehensible get their attention.
Know what you want. What will make you feel better about this company? Explain in clear and precise terms.
Name the date. Give a specific date two to three weeks hence by which you expect resolution. Be sure to follow up.
Say thank you. Assume the best, and thank the president in advance for his or her attention, and for resolving this matter for you.
Promise to reconsider. The president wants to keep you as a customer. State in your letter that this is your desire, as well, but only when you receive a positive outcome.
Keep it brief. Get to the point. Let your choice of words deliver the tone you desire. Try to keep your letter to one page.
Proofread. Some of us can't see our own spelling and grammatical errors. Have someone proof your finished letter. There's nothing like poor grammar and typos to detract, devalue and dilute your message.
Attach documentation. Send copies of the items that support your claim and prove your situation. Keep the originals in a safe place.
Make it easy to respond. Be sure to include your name, contact information and the best time to reach you.
Be bold. Use bold and CAPS when you type the following in the lower left area of the envelope: FOR IMMEDIATE AND PERSONAL ATTENTION!
Get a signed receipt. Get a delivery receipt: certified or express overnight mail through the U.S. post office; FedEx or UPS.
Keep copies. In case you have to file a complaint with a federal agency or consumer group, you will need evidence of your attempts to resolve the issue. Keep copies of everything.
Go higher if you must. You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against any company. Go to www.FTC.gov, or call 877-382-4357 to file a complaint.
Email Mary Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.