#MotivationMonday - The Art of Smart Complaining

Since this is National Consumer Protection Week, today’s article tells you what to do to avoid losing money when marketing claims prove inaccurate.

Gather pertinent information. Find the company’s return and exchange policies. Time limits for retail returns can range from seven to 90 days. Locate your receipt, contract/warranty, order number, model number and previous communication. If you don’t have a receipt but paid with a credit card, find the purchase date on your statement. For in-person returns, bring the card you used and your ID.

Choose your form of contact. Face-to-face and phone conversations make it easier to connect on a personal level and appeal to a service person’s compassion. Address them by name, relate your problem and ask, “Can you help me?” When you’re seeking a simple fix or want to create a communication trail, use email. Including words like “cancel” or “refund” may bump your email to a priority list since some systems look for such keywords.

Stay calm. Don’t expect a resolution in 60 seconds. Be patient, respectful, specific and concise. Know what you want: a replacement, a refund or other type of compensation. But wait to see what they offer before stating your goal. You can always counter, and their suggestion may be better than you expect. Document each interaction with the date, person you communicated with and what you were told. 

Escalate if needed. When you can’t settle your issue through customer service, ask to speak to a manager or write a short letter to an executive. Or check the company’s Facebook page to see if they respond to customer service matters there. If nothing else works, you can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure your statements are accurate and complete; once you submit your complaint, it can’t be edited. Like review sites, the BBB posts complaints online. So it’s important to remember you are legally responsible for what you say. If you want to go farther, you can complain to your state attorney general’s office or take the business to small claims court.

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