HOW TO COMPLAIN, AND WRITE A LETTER OF COMPLAINT
Everyone has consumer rights. You have the right to know what you will receive before you pay for a product or service. When you are not satisfied, you have to make a complaint to get your money back or to have the product replaced.
Review what happened and think about your options and rights. Consider the facts of the case, and what you want to happen. If you are not sure what your rights are, or how to proceed, contact a consumer group and discuss the situation. Talking with such an organization may help you decide how to handle the problem. Pay attention to all printed information you have about the case, such as ads you responded to, brochures, warranty, guarantee, all letters between you and the business and any other papers you received from the company, including agreements, instructions, receipts and billing statements. If you signed a contract, read it carefully and ask the company for explanations of anything you don’t understand. The contract or warranty may limit your options or provide you with certain rights. Decide what you want from the company, such as repair or replacement of the item, a refund, an exchange, a credit, a correction of the company’s records, or the payment of damages. Consider whether a compromise would be acceptable. It may be easier to resolve the complaint if you agree to a settlement that falls short of a full refund.
COMPLAIN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
The sooner you complain, the better your chances for a satisfactory settlement. Some store refund policies allow you to return items if you do so within a few days. If you wait too long to return the item you will lose the right to get your money back. In addition, it can be difficult to defend your position if you wait a long time to complain.
HOW TO GET STARTED
First of all, you have to clearly present your problem. If you fail to communicate effectively, it will be more difficult to resolve the complaint. When you contact the company, have all the relevant information at hand: a description of the item, any date to help the company identify your purchase (receipt, billing statement, purchase order number, billing statement, invoice, etc.). Explain clearly and briefly what’s wrong and what you want the company to do.
Do not get emotional: speak calmly and politely. If you make the complaint handler’s job harder by getting angry, that person is likely to respond negatively to you.
Make notes about all conversations you have about the complaint, including the names of everyone at the company you spoke to, when you spoke to them and what they said.
You can complain by phone, in-person or by mail. As a general rule:
1. Phone first to tell the company about the problem and to try to resolve it.
2. Go to the company to return the purchase or when there is a need to meet with someone to examine the item, receipts or statements.
3. Write letters as soon as you realize it will take a while to get the problem resolved
WRITING A COMPLAINT LETTER
Sometimes problems can be resolved with one call or visit. But when you realize that you are going to have problems with your complaint, start putting things in writing. Sometimes businesses ignore complaints until they see them in writing.
Letters are important for these reasons:
• To create a written record of your complaint with the company.
• To preserve your rights under law.
• To make sure the business understands your side of the story.
• To lay the groundwork for a future legal case or defense.
• To let the company know you are serious about pursuing the matter.
If your first letter does not bring a response, send a second and contact someone higher up in the company. If the salesperson can’t help you, ask to speak to a supervisor or store manager, and then the owner or the company’s headquarters.
In most cases, you do not need to send letters by certified or registered mail. However, if the company has ignored your letters or claims it never received them, consider paying for a mail receipt that will provide proof that delivery was made.