Consumer Complaint

Having a conflict with a company and/or complaint can be extremely challenging considering the frequent power imbalance between you as a consumer and a company. You are one person, and the company might have a great deal of resources to counter your complaint, or simply ignore you. Although Mediate to Go promotes informal conflict resolution, you might have a better chance of succeeding if you try informal methods such as discussing the issue with them, then either resort to, or threaten to resort to a formal complaint or legal process. Sometimes, you might even be able to attend a mediation process with the company to resolve the issue. Here are some general tips when facing a consumer issue.

  1. Document everything and save all related evidence. Take photos of the items at issue; write down when things stopped working, when you called the company for help and with whom you spoke with. You should also write down the negative impact the breakdown had on you. Ideally, you will have a list of dates, what happened and who was present.
  2. Research about similar complaints. On a search engine, find out what other consumers have faced, if there are common concerns, what worked in terms of recourse, and if there is any relevant information from the company, such as a recall notice.
  3. Research consumer rights organizations and bodies. In many places, consumer protection bodies have been founded by government and/or community groups to help people in your situation. The organization or agency might even contact the company for you and make the complaint! Companies might also take complaints more seriously if you are represented by a larger institution. Check out your local Better Business Bureau to find out if the company at issue is a member. If so, they might call on your behalf.
  4. Call the company with your complaint. Remind them of how long you have been a customer. Keep the attendant on the phone for a long time. Feel free to be angry, but respectful. Remind the person that the anger is directed towards the company, and not them, but that you need the issue to be resolved. If you don’t get the desired result, get their name and ask to speak with a supervisor. Ask for the same thing, and then get their name if you don’t succeed.
  5. Find out the complaint process. Does the company have an ombudsman? This is the right time to get that consumer organization or agency on your side. Ask for help in writing a demand letter from a community legal clinic, as this might show the company you are serious.

    This is a nice mix of formal and informal modes of conflict resolution. If you don’t get what you want right away, consider filing out our negotiation form below to better prepare for your complaint process.