How to Complain to Companies and Get Results
As all of us inevitably experience at some point, companies make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes are costly. From erroneous health-insurance claim rejections to double charges on credit cards, consumers who aren't paying attention can end up forking over more money than they should. One industry group estimates that billing errors involving health insurance alone exceed
That's why consumer vigilance is so important. Many people never see their cash again because they don't notice the problem, they don't have time to call, or, worst of all, they don't feel they have the right to complain.
Women are also more likely to overpay because they tend to be less comfortable with the idea of lodging complaints, says
According to a survey Sullivan conducted for his book, those of us who make our voices heard have a decent chance of getting the desired results: Complaints to credit card companies and airlines had a success rate of over 60 percent. (If you're calling to complain to your cable provider, however, you may want to first hone your debating skills: Only 20 percent of consumers got the response they were looking for.)
Here are seven expert tips on how best to lodge complaints and get your money back:
Just do it.
The most important lesson is to actually take the time to a lodge a complaint in the first place. Many customers don't, and that's why they end up being overcharged or unsatisfied.
Don't exaggerate the problem.
Always contact the company first.
Brummer says consumers have a good chance of resolving their problems with just a quick call to the company. So before involving others, such as his website, make the call.
Check your bills.
Many people don't notice that they are being charged for a monthly service until they've been paying it for months, and companies often resist refunding months' worth of services, Brummer says. He recommends taking responsibility for the accuracy of your billing statements.
Review receipts before you leave the store.
Count your money -- it's not rude.
Spankie says there's no need to be self-conscious about making sure you were given the correct amount of change, whether it's at a bank or a store. It's better to check than to go home and realize there was an error.
If you've had a terrible experience and aren't getting the desired response from the company, consider complaining publicly, through blogs or the media. Says
Despite their sometimes impenetrable automated phone lines, companies are not the omniscient, technologically advanced entities they often present themselves to be -- and it's up to customers to hold them accountable.
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Personal Finance - How to Complain to Companies and Get Results
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