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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): A Complaint That Will Get Attention

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Complaint That Will Get Attention

How many times have you ever bought a product or service that severely disappointed you? Probably more times than you can count I bet! Don’t just sit back and take it. I’ve actually had some success writing complaint letters to companies…more often than you would think!

Here are some tips to get you going:

  • Address the letter by name and never “to whom it may concern”. Especially with the internet, you should be able to find the name of someone in charge at that company. Address it to the person in charge of that department or even the CEO of that company.
  • Don’t write a novel. Keep the details brief. State what happened, when, how and where. Give dates and places if needed. Explain the situation clearly and don’t put any emotion into it!
  • Don’t rant and rave. If you show you are angry and out of control, the company may just choose to ignore you just because of that. People hate to be pushed around.
  • State what you want to resolve the issue. Don’t leave it open ended. If you want the thing fixed, say it. What about a replacement? Your money back? Reimbursement for whatever? Always say what you want the company to do and what result you'd like to see.
  • Don’t threaten. It’s too early in the complaint process to do that. Give them the opportunity to respond to your initial request.
  • Send documentation. If you need to send photos or receipts, enclose a copy, not the original.
  • Make a copy of the stuff you are sending. I have a file in my cabinet just for complaints and company correspondence..and no, I write maybe one complaint letter every other year...I don't do this is a hobby or just for kicks. I just do this when I have a legitimate problem. Write the date you sent it along with any mail documentation.
  • Send it through trackable mail. This way, the company knows you are serious about it, and there is a way to follow up to find out if they even received your letter.
  • Follow up. Give it a week or two after receipt, and then call and just inquire about it. In 80% of the instances, I’ve had the company offer me something that made me happy. The other 20%, I had to decide if I wanted to pursue it or just drop it all together.

If you don’t get any results or help from the company, there is one other step you can try before pursuing small claims court. Small claims court can use up a lot of your time, effort and money.

Try filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. I let the company know I am going to do this. One time, it even spurred the company into action. There also are a few websites that give you a global voice such as Planet Feedback or try to shame them into responding at Complaints.com. I am reminded about the person who complained about the first generation IPOD battery. It was only intended to last a certain length of time, and once it was spent, you were SOL. The battery couldn’t be replaced. The company told the guy, sorry, you’ll just have to buy a new IPOD. Well, that was the wrong answer for this guy. He ended up starting an internet campaign. Many others jumped on his bandwagon, and pretty soon, their voices were so loud that Apple had to come up with an answer and a solution…just like that. Keep that in mind the next time you deal with a company on an issue. The little guy CAN sometimes win!

If you do go the small claims court route, call your county clerk or look on the internet for your county and small claims court. File your claim. Be sure to find out how much money to bring along and if you can pay by cash or check. Take a copy of the letter and any documentation you already sent to the company and any response they may have already sent back to you. Ask the clerk for help in filing your suit. Many times, they are more than happy to give you some pointers. When you get your court date, be on time and be prepared to wait awhile. They are many times behind schedule. Be sure any witnesses you have are there too. Don’t wing it when you go in there. Have either an outline or what you are going to say. Have key dates and points written down in front of you. Look and be organized to make things run more smoothly and to keep you from getting flustered or off track. Don’t interrupt the judge or defendant and be sure to keep your cool!

Have you ever had to deal with a company you've been unhappy with? How did you go about it? Were you successful?

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3 Comments:

Blogger Laura123 said...

when my ipod battery died i went to ipodjuice.com and got a new one. problem solved. I don't know if they do the 1st generation ipods though. Good luck!

-laura

February 22, 2008 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I've never taken the time to write to a company, but I've called plenty of times. And yes, I was polite, concise, and kept it short.

There was the time I purchased a package (38) of diapers. At least 5 of the diapers were unusable due to tabs ripping off, or being stuck together so I couldn't even open them. The company was quick to respond...they send me a coupon to replace the package of diapers, along with 2 additional free package coupons (valued at about $13 each, it was a BIG deal), and several other dollar-off coupons. They were my diaper company from then on.

I have always experienced good things when I've filed a complaint, so long as I was civil.

February 22, 2008 at 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there another good resource at www.civiltree.com where you can file the small claims online!

February 23, 2008 at 12:26 AM  

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