Addressing Grievances

While we hope that you are completely satisfied with your purchase, there are always going to be cases where some kind of problem comes up. Let's face it—no one is perfect! This being said, it's important to know the right way to address a grievance.

If you're unhappy with a product or service you were provided, the first step is to reach out to the store or company to explain the problem and discuss what a fair remedy would be. But before you do, keep these things in mind:

Stay cool.

Remember what mom told you about attracting bees with sugar. You should always remain calm, keep a level head and be polite. Getting angry, yelling or using profane language will not get you any closer to resolving the issue. It may also make the company less willing to work with you.

Be upfront.

Clearly explain the situation to the company representative, but don't embellish or make the problem seem worse than it actually is. Often, calmly explaining the situation is all that is needed to resolve the issue in your favor.

Don't be afraid to escalate.

In the event that you aren't happy with your initial interaction with the company representative, don't be afraid to ask to speak with someone else. A customer service manager or supervisor may be necessary to resolve the problem. Remember, being polite and respectful, not rude and demanding, can go a long way to getting what you want in the end.

Credit card disputes may help.

Credit cards sometimes earn a bad rap. Sure, they can help put you into debt if not used correctly. But when managed wisely, purchasing with a credit card offers consumers significant protections should they encounter an issue. If trying to work things out with the company gets you nowhere, consider disputing your charge with your credit card company. You don't need any documentation to start a dispute, but be prepared to offer receipts, copies of phone records, copies of emails and any letters you've sent to or received from the company or person in question should you need them later in order to support your claim.

Do note that there are often restrictions on the amount of time that can pass before you are no longer able to dispute the charge, often ninety (90) days. In these cases, contact your credit card company anyway. They can often dispute a charge further back than their policy allows, but you may have to go through additional hoops, such as sending a signed and certified letter to a division inside the credit card company. This situation may arise if a company has been working with you on an issue, such as a defective product, but keeps sending defective replacements.

Keep Accurate Records

Whether it's by phone, email, written letter or in person, keeping track of all correspondence you have with a company regarding any type of customer service issue is always a good idea. Keep copies of letters and emails, and log all phone conversations or in-store visits. This documentation could help you case down the road.