It’s in the approach: Get what you want from businesses

WASHINGTON – People have a right to get what they pay for. If a product breaks down or a service isn’t provided as planned there are right and wrong ways to ask for satisfaction.

Consumer Reports recommends a forceful but friendly approach.

“Go in guns blazing — you make them think that you’re mad and they’ve already lost you as a customer — they’re not going to help,” says Consumer Reports Associate Finance Editor Anthony Giorgianni.

The idea is to go in friendly, and say “look, I know your company is better than this,” says Giogianni.

People choosing to complain should decide what they want to accomplish and ask for it. Customers making a good case often do get satisfaction whether it’s a refund, replacement, free parts or free repair, the article says.

Giorgianni also recommends not being discouraged by “fine print” or expired warranties. If something seems unfair or unreasonable, discuss it.

“I don’t care there’s a one year warranty on the refrigerator, a refrigerator shouldn’t break down in a year and a half,” says Giorgianni.

It’s roughly five times harder for companies to attract new customers than to keep current ones, according to Giogianna. So, it’s less expensive to placate complainers.

“Companies want to keep you as their customer,” he says.

If initial efforts get rebuffed, ask for a supervisor or that supervisor’s supervisor, Giorgianni says. Also consider writing a letter to the company’s CEO. Or post the issue details on the company’s website or on social media. Some companies staff social media sites with customer service representatives to field complaints.

If something breaks right away Giorgianni recommends taking it back to the store to ask for a replacement even if the ‘fine print’ says only to return the item by mail to the manufacturer.

Whether it’s a store or a manufacturer Giorgianni says “they should stand behind their products and they make sure you get what you deserve,” whether it’s a product or a service.

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