Want to resolve issues? Learn to complain better

WASHINGTON — If you have an issue with a company, knowing how to complain well, might help get your problem resolved.

According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Editor Janet Bodnar, expert complainers recommend the three Ps: Be polite, be patient and be persistent.

Be polite  

Don’t use emotionally charged language. “Just tell them, ‘I’m a loyal customer. It would make me really happy if you would address this one issue,'” Bodnar said.

Be patient

A straightforward complaint might take about a week to get resolved. “Something that’s more complex — something that has to do with insurance, for example — that could take six or eight weeks or longer,” Bodnar said.

Be persistent

If you feel as if you’re being dismissed or not taken seriously, take your complaint up the food chain.

“You might ask for the supervisor at the call center. If that doesn’t work, you want to talk with a customer service manager, even the vice president of customer service or all the way up to CEO,” Bodnar said.

An advantage to complaining via email is that it can create a paper trial. Bodnar said some companies prefer to be informed about complaints via social media, such as Twitter or Facebook. “So, that they can handle them right away,” Bodnar said.

Final options might include disputing a charge with your credit card company or taking the business to small claims court.

Bodnar said a good first step toward avoiding issues is to do your homework before making a purchase:

  • Examine product reviews to help ensure you’re getting a good one.
  • Know what the warranty is — especially with electronics and appliances.
  • Read the terms of your purchase agreement.

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