As a customer, you have the right to voice your concerns about a problematic service or a defective product. Sometimes, companies turn a deaf ear on consumer concerns and don’t wish to engage with a certain problem, preferring to pretend that a simple smile and a condescending word or two is enough to make negative things go away. Given all the lies that are easily spread regarding fake litigious lawsuits against corporations getting out of control, you have a scenario wherein fighting for your rights as a consumer is actually harder than it seems. Luckily, there are a few key ways for you to file a complaint with a seller or manufacturer. If the powers that be continue to ignore said complaints then you definitely have another recourse to revert to. Here are a few ways to help you resolve disputes and feel heard as a consumer.
Not to be obvious, but the first thing you need to do if you run into any trouble with an item or service you purchased is to send a complaint to the seller or manufacturer. Businesses, regardless of scale, usually have a mechanism wherein consumers can send in their complaints easily, and through which they can discuss how to receive a refund or replacement. If you’re truly unhappy with how things have gone, then you should go through the storefront or business first. Most business owners try to find ways to resolve an issue smoothly and efficiently with their customers to avoid negative fallout. Besides, people who care about the services they offer want to make sure that customers leave happy, and that the issue has been resolved. However, if you don’t get the response you need, you will have to resort to part two.
File Online Complaints
If the business doesn’t want to take the necessary steps to help resolve the dispute, then it may be time to begin filing your complaints with other organizations. For one, you should try the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is a private non-profit dedicated to advancing marketplace trust. This means that it takes the side of the consumer, and offers different channels whereby a complaint can be filed in order to highlight poor business practices.
More and more online banks are becoming the go-to choice for many people due to the current circumstances and their convenience. But just like anything else, they don’t come without their faults. Let’s say that you’ve created an account with the ever-growing Green Dot online banking system and have an issue, and can’t seem to get a response. This could be disastrous if you’re in dire need of a solution or your cash. This is where individual companies that specialize in complaints come in. If you have Green Dot complaints and aren’t getting a direct response, there are reliable sites that allow you to do just that and provide you with immediate solutions and responses. These websites allow you to leave honest reviews detailing your experience and also ward off potential customers from these businesses. Filing a complaint via these avenues is also a pretty strong way of signaling to company’s that you mean business and that you won’t wait much longer to receive fair compensation.
The Governmental Route
The next step to take is to either complain to your local government or a federal bureau for consumer affairs in order to put the spotlight on the business. Given the number of online transactions that occur these days, you may have a harder time having your grievances heard by the company. If the seller’s site does not offer a helpful mechanism to solve your problems, then you should look into the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC will help intervene on your behalf to help get your money back or hold the business liable for wrongdoing. You should also visit your state attorney general’s office and file your complaint with them since they are elected to campaign in the interest of citizens on behalf of wronged consumers. Also, as briefly discussed above, a consumer protection agency will also help do the same work: they will review your complaint and all the supporting evidence you provide and will walk you through the next steps on reporting the business’ wrongdoings.
If, however, you bought something from an online retailer who is based in a foreign company, you may feel as though your hands are tied. Luckily, all you need to do is go to Econsumer.gov in order to file a complaint. The route needed in order to reach a business in another country may be complicated, but at least you can alert other potential customers to avoid one site of commerce entirely.
Credit Card Charges
Sometimes business overcharges for a product or service you’re sure you didn’t buy. If you contacted the company, and they have sworn up and down that the charges to your credit card are legitimate, you have another avenue through which you can dispute the charge. Basically, call your credit card company, and dispute the charges through them. Credit card companies have their own mechanisms to take care of these disputes, and they are usually more willing to intervene on a customer’s behalf in order to get a refund. While this alone doesn’t necessarily help resolve the wrongdoing on the business’ part, it does help you get your money back quicker, which is definitely a relief.
If you’ve tried filing complaints with consumer agencies – both private and federal – and all efforts for conciliation or mediation fail, then you may need to consider arbitration. This is a process in which both parties air their views during a hearing and offer evidence of wrongdoing to an impartial arbitrator who will help make a decision to end the dispute. You may need to check with the attorney general or the BBB the best way to handle this in terms of receiving the necessary authorization to begin proceedings, but you may find it worth your while if all of your complaints have fallen on deaf ears. If all else fails, you may be advised to go to court, in which case your legal representative will take on formal litigation proceedings and sue the company in question.
Most businesses will want to do the right thing. It’s normal for businesses to have problems and for customers to leave unhappy. However, how the problem is dealt with is crucial. If you have been treated badly by a business or believe to have been bamboozled, then you can research different channels available to you to help secure your rights.