7 Steps To Shoppers Biting Back

AARP magazine has a great piece on putting your dukes up when you’ve got a complaint or problem with a business.

7. KNOW WHEN TO FIGHT
Your time is money. Resolving a business dispute should never cost more than what the bungled product or the service is worth.

6. THINK LIKE A BUSINESS
Appeal to the company’s bottom line by making clear that it will cost more to ignore you than to give you what you want.

5. CHANNEL DIRTY HARRY
If speaking up makes you nervous, write yourself a script of what you will say to the unscrupulous business.

4. DON’T FEAR GOLIATH
If you’re getting nowhere with customer service, call Investor Relations or the Sales Department. Both are trained to make happy customers, rather than just make them go away.

3. MAKE NICE WITH THE LITTLE GUY
Remember this: When on the phone, get every representative’s full name, agent number, and call-center location. Don’t believe lines like “I’m the only Mike here.”

2. GETTING WHAT YOU WANT
If you shout or swear, the biz has an excuse to label you a “problem customer” and not take you seriously.

1. PROTECT YOURSELF
Your credit card company can be your best friend. Ask for a charge to be put “on hold” to give you additional leverage when dealing with a problem company.

The article expands on each of these maxims with an insightful and practical anecdote. Check it out. — BEN POPKEN

Consumer Guide: Fighting Back [AARP Magazine]
(Illustration: Istvan Banyai)

Comments

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  1. rbb says:

    The information is good, it’s just the source that bothers me a lot.

    Just guessing, the average age of the a Consumerist reader is in the 20-something range (I’m twice that though).

    The AARP is one of the biggest anti-youth groups out there. Who do you think is keeping social security from being reformed? Who do you think killed the bills to allow you to invest some of your SS with-holding in a private account? On whose back will the burden fall to keep social security afloat? More info here http://www.poorandstupid.com/2007_05_06_chronArchive.asp#4

  2. Ben Popken says:

    @rbb: Not really a post about AARP, old people and social security. If you want to discuss that, I’ve opened up a thread here on the consumerist forums.

  3. mac-phisto says:

    on #3 (& #2)-> i always get the rep’s name first & use it repeatedly throughout the conversation (hi john! listen john, i need some help. is there anything you can do for me, john?). supposedly, this has the subconscious effect of disarming someone – learned that from a negotiator.

    also, remember that 90% of the ppl that front lines deal with are jerks on the phone. they spend the majority of their day listening to ppl scream & yell at them for stuff that is not directly their fault. overcome their uncaring attitude by being exceptionally nice, inserting small talk & listening to their responses. find common ground.

    i know this sounds silly when calling to dispute something, but know this: many reps have the ability to fix your problem. whether or not they choose to help you depends entirely on your attitude towards them. if you help make their day better, they will help make yours better.

    now obviously, i escalate my displeasure the longer a phone call goes, but generally you’re not going to get anywhere if you start throwing a hissy the second a rep answers the phone.

  4. I’m still waiting for the day that I get a consumerist on the phone at my call center. I will know them by these checklists ;)