HOWTO: Complain

Every so often, the plane doesn’t leave on time, a wrong part gets shipped or a bank teller sniggers at your hat. If you’re disappointed and want to tell the company, these tips will help your complaint see real results.

• Know your contractual obligations.
• When possible, complain on the spot.
• Stick to concise, relevant details.
• Written complaints generate more results than phone calls.
• Note misbehaving employees by name.
• State specifically how you want to be compensated.
• Be polite.
• Keep it under one page.

Tips on drafting your letter, and more, after the jump…

A well-written complaint letter should state your

1) Purpose.
2) Reasons.
3) The importance.
4) Request
and finally
5) Ask for a written reply.

Remember, this a chance to explain what went wrong and possibly receive compensation, not to come to terms with your fear of father figures.

The higher you lob your complaint, the greater its chance for results. See our post on obtaining Executive Level Customer Service.

If the company comes back with a counter-offer, be prepared to accept or negotiate. Completely intractable is not a good look.

What are your complaint tips?

More: Tips for Successful Complaining. See especially their section on following up when you don’t see results.