Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Got a complaint? Sometimes the old-fashioned way works best

Got a problem with a company? First, try its posted problem-resolution processes (usually a form message sent to customer service; in many cases, you can find the link on the website). If that doesn't work, try e-mailing a senior person in the company. And if that doesn't work, you may need to resort to old-fashioned snail mail and send a letter via the U.S. Postal Service to the president of the company.

This will work almost all the time. You can find the name of the president or CEO by doing online searches (states have publicly accessible databases of companies registered and/or incorporated in that state, or you can search public companies through the SEC).

Most of my complaints have been responded to and the situation handled within a week to 10 days after I mailed the letter. A complaint letter to FedEx resulted in an apology (which was all I really wanted) plus an American Express gift card (a nice surprise). The one time in recent memory that it didn't work was when I sent a complaint letter to Nike; they ignored the first letter and a follow up, so I just won't buy Nike shoes anymore. But smart companies respond to letters and use them as training opportunities, so if you can't get the results you want any other way (assuming, of course, that your complaint is valid and your resolution request is reasonable), try an old-fashioned letter.




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