My Story: Complaint Letters
4 Steps to Getting Your Way When You Complain
5 Trusty Tips to Score Better Customer Service
Recently, my son found a bit of yucky stuff in his can of Coke. I emailed Coke and received coupons for twelve 12-packs of Coke products! I gave five of them to the store that sold the can to me, in case they had complaints. They, in turn, forgave three late movie rentals.
It's all in the attitude. You may get nothing but a better product. However, you may get much more for your constructive criticism.
I've had good response in the past from various companies, including Hormel. Here are my tips for optimum response (maybe not freebies but at least they listen)
1. Be helpful, not angry.
Address the problem (quality control, customer service, packaging, etc.) and make constructive suggestions in the first paragraph of your letter.
2. Leave your feelings out of it.
If it won't enhance product sales, nobody cares but you. If it tastes bad, isolate the flavor. If the package grossly offends you or misrepresents itself, be specific and point out the offense backed by statistics you can get off the net. If the flavor is supposed to be orange but tastes lime, let them know instead of just telling them it's awful.
3. Be sure to make your intentions clear!
Your intentions should be to improve the product and not just get a freebie. Companies know when a consumer is looking for an excuse to sue or get free stuff.
Sample complaint letter:
Dear Hormel (or Company name here):
I recently bought a can of Hormel Spam. Although it was delicious (as always), I think your quality control department should know that there were bits of bone in the product. Then, specify the product code number if known as well as the expiration date.
My family has enjoyed Spam since I was a child and my children love it. I know that my particular can was probably an isolated case, but I thought you would like to know that your inspection process might need a bit of fine-tuning.
Thanks for your time!
Dear Coca Cola (or other company):
We have enjoyed your product for many years and have shared it with our friends. However, I think you should know that we found an unidentifiable bit of yuck in my son's can of Coke. (Product number bearing the expiration date should be included.) It didn't hurt him, but you may want to alert your quality control to be a bit more vigilant.
Thanks for many years of quality and good service. I'm sure this is an isolated incident, but I thought that you would appreciate knowing of our experience.
Be sure to include your contact information. Most companies appreciate your continued patronage.
With regards to offensive packaging, if the packaging offends your morals for yourself or your children, fine. They'll listen. If it offends your political agenda, don't expect a reply. Sincere complaints are appreciated and valued. Politically correct complaints will devalue any future input you may want to contribute.
Calculator: Find the Best Credit Cards for You
Be polite, criticize constructively, and be sure that you don't imply that you expect any monetary response. Most reputable companies will bend over backwards to keep you as a customer. If you're satisfied with the response to your complaint, tell everyone you can and try to get a couple of friends to email them about your good experience! This ensures that any future complaint will be treated in the most positive manner for both the consumer (you and your friends!) and the company (which will continue to thrive and contribute to a robust economy).
editor's note: Be careful not to give away rights if you've been injured by a bad product.
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com
Take the Next Step
- Are you getting the best CD rate? Use our simple tool to find out. It's completely private, extrememly simple and you'll know what rate is available to you in seconds!
- Compare money market rates with our best rate finder. Don't let your bank pay you less than you deserve. It only takes a minute and your privacy is completely protected.
- Get more great time and money saving ideas in your inbox. Subscribe to Dollar Stretcher Tips newsletter, a twice weekly look at how to stretch your day and your dollar!
If you enjoyed this article you might also want to check out:
Trending on TDS
- Alternatives to the lottery
- Where should I put my savings to get the best return? Video
- How are relationships affected by money?
- The emotions behind buying stuff
- Should you create a trust?
- Reduce hubby's spending?
- How investing style changes over your lifetime
- 5 poor ways to save (and how to do better)
- What to do if your credit card rate goes up
- 40-something and way behind on saving for retirement
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- Money-saving secrets of the rich and frugal
- Reduce your debt with this free debt course by The Dollar Stretcher
- Reduce your debt payoff time
- Find a better credit card rate
- Get better savings & MMA rates