Like everything else in life, consumer transactions don't always go the way we'd like them to. Maybe the couch you bought arrives with the wrong fabric. Maybe the steak you order for dinner ends up well-done instead of medium. It's a fact of life—sometimes you just have to complain.
The key is to complain for results. And it may not seem fair but the burden of this ending up well is, at least at first, on you. Since you're also motivated to have a happy ending, this advance work pays off:
On this last point, Matthew D'Uva, CAE, president of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP) International, says, "Your goal is to develop a relationship with a company you've already invested your time in."
Now you have just a few more steps to a satisfactory outcome:
And finally, if you strike out, contact the Better Business Bureau, or, if the problem warrants it, your state attorney general's office, the Federal Trade Commission, or whatever state or federal agency has jurisdiction over your complaint.
Throughout it all, remember your resolve to be pleasant. As my grandmother really did used to say, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Putting aside the question of why you would want to catch flies, it's good advice.
The people at your credit union bring you this Web site and other tools to help you make the most of your financial resources. In 2010, the Financial Fitness Challenge will continue to look at ways you can make better financial habits no matter what condition the economy is in.
Each month we'll randomly select five winners to receive $50 Visa gift cards; we'll choose each month's winners only from that month's entries, so enter often. Remember to register for the Financial Fitness Challenge.
Susan Tiffany, CCUFC
Home & Family Finance® Resource Center
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