Have you at any time, felt let down by a service company or a manufacturer that you trusted? Have you tried complaining to the company but were brushed aside and did not get the desired response or assurance about getting either a refund or a replacement? Have you felt like screaming and tearing your hair out in frustration? Are you wondering why they are so apathetic to your complaint and what you can do to get your problem sorted out?

Whatever the problem you are facing, probably your first response to being shortchanged is to get angry. How dare you get the wrong product! How dare you get a faulty product! How could they give such slipshod service. After promising the sky, the product you ordered turns out to be substandard. Reason enough to get angry and give the vendor a piece of your mind.

Maybe the strategy you are using is incorrect. Here are 5 effective tips to complain successfully.

Verify that your complaint is genuine
First make sure why you feel disgruntled. What did you pay for? What did you get? What is the defect? Get your facts right and be sure to keep all your invoices, warranty cards and other supporting documents ready. Read the product description and check your product for deviance. Read the disclaimer policy and understand what you are eligible for.

Think about what you want to do
The next step is to understand what you want to do about the problem. Do you want a refund or a replacement? Can your product be repaired? If it is a size mismatch, can the problem be solved it the correct size is dispatched? Do you want compensation to be paid to you for distress borne? Sometimes your ego might be hurt by arrogant behaviour of the service personnel and you might want an apology. So ponder a while and get your thoughts together. Once you are clear about what you expect from the company, plan the next step.

Make the first move
Every product or service has a toll free customer care service number that should be your first step. Maybe the problem is a minor one and will be sorted out with a phone call. Speak with a clear but firm voice. Do not be tempted to shout. Listen calmly to what the service executive has to say. If it does not make sense, don’t lose your cool. Go the next mile.

Convey your problem to the company
Keep all facts at hand and write a clear email to the company. Mention all the details clearly – date of purchase, model, place of purchase and whether in a shop or online. State why you feel unhappy and what you expect from the company. Tell them of the response you received from the customer care center. End by saying that you expect a favorable response within a certain time period, failing which you would be forced to take further action, go public on social media and approach the consumer court. Usually mails reach the concerned persons or the department that deals with complaints and written complaints get a response.

Visit the office
If there is a physical office of the company in your city, make sure to visit it and repeat the complaint. Explain why you are unhappy and enumerate all the steps taken so far. Keep your voice firm, yet courteous. If the response is not acceptable, raise your voice a little. Usually companies don’t like unpleasantness in their business places as it will affect the other customers. Usually at this point, a reasonable solution will be reached.

Social media & consumer portals 
If all the above steps don’t yield favorable results, resort to social media. This is the nightmare that most companies dread. Reputation management is one of the areas that many new age companies concentrate on. Complain on their Twitter using their @handle to ensure that it reaches them and hits them where it hurts most. Online complaints spread like wildfire and damage a company’s reputation beyond repair. There usually is a special department browsing the internet and checking what is being written about them and their products or services. Not to forget, the many online review and consumer complaint portals like Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports where you can write a review and leave a rating. They are as well tracked by brands and companies to improve customer service.

Consumer court
If all else fails, approach the consumer court and file a complaint. If there is merit in your complaint, the court will definitely award you a redressal fee and a refund or replacement of faulty product.

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