Got a problem? Complain online!
June 3, 1999
by James A. Martin
(IDG) -- You turn on your brand-new TV and see nothing but a blurred, overly green picture. When no amount of adjustment fixes it, you take the TV back to the electronics store. After several weeks, the store employee says the problem's fixed, but when you plug the TV in, it's green and blurry again. Complaining gets you nowhere. What next?
Go to Complain.com, a new Web service for consumers who can't get satisfaction for a product or service they bought.
For $19.95, Complain.com will identify the names of the offending company's chief executive officer and customer care executive, write a professional letter of complaint, then send two copies of the letter (one for each executive) to you. You then review and sign the letters, enclose any supporting materials (such as copies of receipts), and mail the letters to the CEO and customer care executive.
The letters include a "via Complain.com" logo that lets the recipients know the complaint was registered through the service. The companies can respond to the complaint through Complain.com, if they choose.
Complaints are added to a Complain.com database. The company says it will analyze the data for trends and use its information to generate reports on consumer products and services. If you've registered a complaint, you can access those reports through the Complain.com site.
Four weeks after you've mailed your complaint letters, you get an e-mail from Complain.com, asking if the issue has been resolved. If the problem still exists, Complain.com will fax a copy of the original complaint letter to the offending company's chief executive. After that, you can get referrals to Complain.com partners, including law firms.
Get some respect
Why pay money for a service that sends your complaints via the U.S. postal service?
According to Complain.com, letters sent in the mail bearing its logo will immediately indicate how serious the complaint is. By comparison, complaints sent via e-mail are easy for companies to disregard.
Complain.com offers a free service for consumers who want to send an e-mail complaint to a company regarding an unsatisfactory e-commerce transaction. When the consumer sends a gripe to a company via e-mail, he or she can copy Complain.com on the message. Complain.com will notify the company via e-mail that the complaint has been added to its database.
Additionally, Complain.com will publish original articles and analysis of consumer products and services at its Web site and provide consulting services to corporations who want help solving their customer complaint problems.
Complain.com is not the only consumer complaint service available via the Web. Among the others are Fight Back, from consumer-advocacy journalist David Horowitz (currently under construction); Complain to Us, a problem-resolution service; and Cemptor.com, a free consumer advocacy service.
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