Information On Consumer Rights

A guide to buyer's security, tips for smart shopping, and advice for protecting your investment.

Everyone has felt ripped off at some point, most people simply go about their day feeling upset and betrayed. Most people are not aware of everything involved with a repair or purchase, after all if you knew you would fix or make it yourself. The fear of drawing attention to oneself and the thought that "Oh I don't want to cause any trouble," is what stops many people from standing up for fairness. Others simply lack the information to know they have been ripped off at the time. Trust your gut feelings! The key to getting what you deserve is information...information...information!

Situations of disagreement are unavoidable, but you can hopefully take away from this article that you are not powerless, and you are more than likely right. The following are some helpful tips on how to initiate a complaint.

*When confronting the offending business be sure to draw out your major points before getting on the phone or going to the office. This is a good way to organize your thoughts and it leads to forming some supporting arguments should they be needed.

*Hope for an easy resolution, but be prepared for a fight.

*Take a look at their website, many have contact information for the supervisors, managers, general managers and so on. You may want to bypass the agent/employee you dealt with, as they most likely have no power to refund money or make decisions that may have legal ramifications.

*Sometimes there is no website or no contact information so don't be afraid to call and ask for a supervisor or manager.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, you may get an unsatisfactory conclusion on your first confrontation with an employee or low level supervisor. Just remember, this is not the end of the story, only a beginning. Some helpful tips after the first level of escalation are to:

*Take notes of what is said and how it is said.

*Keep track of names of people you talked to and their position.

*Focus on key points they made and correspond them to points you made or add them to your mental/written notes so you can remember to check up on those points (but still keep your ears open for everything that is being said).

The key point to take from this is: Be organized and persistent in your position. Write down their reasons for denying your request, ask specific questions, and let them back themselves into a corner, and in the end say or find the INFORMATION to counter their points.

With a failed attempted at reasoning with the supervisor, begin to try to reach the Manager or General Manager. This may take persistence, either due to their busy schedules or avoiding your messages. Always keep in the back of your mind how far you are willing to go to resolve this. If you are willing to do what it takes to get a satisfactory result, then consider the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs and jot down your local organizations address, email and phone information after reading through their criteria. Do not use threats of reporting the company to these agencies in your initial conversations as they may deem them empty threats and not help you. The major sites have links to local chapters if applicable. From both of these consumer websites you can find information regarding your particular company or area of complaint. You can find out how your company stands with BBB, can escalate your issue through BBB, and find information on both sites regarding known issues and legal action. Armed with these two websites you will be able to find your local branches of each organization, consult legal advice, take legal action if necessary, and air your grip publicly. If you do threaten to report an agency, be prepared to follow through and perhaps seek legal recourse.

With a devotion to resolve this issue to your satisfaction, you should update your notepad of information and rearrange and organize your thoughts again to reflect new information. If the supervisor had made any statements or claims to counter your claim make sure to follow-up on them. This may involve getting a second opinion from a similar business. This will let you know if you have a leg to stand on. If you get complimentary information you can still proceed, but contradictory information will give you all the fuel you need. Put this in your arsenal to use with the manager or general manager. Confidence when speaking to the manager can be a decision-maker. Tell them, politely, what they are going to do for you, don't ask them to do it for you. Politely and simply list your points without the long drawn out story. If they ask questions or make points, counter them and mention any discrepancies you have learned via the supervisor or your second-opinion. Chances are the issue will stop at this level and the Manager/General Manager will give you some sort of offer or downright give in. If not, refer above to the two agencies that you can use to escalate your case. Remember:

*Always get a second opinion

*Don't be afraid to use the chain of escalation (Supervisor, Manager, and General Manager) that is what it exists for. It is a chain of decision-making power.

*You can win the battle; it just takes persistence and the desire to see the right thing happen. It becomes less about the monetary loss, and more about justice.

Never forget that you are not alone. Just know that for every time you feel you were wronged, there are probably people who have been and will be wronged by the same company. You are not doing anyone a favor by not coming forward with a complaint. Stand up for your rights as a consumer! If you were cheated, or even think you were, find the information to prove you were taken for a ride and take actions necessary to get it resolved. Second opinions (thirds if possible) are priceless in supporting or refuting your position and are a good way to gauge how far to take your complaint. Ask questions of the work to be done and make them explain to you until you understand what is involved. And should a complaint result, always document the events, people, and things said as they will be the only fuel you have to win your dispute and should legal action be necessary.

© High Speed Ventures 2011