Complain So Someone Will Listen

imageIt happens to all of us.  We buy something and we get it home and discover a problem.  Something doesn’t work right or while you are installing it you find it is missing some pieces.

It is always a good idea to shop around and compare prices and features.  This is especially important if you are purchasing appliances or other major household items.  See what sort of warranty comes with the purchase and how easy it would be to get service if something goes wrong.  Ask the store about returns, exchanges, repairs, and guarantees.

As you make the purchase, remember to store receipts, warranties, or anything else that may be important if you need to return the item.  It works well to have a dedicated file or drawer for these sorts of papers.

If the time comes and you are unhappy with your purchase, follow these directions.

  • Register the complaint as soon as possible after the purchase.
  • Contact the merchant while all the details are fresh in your mind and you still have original packaging
  • Make a record of your complaint, even if it is just notes you have taken while on the phone.
  • Save any and all copies of email or letters you receive from the merchant
  • Track the names and dates of phone or in-person conversations.
  • Be clear and concise with your complaint.  Keep your supporting evidence and documents together.  Try not to lose your temper–it will not help.
  • Ask to speak to the supervisor if your problem can not be resolved by the first person you speak to.  They may not have any power to negotiate. Know what sort of resolution you want/need.  Carefully consider any resolution that is offered to you.

If you can not settle the issue without help, consider contacting the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Iowa.

To file a consumer fraud complaint with the Consumer Protection Division, provide a written, detailed description of the problem and supporting documentation (if available). Please include the following:

  • Identify the name, current address, phone number, website and email address of the business.
  • Describe the problem in detail in chronological order.
  • Explain what you would like the business to do to satisfactorily resolve the problem.
  • Include copies of all documents relevant to your complaint, including receipts, contracts, bills, letters,  emails, advertisements, etc.
  • If you submit a mailed complaint, please print it or make sure your handwriting is legible.

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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