Creative consumer complaints get heard

Don’t get mad, get tech savvy when you want results

CHOICE says consumers who feel their complaints are being ignored are getting better results when they use social media, online forums and blogs to vent their frustrations.

Consumers have told CHOICE that they use Twitter and Facebook to get results after getting nowhere with customer service departments or generic email responses.

“Many businesses monitor what people are saying about them online. Some companies seem to be more proactive when it comes to fixing problems that have been tweeted or posted online as opposed to complaints that come through their call centers or generic email accounts,” says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.

Examples of creative complaints highlighted by CHOICE:

• Josh used a Facebook ad when replacement parts for technical equipment were never delivered. Within 12 hours, 20 employees of the supplier had seen Josh’s ad. The company’s national director of sales emailed Josh directly to say he would sort out the problem.
• Brian tweeted about a company that had shipped a spare part to his billing address in Sydney rather than his shipping address in Melbourne. After reading the tweet, the company contacted him and sent a complimentary part.
• Mark posted photos of his faulty watch and failed correspondence with the supplier on eBay. 1600 people viewed his ad, offering words of encouragement as well as posting similar complaints.

“More companies are reviewing their service standards as a result of online activism. Vodaphone revised its service and network model as a result of the critical website Harvey Norman backed down on a campaign to charge GST on goods purchased from overseas websites after a barrage of negative reaction on Twitter,” says Ms Just.

With more people going online to highlight their complaints, CHOICE says it’s important they understand their responsibilities when posting online comments.

“Getting your complaint noticed is one thing but there are potential legal implications for any online activity. Complaints need to be backed up with facts and it’s definitely not the place for personal attacks,” says Ms Just.

CHOICE tips when posting complaints on-line:

• Contact the company and give them the opportunity to fix the problem before you go public with social media.
• Apply the same etiquette rules online as you would in person.
• Try posting directly onto a company’s face book or twitter account or popular forums, as these are monitored by businesses
• Avoid sharing sensitive or private information. Don’t assume you will remain anonymous just because your details aren’t displayed

Find CHOICE’s full report into online complaints at  

Media contact:
• Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669

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19 Feb 2010 | There will always be cases where consumers are aggrieved or exploited. Consumers expect to be able to have their complaints fairly resolved, and that systematic abuses of their rights will be deterred.


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