Tips for Complaining

For people, particularly those sensitive to certain situations, things to complain about can appear around every corner. From a dirty fork at a restaurant to less than stellar customer service from BT, from late airplane flights to dirty hotel rooms, all kinds of things can warrant complaining. It is, after all, some people’s favourite pastime.

Still, there is a right way and a wrong way to mumble and grumble. Criticising things or people too often, or without any tact, may worsen a situation dramatically, giving the complainer something to really complain about.

Keeping the following tips in mind, however, may help you to complain efficiently and, more importantly, effectively.

Don’t Go Over Heads, at Least Not Immediately:
“Can I speak to your supervisor?” is often the complainer’s personal mantra; after all, summonsing the supervisor is the surest way to get things remedied and get your complaint taken seriously. Occasionally, speaking to a supervisor or manager may be needed, but most of the time, people who are lower on the corporate ladder can help you just the same. Instead of going over their heads, and possibly getting them in trouble or even fired, try going to the person at the source of the problem. If they can’t or won’t help you, then, and only then, ask for someone else.

Remember that Less is More:
There is nothing that will take away the validity of a complaint faster than a person who complains every chance they get. If you have “the boy who cried wolf” complex – and complain about things that don’t warrant criticism – you will never have your complaints taken seriously. Instead, you will simply be written off as a “complainer,” a label that labels you worthy of being ignored.

Be Honest:
Sometimes people may look for reasons to complain, hoping that they can use their complaint to get a better hotel room, a complimentary meal, or a free airline ticket. Looking for things to complain about, however, is really just looking for trouble. If you have nothing to justifiably criticize – or need to look through a proverbial microscope to find something – then your complaint may be bordering on dishonesty. Your complaint might also leave you playing with Karma. Instead of filing a non-existent complaint, try something else and offer a compliment. The staff might react just as favorably.

Don’t be Unreasonable:
Whenever a person complains, they most likely want their problem fixed, they want to be compensated for their inconvenience, or they simply want to blow off steam. Whatever it is that’s being sought, it’s important to keep in mind that reason is the key. Not only do you need to be reasonable with what you choose to complain about – complaining about rough weather on an airline flight will get you nowhere – but you also need to be reasonable in what you expect someone to do in return. If you complain about something that is relatively minimal, then assume that the remedy – or the reimbursement – will be relatively minimal as well.

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  1. I decided to change my broadband service from Virgin to BT last month because of some offers they were doing and as it was advertised at a cheaper rate than I was already paying. Within 3 days of being on line I got an email from BT saying that I had almost reached my 10G allowance and would be charged £5 per 5G over the allowance! A rough calculation told me that I would end up paying £350 per month for my new Broadband plus line rental at £13.99 per month. That is nearly £350 more per month than I was paying with Virgin. After complaining about this injustice I was told that I was on Option 1 which allows 10G of downloads only but I could upgrade to Option 3 which was unlimited but it would cost £40 per month (nearly 3 times what I was paying with Virgin).
    I had no idea that BT had sold me a limited package and I have been told that I am now under contract for 1 year and would have to pay a year's line rental to get out of it.
    I am awaiting my request to terminate the contract and have disconnected my BT service and will return their HomeHub when I get instructions but have been told in no uncertain terms that I am under contract and should have read the small print.

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