Most Effective Ways To Complain

There are many ways you can reach out to a company with your complaint. Each communication channel has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at different ways of complaining and also at tools that are designed to help you be more effective.

How to complain online

Complain by Phone

This is one of the fastest ways to contact most businesses about your issue. In many cases, your problem can be resolved in one phone call, especially if you are wellprepared.
There are both advantages and disadvantages of a phone complaint:


  • Fast and easy way to contact a company;
  • Most issues can be resolved on the spot;
  • Phone contact does not prevent you from using other complain methods.


  • In most cases you have no record of what happened during the phone conversation;
  • Phone reps are highly trained to handle your complaints without giving up any ground;
  • It is fairly easy to get rid of you and your complaint by simply hanging up the phone or putting you on infinite hold.

Complain by E-mail

There are pros and cons to complaining by e-mail as well.


  • An e-mail complaint establishes a record of the conversation;
  • It is a more formal way to communicate with a company;
  • A well-structured e-mail leaves very little wiggle room and forces the company to answer specific questions;
  • An e-mail complaint does not prevent you from using other complain methods.


  • A company is under no obligation to answer your e-mail. They can simply ignore it;
  • There is no specific time frame for the company to answer your e-mail. They can take 10 business days if they want to;
  • Your e-mail and follow up to it can be handled by multiple representatives, creating misinterpretation.

Anyhow, since an e-mail is simple, cheap and straight-forward way to communicate, we would recommend using it.

Complain in Person

How to complain in person


If you are dealing with a local brick and mortar business, an old-fashioned face to face contact might be your best option.


  • It is very hard to get rid of you when you are sitting in the company’s office;
  • It is hard to say “No” in person;
  • You might be able to speak directly with a business owner.


  • The decision-maker might not be located in this particular office;
  • Face to face complaining may be time-consuming;
  • In most cases, there is no record of your communication with the company.

Use a face to face approach any time it is possible, but keep your mind open to additional channels of communication.

Write a Complaint Letter

If your problem is large enough, you anticipate resistance from a company and/or good chunk of money is at stake, you might consider making a more formal written complaint. Make sure to mail your complaint letter with some form of delivery confirmation. Do not give the other side an opportunity to deny the receipt of your complaint.


  • A written complaint with delivery confirmation will establish a very strong record of your communication with the company;
  • A written complaint will show the company that you are serious about your complaint and will not give up easily;
  • A written complaint can be used in court if need be;
  • A written complaint forces the company to respond in writing, which tends to put some honesty into the answer;
  • Statements made by the other side in writing can be used in future negotiations to your advantage.


  • In most cases, company is under no obligation to answer to you, unless the answer is mandated by applicable laws, such as, for example, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA);
  • It may take 30 or more days for you to get a written answer to your written complaint;
  • You can still get a non-answer from the company.

Keep the written complaint in your toolbox, and use it when needed.

Complain through social media

How to complain through social networks

This is a relatively new, but very effective way to voice your concerns. You can use any social media of your choice to reach out to a company and/or share your experiences with your friends and family.


  • Almost unlimited reach. If your post on Social Media hits the nerve, millions of people may learn about the issue;
  • Direct line of communication with the company;
  • In many cases social media teams react more quickly to your complaint than email support team.


  • Company is under no obligation to respond to you;
  • Social Media is still viewed as more informal way to communicate;
  • While everything that happens on social media stays in Google for good, there are still companies that care little about their brand image on the web. Thus, complaints via social media could be the last place they look at while resolving daily issues.

Online Complaint

This is a very effective tool and in most cases it will get an immediate attention of any company that cares about its reputation. Consumer surveys state that the web is usually a powerful tool to voice the issues customers bump into while using the services or buying products. Submitting an online review is an efficient way to be heard by companies.


  • By alerting the rest of prospects before they actually convert to real customers you make companies reconsider the ways they deal with clients;
  • If the right person is reading what you had to say, you might get a revelation quite fast without having to deal with annoying phone auto responders.


  • Employees in some companies are not trained how to handle online complaints effectively;
  • While submitting a review online might bear fruit, this type of complaints is still informal.

Caring and acquiring customers are not easy things to do. Businesses know that. That is why those market players who are keen on building a strong brand and earning the trust of customers converting them into long-term label loyalists will shower you with care. However, you, as a source of tips and hints about what could be done better, need to reach out to a business and make sure your query is addressed after leaving a feedback or writing online reviews. It is a sole responsibility of every conscious consumer to protect their rights. Becoming a complaint-savvy user who sticks to their guns when demanding the service they deserve or quality of products they have been promised is a true art indeed.

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Legal disclaimers:

1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.

2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.

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