And I agree, too, that we must know the difference between a gripe and a grievance, and what is important and what is trivial. Stop being petty when complaining. Get to the real stuff.
Complaining is a means for people to assert their rights and stand up for themselves. I do that many a time in the newspaper columns. My wife says no one complains more than me! I wish more people would complain.
Instead of feeling empowered, the average citizen may see complaining as both futile and an unsavoury act.
There could be a host of reasons why nearly three quarters of our population will not make a complaint. Some can’t be bothered with the hassle, others don’t know how to go about it, some don’t want to be seen as moaning, and many don’t think it will do any good.
And often we grumble to our friends about being charged too much for a slapdash floor fitting, or how their over-priced train commute is regularly delayed. But, they just don’t want to actually do anything about it.
A food and drinks website survey revealed that 38% of people would never complain about a bad restaurant experience no matter how terrible it was, and 20% of customers don’t complain about unsatisfactory products.
But if nobody complains about substandard products and services then nothing will change.
To complain is to assert one’s rights; to stand up for oneself and not be ripped off or taken advantage of.
It might involve demanding a product replacement, compensation or simply the satisfaction of telling someone that his service is just not good enough.
But it also has significance beyond the personal, because to complain is to say the system is flawed and needs to be improved, and the implications of this can benefit other people and the service providers themselves.
In fact, the word “complain” has more in common with positive action words like “protest” and “feedback”, and less in common with whining self-pity.
A prime example of this positive side is the growing trend of organisations to welcome complaints from its customers.
Forward thinking companies or organisations are always looking for ways to improve their services, and complaints provide an invaluable aid to see where they have gone wrong and what they can do to improve.
This positive attitude towards their more critical audience also helps to maintain customer loyalty.
That said, it is time consumers learn how to make an effective complaint and get redress. I note, and sadly, that many do not know how to lodge a complaint.
In making a complaint please make your letter brief and to the point. The letter should contain all the important facts about your purchase.
Describe your purchase, including any information you can give about the product or service such as serial or model numbers or specific type of service.
Be sure to include the date you made your purchase and location of the store, if appropriate. State what you feel should be done about the problem and how long you are willing to wait to get the problem resolved.
Make sure that you are reasonable in requesting a specific action.
Include copies of any documents regarding your problem, such as receipts, warranties, repair orders, contracts and so forth.
Be reasonable, not angry or threatening, in your letter. Remember, the person reading your letter may not be directly responsible for your problem, and can possibly help resolve it.
Finally, keep copies of your complaint letter and all related documents for your own records, and you may want to send a copy to a state consumer body or to Fomca, the national consumer body.
If you are unsuccessful in getting your complaint resolved directly with the company and must contact other sources for assistance, make reference to your letter.
If you have to contact other sources, such as the Better Business Bureau, or a trade association, be sure to give information about what you have done thus far to get your complaint resolved.
You may also write to the Prime Minister’s Department, which has a bureau for consumer complaints. It can assist you.
BULBIR SINGH, Seremban.