Consumer Complaints Tips - read before making complaints!
I’ve some useful ideas which I’ve myself experienced in my life, you can save some of your hassles while you make any consumer complaint.
Rule 1: Don’t be lazy
Act now! Register your complaint immediately. Usually a product breaks down just one day before when the warranty expires!
Rule 2: Get a complaint number
Always get a complaint number and note it at a safe place. You’ll only make a fool of yourself by calling the service centers and company executives unnecessarily if you don’t have one. Since no one will remember your complaint after one goes to one’s home!
Rule3: Talk with the right person
Always raise your complaint with the right person who will most probably be the all India customer care executive at some toll free number. Wait for what he/she says, understand the issue, ask for a complaint number, note down the resolution date and wait patiently till the resolution date. When you escalate your complaint, you see that you talk with the right senior person who has authority.
Remember in big companies all this is required for proper maintenance of consumer complaints, so you should cooperate the company with it’s proper channel for raising & resolution of your complaint.
Rule 4: Never be rude with company personnel
Never be rude with any company executive. You can be rude and talk anything with the service center executive since the service centers are simply on contract and are not rolls of the company. Threaten the company but in “decent way”!
Rule 5: Follow the rules normally
Always do your duty, whatever be your complaints for example even if you’ve been billed wrongly pay the dues on time but at the same time follow up with your company. This is considered good etiquette. If you don’t do this, you not only break their "Terms of Service" but also project yourself as unruly person reducing your chances of winning complaint in your favor. Remember you’re only single person fighting against a possibly very big company.
Moreover in a big company, however good, complaints do occur and some customers always faces hassles. It is not necessary that company had done it against you intentionally.
Rule 6: Keep in mind the time frame and legal procedure
If you ever escalate your complaint always keep in mind the time frame and legal procedure. For example in case of telecom complaints never send a complaint to the nodal officer without first registering with the customer care and waiting till it’s resolution. Similarly if you ever send complaint to the appellate authority do it within 3 months after the expiry of the complaint resolution time limit specified by the nodal officer. Otherwise not only your request will be rejected, most likely you’ll not be ever notified of this rejection.
Also unless you’ve not completed the "proper channel" procedure specified by company for complaint resolution or as mandated by government, don’t waste time thinking of going to consumer forum. You’ll only make a fool of yourself. For example for telecom complaints unless you’ve gone through raising your complaints in this fashion: Customer Care -> Nodal Officer -> Appellate Authority etc don’t go to consumer forum. Your application will be rejected just because you did not follow the specified company procedure.
Rule 7: Roar like a lion
Threaten the company of dire legal action but in decent way. Even if you are not going to pull the company in consumer forum never let the company know this. Pretend that you’re all set to do it. Send a normal and final notice prior to filing complaint in consumer forum( which you’re not!).
Raise hue and cry on media, in internet forums etc. If possible write letters to newspapers and media. Every company is wary of it’s image, this can have serious affect on the company.
Rule 8: Never go to consumer court!
Unless you seriously want to get justice (for example, which caused loss of life), never go for Consumer Forum. You’ll face unlimited court adjournments and court procedures. That is, our own democratic system is to blame. Even if you win the case against company, you’ll not get damages more than the cost of the product! In India you CAN NOT! In USA you can sue for 1 billion dollar! Not in India. At most you’ll get Rs. 1000 for court expenditure, Rs. 500 for mental harassment, plus 8% interest.
Rule 9: Lawyer for the company comes FREE OF COST
A company usually hires a law-firm on contract for a year or so. In short company’s cost to the law firm is fixed whether the law-firm fights company’s single case or 1000 in a year.
Rule 10: Don’t go for a lawyer
If in the worst case you’ve decided to knock the doors of consumer court, then it is most likely that you don’t need a lawyer because you can easily fight the case yourself. Consumer case is all non-technical stuff and you can do it yourself. Actually this is the main objective of consumer courts in India so that an ordinary consumer can represent herself/himself easily without going for any advocates.
Rule 11: Go only for a good lawyer
Always take feedback from some known people before you select a lawyer and better take second opinion of an experienced lawyer regularly during your long legal hassle in Indian courts!
If you’re claiming damages for Rs. 1000 then you may end up paying Rs. 50,000 to your lawyer in 20 years. Also remember that a lawyer for the company is free of cost.
Oh the most important! I hope you’ve kept the purchase receipt of the product. Otherwise forget about the complaint!
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