How to make a consumer complaint


At times, manufacturers of goods/service providers indulge in unfair trade practices. But, consumers may not pursue their complaints against these parties because of the time, energy and money involved. Some may not know how to go about redressing their grievances. In this article, we guide you on how to make a consumer complaint.

Be clear in your mind why you are dissatisfied:What exactly went wrong? Were you treated in an improper manner? Was the product defective? Did the service provider not fulfill a promise? What do you expect from the person/organisation which caused the grievance? Do you want an apology? Repair/replacement/refund? Proper service?

Deal with the issue as soon as possible: If a product is defective, return it as soon as possible after you notice the fault. This applies to services availed as well. Even if there are no time limits, it is easier for you and the organisation to deal with recent events.

Keep all relevant documents about your complaint: You may need these records later if you take your complaint to another authority. Keep track of the steps you have taken to address the complaint. Write down details of phone calls – who you spoke to, on what date and what was the response. Keep copies of letters you write.

Proof of purchase: Keep receipts, credit card statements, debit card receipts, cheque stubs and other evidences of payment as proof of purchase of the product/service.

Tips for writing complaints

• Keep your letter short

• Be polite, avoid being sarcastic or rude

• Clearly convey what action you want

• Give a reasonable time limit for action before you consider other options

• Make sure your letter is sent to the right person or department

• Mention your telephone number/email address

• Ask for an acknowledgement

• Always send photocopies of your bills/other documents not the originals

Stay calm and don’t give up

If you are confronting someone directly, don’t let emotion and frustration affect your behaviour. Sometimes, humour can work better. Be liberal with praise if someone in the organisation is helpful. And don’t ever give up. It is worth spending a little time to fight for your rights.

Sources:,, Insight, January-February 2009
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