Learning how to complain successfully

LOS ANGELES Like many of us, Rosemary Lacolla gets mad when she gets overcharged, or something doesn't hold up like it should.

"I got roses at work and they died the next day. And I think they're supposed to live a little bit more than a day," said Rosemary.

Tony Giorgianni of Consumer Reports Money Adviser has developed a guide to successful complaining. He says the best place to start is with the company itself.

"That's where you're likely to get the fastest satisfaction. And if you can't get help from a supervisor, go right to the top," said Giorgianni.

How do you find the head honcho? Scour the firm's Web site or annual report for the chairman, chief executive officer, and the like.

"Let the company know that you want to resolve the problem, but you are also interested in remaining their customer. If you act angry or threatening, the company may not help because it already knows it lost you," said Giorgianni.

If your complaint doesn't get any action, Tony says you have to go outside the company.

"The best place to start is with the local consumer protection agency," said Giorgianni. "Often that's either a consumer protection department or the state attorney general."

Also try the Better Business Bureau at BBB.org. There you can file a complaint online.

As for Rosemary, her call to the florist got her another three dozen roses delivered the next day.


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