How Not To Complain

complaint 150x150 How Not To Complain“You blood-sucking, unethical leeches.” That is the start of a complaint we received in our office some years back. While it may have gotten the business manager’s attention, the tone was not entirely conducive to a reasoned discussion of the issues. And, over the years, customers and businesses have referred to each other as incompetent, liars, frauds, cheats, scammers, and worse.

Recently I discovered a “sample consumer complaint letter” on the website tips for letting a company know you’re unhappy with them include the following:

• Remain calm. The person who can help [usually] didn’t cause the problem. (I insert the qualifier “usually” because once in a while, the employee the consumer is unhappy with turns out to be the owner. Or the owner’s spouse.)

• Don’t use an angry, threatening or sarcastic tone.

• State exactly what you want done about the problem.

• Document each step, and keep copies.

The Better Business Bureau encourages you to always try and work out your issues with a business directly before filing a complaint with us. If things aren’t getting resolved, you can file a BBB complaint by going to And, remember to Start with Trust by checking out a company before you decide to purchase.

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About Holly Doering

Holly Doering has worked for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana for half a decade. Her areas of expertise include the CORE Values Program (Character, Optimism, Respect, Ethics) for Teens and Charity Review as well as writing and editing. Prior to that, she has written for two newspapers, a local magazine, and taught English at the community college. She is the proud author of a short story in ZYZZYVA literary magazine and has had good luck publishing lots of poetry. Each year she rolls up her sleeves and wades into the autumn Nanowrimo writing madness and has several unfinished novels to her credit.