How to Complain and Get Results
Effective complaining - resolving complaints.
How to state what you want and get a refund, exchange or credit. Step-by-step explanation of who to talk to, what to say, what to write. Many examples of successful complaint resolutions.
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The following complaint letter and reply that I received is a text book example of how you can get your money back.

Here is the text of letter that I sent to the head office of a telephone long distance company. I was told by the company's clerks that there was no way that I was going to get a refund. Furthermore I was told that it would take 30 days at a minimum to get a reply. (Note: I have removed the company's name and any other personal information).

Dear (long distance) Supervisor:

I would like a full refund of $93.12 (please see enclosed invoice) for my promotion package which I ordered on 07/17/97. While I realize that the normal 30 day refund period has expired, I believe that it is in your best interest and mine to give me a full refund. Please reply in the next 10 days to the above address or call the above number.

Briefly this is what has happened:

I ordered the package in the hopes of selling a reputable low cost phone service to the many readers of my newsletter.

As I am very busy I have hardly had a chance to look at the package. In the meantime, I found that my phone service had been switched to your long distance service without any authorization what-so-ever. To the best of my knowledge, there was no information about being automatically switched on your TV infomercial nor in the package that I received. (Your phone company is also now aware of this problem because it has changed its infomercial to include this information according to the supervisor that I spoke with at your main customer service office.) However, I never saw or heard any information about being switched nor did I authorize such a switch.

In addition, I was charged a much higher rate than I had been paying with MCI. Now, I understand that your phone company will adjust the rate to the same as I had been paying before, but (A) I did not receive any discount or benefit over what I had been paying and (B) it has taken me a number of hours to straighten this situation out.

I believe that your marketing program is at best deceptive. And I have serious questions about its legality. In any case I cannot in good conscience sell your service to my readers, so now the package is worthless to me.

If you will send me a complete refund we will consider the matter closed. If you do not, I expect a reply with an explanation to the above address.

If I do not hear from you in the next 10 days I will send a copy of this letter, plus a copy of my phone bill and other relevant information to the FCC and the state telephone regulatory agency as well as the state attorney general. I also plan to inform several television consumer programs as well.

In the event that you do not give me a full and complete refund, I will send a copy of your reply to the above offices and TV programs as well.

Sincerely, Rick Doble

About a week later I got a reply in which I was promised a refund. Please note that they were very vague and admitted nothing, however, they did agree to refund my money.

Dear Mr. Doble:

Thank you for your letter regarding the return of the <long distance> program. I am sorry you were not able to use the product effectively.

Your return authorization number is: #XXXXXX. This number is valid for three weeks from the receipt of this letter. If the package is received after this period no refund will be honored. Please put the number on the outside of the box with your name and address and return the product to <address>.

Also, please send the package by insured mail or UPS and keep the receipt until you receive the credit.

Sincerely, Long Distance Supervisor

NOTES: I believe this method of getting my money back was effective because: I put it in writing, I did not get personal or angry, I stated the facts without embellishing, I stated exactly what I wanted and when, and I said initially that it was to both of our benefits (a good negotiating tactic) to resolve this matter.

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