January 29, 2013 by Ellen V
I’ve always been pretty timid when it comes to making returns or, worse, complaints of products I have bought or received that don’t work out for one reason or another. Lately, though, I feel more compelled to complain when a product doesn’t meet my expectations. This change in my behavior has happened for a number of reasons: 1) Eric has led by example, and I’ve seen how it can work in his favor, 2) we have become ultra careful with our money, so if I’ve spent money on something and it doesn’t improve my quality of life (or makes life worse), then the company should know, 3) I’m convinced that no one can improve if they aren’t told about a problem, 4) email makes it pretty easy to be non-confrontational and 5) the customer service I have worked with has, for the most part, been wonderful and turned me back into a loyal customer for companies I otherwise would have written off.
Lately, I have been pleased with the results of my complaints. Jane got a Christmas gift that broke almost immediately, and the company sent us a replacement, without even asking that we return the faulty product. We cloth diaper during the day, but the disposables I had been using at night were leaky, and the company sent high value coupons after my complaint. Even though the coupons won’t quite cover the cost of the product, I was pleased that the large company heard my complaint and took the time to email me personally and send a letter and the coupons in the mail. One specific type of a big-name clothing detergent made Eric break out in hives for months after we used it, and the company sent us a coupon for a replacement so we could go back to the type we normally used. Just this last weekend, Eric got a belt that ended up being sized incorrectly, and the company worked with him to get him a new one and split the cost of shipping with him (even though that’s not their normal policy).
Mama K has had a few bad run ins with different products lately (a coffee mug and some new pants, to be specific), and I’ve encouraged her to contact the respective companies. It can’t hurt to ask! I’m interested to see what her experience is with their customer service. It’s never okay to complain just to see if you can get something free, but it is always okay to complain about a product that isn’t living up to it’s expected potential. At least that’s my two cents!