Ever gotten off a call with the customer care guys and felt like shooting yourself in the head? If you are anything like me, the word frustration hardly covers it. You go through a range of emotions – shock at how absurd the company’s policies are, disbelief at customer care guy’s excuses, feeling defeated when they don’t agree, feeling relieved when they do. It’s a nightmare in most cases – and getting your own money back or extra charges removed feels like a victory. Forget about the two hours of your life that you lost – those 120 mins are never going to come back.
So what can you do?
We wish we could tell you a magic mantra but there is none (unless you know a big fish at the company you have a problem with – and you are unlikely to know someone at every company you buy products from). So, brace up, here is what you can do the next time you have an issue with a company.
1. Call and talk to them. Before you hit me for stating the obvious, you’d be surprised how many times customers don’t even call the company when they get a bad product or service. Calling works. Most businesses understand that they won’t do well if they sell a bad product or service – just that they are not able to manage the scale of their operations. If you are a good negotiator and a calm person, you might even get the problem resolved.
2. If talking doesn’t work, escalate it to higher authorities within the company. When you are on the phone with a company, try to keep escalating the call till you get to talk to someone who understands what’s going on. If this doesn’t work, tell them that you will be forced to go to the ombudsman or file a consumer complaint. Threats don’t work, so don’t waste your breath.
3. Raise the matter with an industry authority. Some industries like insurance, banking, telecom also have industry ombudsman – a person with informal authority to pass non-binding orders for companies operating in a specific industry. Sometimes they will even call you and the company representatives and try to find a middle ground.
4. File a consumer complaint – People have various reasons for filing a complaint, ranging from it being a matter of principle to protecting others from facing the same misery to an ego clash with a company representative, and lastly to obtain compensation. Generally speaking, judges hearing consumer complaint matters are generally very friendly towards consumers and are likely to decide in your favour unless you are being unreasonable. However, don’t expect a fortune by way of compensation – Indian forums are loath to award heavy penalties.
Customer service standards have fallen drastically with a lot of companies trying to achieve scale at the cost of their existing customers. If you are getting a raw deal, the law empowers you to seek justice – so don’t shy away from using the various options for redressal available to you.
File your consumer complaint here.