The art of complaining

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At the moment I am in the middle of an on-going complaint with a big multi-national company. I won’t name them or say what the complaint is about but I do think the art of complaining is like the art of negotiation.

In every negotiation the key is to remain calm. It is only by remaining calm that you put over your argument clearly and thoroughly. By keeping calm you also keep your position strong. People will be more likely to deal with you and help you if you remain calm.


When complaining you need to know what your ideal resolution is and what the resolution you would settle for is. When complaining someone can offer you a number of different resolutions, but during this process, if there is something you want, you have to keep remembering what it is you want or else you will settle for something less and be dissatisfied with the outcome.

Politeness doesn’t cost anything but can get you a long way. When you deal with someone either over the phone or face-face, there will be many different actions this person can take. The more polite you are when you complain, the more likely you are to get them to take the action, which is the best they can do for you. If you are rude to someone that you want to help you, the chances are that they won’t try as hard to help.

Keep on top of things

Be organised! Write down all your points of complaint and the reasons for them when you start. After you have that, make sure you keep a track of all correspondence to do with your case. It is important that you are aware of everything that has been said and refer to it wherever possible. The more you can keep to the facts and the history of the case, the more pressure you can put on someone to do something about your case.

Know your position, your rights and your argument. When complaining about something the person or company you are complaining to will normally have a get out clause. If they do, you will have to make sure your argument is strong and compelling enough to make them act. When you deal with a company you need an angle and you need to work it. Whether it be attacking their customer service, quality of product, quality of service or the potential damage to the company brand.

Get legal

Not all clauses companies put in are legally binding and some can’t be upheld. So don’t let a clause put you off in the T’s and C’s. My advice would be to speak to someone in the legal profession and get a legal opinion. If you can quote the law correctly in your argument, it might be enough to make a company reconsider their position.

My advice when you complain would be to never give up and if one approach isn’t working, keep trying others until something works. Bad news travels fast in this world and not many companies want bad news associated with them so keep that in mind.

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