How best to lodge a complaint

Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of London's Selfridges department store, is commonly credited with coining the phrase: "The customer is always right."

Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of London's Selfridges department store, is commonly credited with coining the phrase: "The customer is always right."

But this is clearly not always the case. For instance, using an appliance contrary to the manufacturer's guide, breaking it and then demanding it to be exchanged and being refused, is not a valid reason to lodge a customer service complaint.

Customers are also not always right in the way they go about complaining. The most valid complaint can be undone by an unreasonable, abrasive bully who causes a scene and humiliates a staff member.

Vennessa Clark Getclosure, the online complaints management and customer affairs, has pulled together a useful guide for consumers on when and how to complain in such a way that a satisfactory outcome is achieved.

With the Consumer Protection Bill set to be signed into law soon, South Africans will be among the best protected consumers in the world.

Clark says it is up to every South African to know their rights in order to enforce them.

HOW TO COMPLAIN

1. Raise the issue immediately. A free meal two weeks after the spoilt dinner with friends and family is not the same as having your incorrect order rectified on the spot.

2. Be clear on what the problem is and how you would like it to be fixed. "Your restaurant is a disgrace and I'll never eat here again" is far less productive than: "I asked for my steak to be medium rare, not well done, please would you replace it?"

3. Stay calm. As frustrating as the situation may be, you are more likely to get a good response if you remain polite and assertive.

Visit www.getclosure.co.za for more.

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