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Consumer Reports Money Adviser: Where to complain online

New Ways to Complain—CRMA’s roundup of where to air your gripes online and how to write an effective complaint

Consumer ReportsYonkers, NY – Whether it’s a rave review of your new flat screen TV on Amazon.com or a scathing critique of a car dealer on Yelp or Facebook, there are plenty of online outlets where you can post your opinions. And companies are paying attention.

The experts at Consumer Reports Money Adviser (CRMA) have seen Sears, for example, respond to dozens of consumer complaints posted on Twitter, where the company has a customer-service page, on its home services blog, and on The Consumerist, a Website owned by Consumer Reports. In many cases, Sears responded by providing information on how to contact an employee who should be able to help with a problem.

“Not so long ago, you had few options for expressing your dissatisfaction with a product or service,” said Noreen Perrotta, Editor, Consumer Reports Money Adviser. “Today, there are so many places to complain online so consumers have alternatives to waiting on hold for a customer service representative.”

The full story is available at Consumer Reports and to subscribers of Consumer Reports Money Adviser.

CRMA rounded up the best places to lodge your complaint and how to do so effectively.  Here are some of them:

Web Site                        Type of Reviews

AirlineComplaints.org    Airline-related complaints or suggestions for improvements.                                                        
Amazon.com     Reviews and ratings of products and Amazon merchants.                                
Angie’s List Reviews and ratings of local services.                
ComplaintsBoard.com Complaints about products, services, companies, and professionals.
The Consumerist Reviews and complaints about products, services, and companies. Includes news and consumer tips.
Epinions.com Ratings and reviews of products and services.
RateMDs.com Reviews and ratings of doctors and dentists. Includes access to medical-board records and top 10 lists.
TripAdvisor.com More than 45 million reviews and ratings of hotels, restaurants, attractions, vacation rentals, cities and towns, and more.
Yelp.com Reviews and ratings of local companies and professionals.


Where to post

Your own “social pages.” If you have a blog, website, or Twitter or Facebook account, you’ve got your own outlet for opinions or reviews. Its effectiveness will depend partly on how many people follow you or find your comments through and online search.

Company sites. Many manufacturers and retailers, such as Amazon, allow customer comments on their websites, and they often let the bad reviews stand along with the good ones. CRMA has seen some companies, including Walmart and General Electric, address consumer complaints posted on their Facebook pages.

Effective critiquing

When posting a comment online, it’s important to establish your credibility. Sure, a prolonged rant could make you feel better, but such cyber chest-pounding might not be taken seriously. Plus, your post might be blocked or removed.

When critiquing a company or product, first check the site’s frequently asked questions and terms and conditions to find out what’s allowed. Make your comment as brief as possible, and include facts. If you’re being critical, mentioning the good along with the bad lets readers know you’re a consumer, not a competitor out to drive up your own sales.

Be careful to not get sued: Companies and professionals have sued individuals who make comments they don’t like including a San Francisco man who was sued in 2009 by his chiropractor for criticizing billing procedures on Yelp.

Remember that once you post something, it will probably remain on the Web for a very long time. Even if a site lets you modify or remove your comments, the initial post might get picked up by search engines or other websites.

About Consumer Reports Money Adviser

Consumer Reports Money Adviser is a monthly, subscription-only newsletter that answers tough money questions and provides expert financial advice. Its proven information and successful strategies can make any financial decision an easy one. Each month, CRMA provides feature articles and helpful investment, savings, and spending advice that will help prepare consumers for anything life may bring them.

For more information visit: www.ConsumerReports.org.


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