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How To File A Complaint Against Your Telephone Provider or Cell Phone Company - Setting Your Goals

Updated on April 19, 2012

OK so what do you actually want to accomplish? Believe it or not, some people actually don’t stop to think about the answer to this question before they start on their epic quest for customer service. Well, it depends on what YOU want. Would you simply like an apology, cash refund, or credit for services?

Lets start off small. Will a simple apology do? Lets say for example that you just had a horrible customer service experience with someone, and you want to let their colleague know what you really think of them... I know that the immediate reaction is to turn around and call the company back again. But please think again! Resist all temptation to quickly call back the company and give them a piece of your mind. Here’s why: Many companies employ random call backs for customer feedback. You have probably received a call like this before, an automated survey asking how you would rate their service. Lets say you take a few moments to complete the survey, then you call back to vent to a supervisor. Do you realize you just cancelled out the survey call? Many companies actually tie their customer satisfaction results to the surveys, and many employees get reprimanded either by write ups, or their pay/bonus is effected by these results. If you call back and talk to another representative on the same day, when the representative who was super rude to you gets called into their supervisor’s office, they pull up your account and BAM! The customer talked to multiple representatives, and guess what, they walk out unscathed.. Now if you resist the urge to call back the same day, that representative has no excuse of “They talked to someone else, it wasn’t me that upset them.”

I have been on both sides of this and it’s frustrating. Many representatives at “the phone company” I worked for would actually make a game out of it. They know if they tick off the customer enough they will call back to complain. Voila! The customer called back on the same day and they are sittin’ pretty.

Do yourself a favor and don’t immediately call back on the same day of the horrible service unless there is a serious safety issue such as down lines, cables, or your service is shut off. This will not only give you a cooling off period to calm down a bit, but it will also allow the customer service feedback system to kick in if your company has one in place. Just mark the date, time, and whom you spoke with in a nice little log somewhere.

lets turn the clock 24 hours into the future. You’re now free to call the company back, but what do you want? An apology? Simply ask for one and I’m sure they will be happy to provide one. I was always big on taking ownership of my customer and even sent out a few apology letters back in the day. Ok so it was a form letter that basically says “We’re Sorry: (INSERT REASON HERE)”, but it did go a long way.

If you are attempting to get back a refund for a service, be sure that you are asking for an appropriate amount. I would get customers all the time that advised their service was out for 3 days and they want a free month of service. That’s not a realistic demand. Lets face it, everyone claims that they lost over a million dollars of business over the course of that three days.. Sure... That’s why you have a single phone line business, and are two months behind on your payments.. No representative will believe that. Phone companies do not reimburse you for loss of business because let’s face it, there is no way to prove your case.

Now if you are realistic and simply ask for a refund for when the services were down, you’re more likely to actually get a a refund for a partial months service. Don’t be surprised if it seems like an low amount because lets face it, your $24.99 a month telephone service is only billed out at $24.99 monthly, and $.84 per day. Don’t be insulted if you actually get what you ask for. On the other hand, many representatives also find this amount to be very low and will often times inflate the service outage to actually get you a bigger credit. Just don’t expect it. Let’s face it, the big mega phone companies didn’t get rich by handing out money.

Would you like to get someone fired? Odds are it simply isn’t going to happen. If I had a dollar for every time someone said that they would get me fired, I would be a rich man. If you claim this you simply sound like a jerk and you help build a case FOR THE REPRESENTATIVE that ticked you off.

Here is my favorite thing of all time: “I want to speak to your legal department, this is against the law”. Again, it’s not going to happen. If you actually ask for this and get through to someone, I bet you my iMac that they aren’t really an attorney but the person sitting right next to the representative that sent you there. Phone companies do in fact have legal departments, but they don’t interface with customers. They are there for legal counsel for the company and it’s management. Not the other way around. Let’s face it, if you are knowledgeable enough to actually speak with an attorney from the phone company comfortably, you know that it needs to be in writing. If it turns out that you do in fact hire an attorney for your issue at hand, believe me they have spent countless years learning how to issue lawsuits to large corporations. A lawsuit is not initiated over the phone.

Now that you might have an idea on what you want to accomplish, I suggest starting off small. I would suggest actually trying to cordially work out the problem with the company at hand first. All telecommunications companies are regulated at the state level as well as the federal level. If you get no satisfaction from the company, then I recommend proceeding to your appropriate state resources. Let’s face it, you never see a “Law & Order” show start at the supreme court, it starts off locally.


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