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"I can't get no satisfaction" with a supplier

Mick Jagger does write some catchy Lyrics .. and I help clients with Satisfation

Resolving complaints with suppliers is complex and can be painful and frustrating: here are some tips to smooth out the process:

  • The first thing is to save all correspondence: email is easy as you can create a folder in your Email app. Its easy to get wound up on the phone talking to someone- email removes the emotion.

  • Accept that you are in deadlocked with a person: you need to escalate up one or more levels. Realistically, going to a Director is a good idea to expedite things

  • Either go to the Supplier's website (ABOUT US tab is a good place to go) or google and search for [company name] Director - e.g. FredCo Director.

  • If google doesn't return an email address, usually companies email addresses are [name]@company - e.g. . To get an idea of email syntax, look at the email of the person you've been dealing with and then replicate that - e.g. if Tim Smith (TimS@fredco) has been your contact and Fred Jones is the director, then FredJ@FredCo is the director's likely email.

Personal attention! In the email to the director, we are simply after their attention to resolve the problem: asking for money here distorts our message

Hopefully, escalating it to the Director will result in a quick resolution to the problem.

Once the problem has been resolved, now we can ask for a reduction in fees: I recommend this phrase " we are now curious whether there will be a reduction in fees" - nice and friendly and it puts the onus on them to make a move:

Case Study :

  • A Client came to me with a problem with Building Control (BC) not making progress for 6 weeks on their Consent.

  • I found the Director of Building Control's name on the council website and forwarded the latest email to him.

  • 1 hour later, I received a call from his 2IC advising that 2IC had received the email and that the following day, he would investigate.

  • The following day, I and the client were emailed advising the problem was the with the BC Officer's email and also that the BC needed IT training. The 2IC had reviewed the file and that the Consent would be approved.

  • I then asked about a reduction in fees and the BC Manager said that a 30% reduction would be applied (>$1000).

Result: Client has their consent and very happy about a reduction in fees!

No luck? Do you have a Credit Card?

The Credit Card is your friend. You email your Card Issuer (bank) and ask them to DISPUTE THE TRANSACTION (DT): Your bank now works through to get the funds reimbursed to your card from the supplier. You will, at some point, have to forward emails proving that you've complained.

This can be done in parallel with the above process and is a good idea to do in parallel as it puts pressure on the supplier to be honest. If a merchant gets a number of DTs, then they run the risk of losing their merchant facility.

Absolutely no luck? Find a friendly journalist

The last thing companies like is getting bad articles written about them; journalists love writing consumer affairs stories (David v bad Goliath): Read your local newspaper's website to find the journalist and then email them with a precis of your problem. A successful resolution with the help of the journalist will result in them writing a less aggressive article about their dealings with your miscreant; if the supplier gives the journo a run-around, then the mighty pen will cut like a sword!

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