Get your complaints heard, issues resolved

Published On: Jul 18 2012 03:31:29 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 19 2012 06:47:42 AM CDT

Frustration over dropped calls or slow service plague phone and Internet services and are a constant thorn in consumers' sides.

Angie Hicks, the creator of service referral website Angie's List, told Local 2 that when it comes to consumer complaints, people are not just using the phone and Internet to moan and groan. They are actually complaining about phone and Internet services.

"In 2011, these categories ranked among the most complained-about categories on Angie's list," said Hicks.

The most common complaints were dropped calls, outages, slow service, and billing disputes. Amber Connor certainly understands that last one.

"My husband spent a couple of hours on the phone with the cell phone provider and we basically hit a brick wall they told us the fees were not going to go away," said Connor.

After the Connors switched service providers, besides the surprise fees, they came home to find their cellphones did not work in many areas of their home.

Hicks said the key to successful complaining is before you pick up the phone be prepared by documenting when and where the problems occurred, and how long they lasted. Any specific details provided can only help your complaint.

"Know what service you need, what your problem is, and also check around with competitors. Lots of the communication services are offering all kinds of deals these days, so know what's out there so you can ask for that deal as well," said Hicks.

Also, get the person's name you are talking with and record the time and length of the call. These details will increase your credibility if you need to follow up later.

Know what steps you want the company to take to rectify the situation.

"He let them know that he was very disappointed in their customer service because this is not what two different salespeople had shared with us. Luckily we were inside the time 'return for free' time window and we returned to our old provider that we had for ten years," Connor said.

If you are a longtime customer, let them know that and if you are not getting a positive response, ask to speak to the company's consumer retention department.

Before you pick up the phone, know if you can walk away or have to stay to fulfill a contract. Be assertive, but not angry, and explain the consequences of what you will do if the issue is not fixed, whether that is filing a complaint or terminating your service.

Language can be a big part of your success. Rather than accusing the company tell them you need their help to fix this issue or ask for a bill break down rather than accusing them of price gouging.

Having them on your side trying to fix the problem may be the fastest way to finding a solution you want.

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