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How to Complain without Sounding like a Jerk

Sometimes you just have to complain, but there are ways to get your point across without throwing a hissy fit.


  • Step 1: Take notes Take notes as soon as you notice something is wrong and you can't call immediate attention to it. This way you can get all the facts straight when you tell your side of the story.
  • TIP: Keep a paper trail that includes dates and names of people you talked to if your complaint goes further than one rung up the ladder.
  • Step 2: Be direct Be direct about what it is you are complaining about. Don't ramble and go on a tirade, just state succinctly what it is you are upset about.
  • Step 3: Recognize who is responsible Recognize who is responsible for the mistake. Your waitress didn't cook your meal, so why blame her for it? If you accuse someone of something, be sure that they are at fault.
  • TIP: Pepper in some compliments, for example, "I really like the way you cut the bangs, but I think the color is too dull."
  • Step 4: Don't wait Don't wait to complain and stew in your anger for days before writing a scathing review of the offending company on the internet. Complain while the company still has the opportunity to fix the problem.
  • Step 5: State what you expect State what you expect to happen as a remedy. Just remember not to go overboard.
  • Step 6: Be nice Be nice, above all. You won't get anywhere yelling and screaming and name-calling. Remember the Golden Rule -- treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • FACT: The average business hears from only four percent of its unhappy customers.

You Will Need

  • Notes
  • Directness
  • Someone to complain to
  • Quick action
  • Solution
  • Manners
  • Dates and names (optional)
  • Compliments (optional)

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