By Emily Kittle
Maybe you got the raw end of the deal with a household purchase. Or you're less than thrilled with a recent customer service experience.
Before you call the company complaining, consumer advocate Ron Burley says there are four questions you should ask yourself. If you can answer yes to all of them, you'll have a better chance coming out ahead in a product or service dispute, according to his recent On Your Side column for AARP The Magazine.
Here is Burley's four-point checklist:
1. Have I been significantly harmed? If you're upset over a matter of principle or could hold your total financial loss in spare change, forget about dialing customer service. Write a letter to the editor instead.
2. Do I have a case? No matter how obvious the issue might seem, convincing a corporation to spend its time and money to help you out involves building a case that proves your point.
3. Do I have leverage? Most companies will do something only if it is to their financial advantage. The best leverage would be something you could do, or promise to do, that would make it more expensive for the company to ignore you than to take care of you.
4.Is there an acceptable solution? What do you want? The answer has to be specific and monetary. "I want a full refund" or "Please replace the product" are acceptable statements. "I want a letter of apology" won't get you anywhere.