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March 21, 2022

Can complaint sites really help you resolve your problems?

Many companies treat customers with disdain and contempt. Let's face it, do you know anybody who hasn’t dialled a customer hotline begging for help only to eventually hang up feeling, well, helpless.

Com Determined to at least break through to a live person next time? A good place to start might be Gethuman, which offers tips on bypassing the voicemail systems of thousands of companies.

But even then you may hit a dead end – which is why there are so many complaint sites that focus on one type of product or even one seller, such as (name of favourite wireless provider) sucks.

Looking to share their pain, many disgruntled consumers gather online at sites like SqueekywheelComplaintsboard, Consumeraffairs, my3cents, Pissedconsumer, and Ripoffreport.

These sites – which were recently reviewed by the Consumer Federation of America – have logged thousands of complaints, but are they really useful when it comes to fixing problems?

There’s actually little evidence that these sites help consumers resolve their complaints, which is why several contain a disclaimer to the contrary, the Federation reports. But that doesn’t mean the sites aren't useful. They can help you determine what type of remediation to request, for instance.

Search the sites to see if other people have had similar issues. If everyone’s phone gives out under similar circumstances, the company may have a standard resolution. What about airline problems? When people got results from the very airline that left you hanging, did they get a refund or a voucher? Did someone have better luck with the phone company than you did?

Have you used a complaints site to tell the world about your beef? Did you have any success? Any pointers to offer?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...