Houston Texas Fire Fighters Federal Credit Union
How to Complain Like a Ninja
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There's a fly in your minestrone. It's floating among the celery and carrot islands like a canoe in the middle of a placid lake. You don't want to eat or pay for the soup. What should you do?

What can you do?

Whether you're ordering soup in a restaurant or buying music over the internet, you have every right to expect that the products and services you receive are the same as the ones that you were promised.

Filing a complaint is one way that you can stay satisfied with your purchases. Unfortunately, successful complaining won't always be as simple as asking a waiter for a new bowl of soup.

The art of complaining

High school students created this Teen Consumer web site. Check out the section on buying goods and services.

Complaining is like martial arts—you should never use it unless you have to.

Some people complain about every minor discomfort, even if the industry, company, or person is not at fault. This is a bad strategy because it breaks down your relationship with the other entity. They may feel less friendly if a more serious concern arises.

“It's always bad to cry wolf and abuse the system,” says Susan Bach, Media Coordinator for the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin. “You want the organization to take you and your complaint seriously or they might have a reason to dismiss you.”

A ninja knows when to fight and when to seek another option. A successful consumer needs this same awareness. Understand:

Set your goals

What should you do when you feel it's necessary to complain?

Identifying the causes and planning your goals will keep your complaint clear and accurate.

“A lot of people don't know exactly what they're looking for in terms of a resolution,” says Bach, “but if you don't ask for something, you won't get it back.”

True or False: When Benjamin was 15, he published articles under the made-up name of "Silence Dogood." Click Ben's head for the answer.
TRUE: He sure did. Dogood had lots of advice for people. She criticized the world around her--especially how women were treated. Franklin snuck the letters under his brother's print shop door at night. They were a smash hit, and everyone wanted to know who Silence Dogood was.

Madison, WI
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"I like this article a lot. A lot of good tips and how to go about complaining properly. Very well done and I agree with the steps to take. Everyone should read this one! Alex Majewski"
moloko528, 14, fort myers, fl

"I had something like this happen to me a few weeks ago. Good information to know. Thanks to the BBB for helping out the consumer. "
KevO, 17, San Marcos, TX

"This is a great article to write. People complain about the littlest things and make the biggest problem out of them. It is nice to tell people what to do when they complain and to be nice about it. When I really feel the need to complain, I will definitely follow this checklist. Also, it was great to make the last step on the checklist to say "Thanks." Even if one is going to complain, they should still be polite about it. "
busybee123, 15, Stafford, VA

"Interesting topic. I never knew that you could do things to resolve your complaint with a company after it has refused to help you. By the way, I like the simile in the title :p. "
Juice, 16, West Palm Beach, Fl

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