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Reporting Computer Gripes
How to Gripe (Effectively) Online PC World magazine. By Yardena Arar. May 21, 2007. Have a problem with a company or product? Complaining online could help.
The Rebate Report Card web site lets people report their rebate experiences. The site went live March 2006.
Certified and Restricted By Ed Foster, January 17th, 2006. Quoting: "When you've got a real beef with a company, does it help to write a letter to the CEO? The GripeLog has heard testimony on both sides of that question, but one reader recently made an interesting point. If you're going go to the trouble of writing a company's big cheese, make sure you send the letter certified and restricted."
If you want to call a company and speak to a person, see Get a Human for tips on navigating telephone systems to get hold of a live person. As of January 2005, there were only tips for a handful of companies.
The FBI and the Department of Justice (National White Collar Crime Center) have a centralized anti-fraud reporting web site called The Internet Fraud Complaint Center, at www.ifccfbi.gov. The site takes reports on all types of situations, from online investment schemes to auction fraud. The reports are referred to the most relevant local, state or federal agencies. They are renaming the web site to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
To learn more about fraud on the Internet see the Internet Fraud Watch web site (part of the National Fraud Information Center).
Both AntiFraud.com and the National Fraud Information Center have links to government Web sites and state attorneys general for reporting incidents. The N.F.I.C. site also has news and information about current online and telemarketing fraud, as does the Fraud Bureau. The Fraud Bureau offers a free e-mail bulletin to keep you up to date on new articles and includes links to articles about computer security and legal issues.
Better Business Bureau
If you're having trouble with an online merchant, visit the Better Business Bureau Online's Consumer Tips for advice. You can also file a complaint online for online and offline companies. You can also check for complaints by others about a company and have disputes resolved at the BBB.
In January 2002 they started a new Safe Shopping Web site that enables consumers to locate online companies that have met BBB standards for privacy in e-commerce. The site lists 11,000 web sites that have earned one or both of the BBB Online Privacy and Reliability seals.
US Government Front End
A common front end (aka portal) for many government agencies is the National Consumer Complaint Center. At their web site you can file a complaint according to the type of product in question. The NCCC will route your complaint to the appropriate government agency.
Federal Trade Commission
Although it does not resolve consumer complaints, the FTC keeps a database of fraud reports for possible investigation. You can submit a fraud complaint at www.ftc.gov. If you get spam email messages, send them to email@example.com. If you believe you've been scammed, file your complaint at www.ftc.gov, and then visit the FTC's Identity Theft Web site (www.ftc.gov/idtheft) to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from identity theft.
Is Your Computer a Lemon?
A law firm has a web site dedicated to the computer lemon law. I'm not sure whether the web site is to help the consumer, drum up business or both.
Tom Martino has a consumer radio show called The Troubleshooter for all consumer problems, not just computers.
If your problem is with Microsoft software, call their Product Support Department.
Microsoft U.S. Support Phone Numbers: support.microsoft.com/highlights/phonepers.asp
Microsoft World Wide Support Phone Numbers: support.microsoft.com/directory/ww.asp
Air Your Gripe
Two very popular web sites, Amazon.com and CNet.com let users make comments on computer hardware and software products. If you've had a problem with a product, let other people know about it at these two web sites.
www.complaints.com allows you to publicize and read consumer complaints. It is not limited to computers. A search for "Dell" in March 2004 returned over 300 complaints.
Found a hardware or software bug? Tell PC World magazine about it via e-mail.
Epinions is a web site where consumers can rate products. I have not yet formed an opinion of this site. Read about the site or go to the computer section. Two potential problems: they take ads and sell products. How likely is it there will be bad opinions of a computer company that advertises on the site? Sure enough when I looked at the computer section, there were ads from Dell and Gateway on the same pages as great reviews of their machines.
PlanetFeedback.com lets you file a letter to a corporation. They claim to make it easy for you to find the right person in a company to deal with your complaint. I have not tried it.
The Squeaky Wheel I have not tried it.
Complain Complain I have not tried it.
BizRate I have not tried it.
TheComplaintStation.com is basically a bulletin board. I have not tried it.
Baddealings.com lets you air your complaints. I have never tried it.
Gripenet is a general purpose gripe site that I looked at very briefly. They do not have an index by topic so it is not possible to browse through the computer gripes. Searching by company name (August 2001) they had one gripe about IBM and one gripe on Microsoft.
Fightback.com is operated by consumer advocate David Horowitz (no relation). For $50 he will write a letter for you to the company and follow-up if necessary. I have not tried it.
ConsumerAffairs.com an independent publication -- not affiliated with any government agency, industry council or special-interest group, that gathers and publishes news and information about frauds and outrages visited upon consumers. Air your gripes here for free.
The focus on Windows section of about.com has
a forum for user comments. The following is a quote from them:
"Is Windows giving you fits? Got a question, comment, or complaint? Don't suffer in silence! Post it in the Focus on Windows Forum: http://forums.about.com/ab-windows/start "
bills itself as your
chance to fight back. They encourage companies to post responses to complaints.
I have never tried it. Out of Business uGetHeard
lets you file an online complaint about any
company (it is not limited to computers).
They claim to submit the complaint for you, track its progress, and follow up when necessary.
If they get several complaints about the same company, they claim to be able to negotiate a collective
resolution. Out of Business
The Best Corporate Complaint Sites Forbes Magazine, August 21, 2002. After examining a bunch of web sites run by consumers complaining about assorted companies, Forbes rated the web sites devoted to gripes on Allstate, PayPal, Microsoft, American Express, and United Airlines as the best.
|Page created: August 2001||Page last updated: March 27, 2012|
|Prior updates: December 18, 2007 | March 25, 2006|
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