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Best Way To File Consumer Complaints

The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen files occasional columns for that supplement her on-air work.

If you've ever had a consumer complaint, you've probably sat on hold waiting for a customer service representative to pick up when you call an "800 number."

It can be maddening! You can be on hold for mere seconds to hours, all in an effort to get your problem resolved.

If you're not hung up on the idea of calling about your problem, you may want to give old-fashioned letter writing a try! Yes, sit down and write a letter to the company. You might be surprised by how quickly you get a response.

Believe it or not, many companies like to receive letters from customers and they have entire departments dedicated to handling the complaints that come in by snail-mail.

But if you do decide to write a letter, follow some simple rules:

  • Make sure you include your name, address and phone number
  • Type your letter
  • Keep it short and to the point
  • State the nature of your problem, how you'd like it to be resolved, and how long you are willing to wait for a resolution
  • Be sure to include copies of receipts, serial numbers, etc.
  • Keep a copy of the letter

    Your letter should be no longer than one page, and be sure to check your spelling and grammar. And keep in mind, companies may be more responsive to concise, friendly letters as opposed to angry or threatening ones.

    Your letter should be sent to the company's corporate headquarters. Most addresses can be found on companies' Web sites.

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