Archive for December, 2009

Complain! We’ll Help.

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Beaumont Hardy is a fan of the well-written complaint letter and a friend to the complaining consumer. Recently, we have all had much to complain about–businesses with terrible customer service, unfair company policies, unfriendly and difficult store employees and misguided government officials. At Beaumont Hardy, I help clients write complaint letters for all of these occasions. I proofread and revise client complaint letters, making them more precise and effective. I also write complaint letters for clients who send me the details of their particular issue or misfortune.

Now that consumers and voters are increasingly left to fend for themselves in a hostile business and political world, the complaint letter has become one of the only tools to effect change and to allow people to voice their opinions. Send me the details of your complaint–or the rough draft of a complaint letter you have already written–and I’ll help you hone your argument and achieve the maximum results from your complaint.

The following is an unedited complaint letter. For the sake of confidentiality, I eliminated the name of the store in question and replaced it with “Store X.” Below the unedited version is my edit of the same text. My editorial comments are at the bottom of this post.

Dear Store X:

Please stop having your employees push store credit cards so aggressively. I enjoy shopping at Store X and go there at least twice a month to buy something. I’m a faithful customer, but I might stop being so faithful if you keep up your credit card campaign.

Last week, I went to your store to buy some home accessories. I was pleased to note that each one had a 50% off sticker on it, although I liked them so much that I would have been willing to pay full price for them.

I took my items to the checkout line, where I waited patiently at the end of the line. When it was my turn to check out, the cashier asked if I would like a store credit card. I told her I would not. Then, as if I hadn’t even spoken, she proceeded to tell me all of the benefits of store credit, one of which being a further 10% off my current purchases. I told her that I still did not want a store credit card. Then, as if I still hadn’t spoken, she told me that Store X’s credit card will actually improve the economy, because it will make more people shop at Store X and put money into the economy. I told the cashier that I did not want to take on the burden of another credit card.

Then, she became angry and said, “Well, here’s someone who doesn’t want an additional 10% off. She must be rich. The rest of us would like 10% off.”

I told her I would always like 10% off, but not if it meant acquiring a new credit card.

She responded by calling out again, saying, “Well, I guess this woman doesn’t want to help the economy. I thought we all wanted to improve the economy, but she doesn’t.” She pointed at me and pretended to smile playfully.

At that point, I considered leaving my items on the counter and leaving the store completely. But I liked my selection and still wanted to buy what I had found–10% off or not.

The cashier continued to roll her eyes as she checked out my items. She didn’t speak to me again and never said a word to me as I left.

I love Store X but am seriously giving second thoughts to ever shopping there again. Store credit should be optional and voluntary, and I should not be scolded by an employee for exerting my right not to sign up for store credit. I also think I have the right to shop at Store X without receiving a lecture about how to improve the economy from its employees. (Besides, isn’t excessive credit part of our current economic problem now, and wouldn’t I contribute more to the economy by paying the additional 10% that is deducted from store credit users?) Please reconsider your aggressive policy in promoting Store X credit cards. I believe your current policy will create a great deal of animosity.

Sincerely,

After editing, the complaint letter reads as follows:

Dear Store X:

I enjoy shopping at your store, and I buy something from there at least twice a month. However, I’ve begun to rethink my faithfulness to your store, now that you have implemented an aggressive Store X credit card campaign.

Last week, I went to your store to buy some home accessories. I was pleased to note that each one had a 50%-off sticker attached to it, although I liked the accessories so much that I would have been willing to pay full price for them.

When I reached the checkout line, the cashier asked if I would like a store credit card. I told her I would not. Then, as if I hadn’t even spoken, she proceeded to list the benefits of store credit, one of which was a further 10% off my current purchases. I told her that I still did not want a store credit card. Ignoring me once again, the cashier told me that Store X’s credit card would actually improve the economy, because it would encourage more people to shop at Store X and put money into the economy. I told the cashier that I did not want to take on the burden of another credit card.

Then, the cashier became angry and said, “Well, here’s someone who doesn’t want an additional 10% off. She must be rich. The rest of us would like 10% off.” I was offended by her comment, but I remained polite. I told the cashier that I would always like 10% off, but not if I had to acquire a new credit card to get it.

She responded by calling out to the other people in line. She said, “Well, I guess this woman doesn’t want to help the economy. I thought we all wanted to improve the economy, but she doesn’t.” She pointed at me and pretended to smile playfully.

At that point, I considered forgoing my purchase and leaving the store completely. But I liked my selection and still wanted to buy what I had found–10% off or not. I decided to ignore the cashier and her aggressive offers. The cashier continued to roll her eyes as she checked out my items, but she didn’t speak to me again.  She never said a word to me as I left.

I love Store X but am seriously considering never shopping there again. Store credit should be optional and voluntary, and I should not be scolded by an employee for exerting my right not to sign up for it. I also believe I have the right to shop at Store X without receiving an economics lecture from its employees. (Besides, I argue that I can contribute more to the economy by paying the additional 10% that is deducted from purchases using store credit.)

Please reconsider your aggressive policy in promoting Store X credit cards. I believe your current policy will create a great deal of customer animosity and destroy the goodwill so many of us feel toward your store.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Below is the piece with my editing marks. My comments to the author are in brackets and italicized. The portions I cut appear with a strike-through, and the portions I added are underlined. (In a normal Word document with “Track Changes,” my editing marks are in red, and my comments are in their own separate section, not inserted into the text.)

Dear Store X:

Please stop having your employees push store credit cards so aggressively. I enjoy shopping at your store, Store X and I buy something from go there at least twice a month to buy something. However, I’ve begun to rethink my faithfulness to your store, now that you have implemented an aggressive Store X credit card campaign. I’m a faithful customer, but I might stop being so faithful if you keep up your credit card campaign.

Last week, I went to your store to buy some home accessories. I was pleased to note that each one had a 50%off sticker on attached to it, although I liked them the accessories [I changed “them to “the accessories” to maintain the clarity of the sentence.] so much that I would have been willing to pay full price for them.

I took my items to the checkout line, where I waited patiently at the end of the line. [Although this first sentence helps to set the scene, I cut it, because it does not further the argument.] When I reached the checkout line it was my turn to check out, the cashier asked if I would like a store credit card. I told her I would not. Then, as if I hadn’t even spoken, she proceeded to list tell me all of the benefits of store credit, one of which being was a further 10% off my current purchases. I told her that I still did not want a store credit card. Then, as if I still hadn’t spoken Ignoring me once again, she the cashier told me that Store X’s credit card will would actually improve the economy, because it will make would encourage more people to shop at Store X and put money into the economy. I told the cashier that I did not want to take on the burden of another credit card.

Then, she the cashier became angry and said, “Well, here’s someone who doesn’t want an additional 10% off. She must be rich. The rest of us would like 10% off.” I was offended by her comment, but I remained polite. I told her the cashier that I would always like 10% off, but not if I had to it meant acquiringe a new credit card to get it.

She responded by calling out again, saying to the other people in line. She said, “Well, I guess this woman doesn’t want to help the economy. I thought we all wanted to improve the economy, but she doesn’t.” She pointed at me and pretended to smile playfully.

At that point, I considered leaving my items on the counter forgoing my purchase [I’m trying to avoid using “leaving” twice in one sentence.] and leaving the store completely. But I liked my selection and still wanted to buy what I had found–10% off or not. I decided to ignore the cashier and her aggressive offers. The cashier continued to roll her eyes as she checked out my items., but sShe didn’t speak to me again. and She never said a word to me as I left.

I love Store X but am seriously giving second thoughts to considering never shopping there again. Store credit should be optional and voluntary, and I should not be scolded by an employee for exerting my right not to sign up for store credit it. I also think believe I have the right to shop at Store X without receiving an economics lecture about how to improve the economy from its employees. (Besides, I argue that I can isn’t excessive credit part of our current economic problem now, and wouldn’t I contribute more to the economy by paying the additional 10% that is deducted from purchases using store credit users?.)

Please reconsider your aggressive policy in promoting Store X credit cards. I believe your current policy will create a great deal of customer animosity and destroy the goodwill so many of us feel toward your store.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Please send me your thoughts or comments about this post. I look forward to hearing from you.