Do not become emotional when dealing with a complaint. *iStock photo
Do not become emotional when dealing with a complaint. *iStock photo

If you have a complaint against a company there are steps that you can take to air your grievance effectively.

First, make sure that your complaint is valid and that you have evidence to support it. 

There are three main laws in Bermuda that govern businesses and service providers in how they conduct business with consumers. They are the Sale of Goods Act 1978 (as amended in 2002), Supply of Services Act 2003, and the Consumer Protection Act 1999. 

Look at the facts surrounding your complaint and then do your homework — go to the Consumer Affairs web-site, learn about these laws and then determine if the company you have a grievance with has violated any of them. 

If your complaint involves a contract, warranty or guarantee, read all of the information available before you proceed, including the fine print.

Once you have determined that you have a valid complaint, act quickly and follow these steps so that you are more likely to have your problem resolved.

1. Stop using the item.  You may lose the right to reject the goods if you continue to use them once you discover they are defective.


2
. Contact the business or organization who sold you the product or service. Ask to speak to a person who has the authority to resolve the problem, such as the business owner or manager.


3
. Be clear as to what you want to achieve and what you are seeking - refund, replacement, compensation, or re-servicing;


4
. Do not become emotional. Be firm, polite, but insistent. Do not lose your temper, raise your voice, swear or become personally abusive. Show respect. Companies do not want to deal with rude and unreasonable people.


5
. Do not exaggerate or give false statements regarding the issue.


6
. Be patient. Give the business or organization the chance to sort out your problem.

Remember; always keep a record of who you speak to, the date you spoke to them and what was said. Keep copies of all written documentation and written communications.

If you are unable to resolve your problem by yourself, contact Consumer Affairs.

At Consumer Affairs, we offer advice to consumers, businesses and other organizations. If we receive a complaint and believe that a violation of the law has occurred, we present the complaint to the business and request its assistance in resolving the problem. Most businesses are happy to work with us. 

Before contacting us we recommend that you first visit our web-site, www.ca.gov.bm and read the relevant advice. If you are unable to find the information you require on our web-site please email us at consumers@gov.bm.

Honey Adams Bell is the education officer for Consumer Affairs.