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Can You Save Money By Complaining?

By Erik Folgate

Are you a shy person? Do you avoid conflict? You might be missing out on numerous ways to save money. Did you know that you can actually save money by complaining? It’s not really complaining. It’s being persistent with big corporations and not letting them push you around with hidden fees. Here is a list of the industries that respond to complainers the most:

The Ponemon Institute put together this statistic based on the number of times that customer service representatives give in to customer’s complaints:

Credit Cards: 65%
Airlines: 60%
Grocers: 57%
Accounts 52%
ISP: 52%
Hotels: 37%
Banks: 33%
Insurers: 29%
Cell phone
service: 27%
Cable and
Satellite TV: 20%

Credit Cards and Banks: If you have an account in good standing that you pay on time every month, it’s very easy to get a fee taken off such as a late payment or overdraft fee. If you habitually overdraft or make late payments, then the customer service rep will be less likely to grant you a credit.
Hotels: Hotels make money by performing great customer service. So, complaining can get you a long way with a hotel that cares about their image. If something isn’t right, let them know.
Insurers: If you file a claim and your adjuster doesn’t pay you enough for your car or property damage, give them a call. Don’t assume that the check they send you is the end of the money. Remember, never sign a “release of all claims” form until you are satisfied with the amount you received. You don’t need an attorney to get the adequate amount for your claim.
Airlines: I was surprised to hear this one. I have never had luck with an airline. But, they are usually willing to change your seats, or get you onto another flight if the airport is too busy or you were late.

Please don’t misunderstand me in this post. I’m not trying to get you to become a whiny, annoying complainer. The point is that when you speak up, you can save money. Don’t let big corporations walk all over you. You are the customer, and they need to take care of you. Capitalism is a beautiful thing, because the customer has so much control. We often forget about the power we possess as a consumer. Be kind and courteous, but be firm with the companies you deal with. You’ll be surprised at the results.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • http://www.odnsf.com Lincoln

    Your number 1 item is the most important. For overdraft fees (OD/NSF Fees), you should check to see if your bank offers any kind of credit line or savings account that can be linked to cover overdrafts. There is usually a fee when a transfer is made but it’s a lot less than an OD fee.

    Many times, if you have a good story and are face-to-face with the branch person, they will refund a portion, maybe half, of your fees. But it’s less likely if you are a habitual overdrawer.

    Take our survey when you get a chance…


  • http://www.askmrcreditcard.com/creditcardblog/ Jenna

    Yes! You can absolutely save money by complaining – especially with credit cards. I used to work in the collections department of a major credit card company. We were allowed to remove up to a years worth of late and over the limit fees and interest – but only if someone specifically asked for it.

    So, always ask!

  • ekrabs

    Uh yeah, this I’ve learned when I once worked in the hospitality industry.

    I’m not sure if complaining is the best word for it though. When asking for perks and upgrades, please be sure to be as friendly and charming as you can. Some of these things are strictly up to their personal discretion. Sometimes, people who are too rude or pushy are turned down for it.

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