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Twitter, Facebook are worth trying when you have a consumer complaint

Posted by Mitch Lipka  November 19, 2013 10:28 AM

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vz_logo.pngQ. Thanks for responding to me on Twitter. I had Verizon FiOS service at my apartment in Somerville. When I moved to Cambridge, where FiOS is not available, I switched to Comcast. When I ended my service with Verizon Aug. 31 , I had credit on my account totaling $63.78. I returned the Verizon equipment as instructed on my bill and have a record it was received.

More than two weeks after they received the equipment back, I received a bill from Verizon for $520.60 – the cost of the equipment minus my credit. When I eventually got Verizon to agree to send me my refund, they told me I was only owed $29.40. Apparently they had billed me $34.38 in taxes and charges for the equipment. After all that, they tell me that it will take a month to issue the refund.

David McCadden, Cambridge

A. How you handled this is a lesson in dispute resolution. Using social media can be very effective and a far better tactic than banging your head against the wall when you seem to run into a corporate dead end.

Not long after you first connected with me on Twitter – making public your displeasure with the situation – Verizon was already at work trying to fix it. Indeed, Verizon spokesman Phil Santoro quickly reported this situation was all straightened out. It was a billing mistake, he said. A full refund is swiftly headed your way.

Certainly, not every complaint posted to Twitter or Facebook is going to get such immediate attention or get resolved to the satisfaction of the consumer. But after trying normal customer service channels, using these services can bring attention to consumer issues since different folks monitor social media. At many companies, these people are quite aware that their handling of problems is public – so dealing with conflict swiftly and professionally can bring a positive ending on a complaint for all sides.

This is good reminder that in addition to writing a consumer advocate, complaining to the state or the Better Business Bureau and, social media’s worth a try, too.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com

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