Here’s How to Complain When a Business Messes Up

Going to Yelp or TripAdvisor to air your grievances is actually probably not your best option.

April 8, 2018 5:00 am
A scene from "Curb Your Enthusiasm." (Courtesy of HBO)
A scene from "Curb Your Enthusiasm." (Courtesy of HBO)

In these Internet-connected times, the first place many people go to complain when they receive poor service or encounter a problem with a business is to a review site like Yelp or TripAdvisor.

As the Boston Globe points out, that strategy is fine, but, there’s probably a better way: lodging a complaint with the actual business.

The Globe contends it is essentially passive-aggressive behavior to post a negative review on a website or social media without addressing it with the individual or business you are complaining about first. If something isn’t fine, don’t nod and say it is when asked, speak up.

“What I am calling for, quite simply, is a modified social compact for the mobile era: If you see something, say something – to the provider first, before looping in the rest of us,” Neil Swidey writes. “If you don’t at least try the direct route, you might want to interrogate your own motivations. Are you looking for resolution? Or just retribution?”

In addition to face-to-face complaining, the Globe suggests trying to find an email address for a high-ranking member of the business and sending them a message directly, regardless of whether a specific problem falls under their direct purview.

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