Bad Customer Service: Fight Back!

But there's plenty of poor service all the way around. The good news: you can fight back.

George Starr knows how to fish around to get good customer service. George got Sony to send him a $1500 flat screen free of charge when his old tv broke, even though it was out of warranty. "The only thing I could really summarize would be wow!"

But Consumer Reports found plenty more people aren't happy with customer service, 64% said they'd walked out of a store because of poor service in the past year.

Among the worst stores for service, Sam's Club and Walmart.

Overall, people complained about phone service, too.

Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says, "67% of those surveyed told us they didn't get their problem solved. Their biggest complaints-too long a wait on hold, can't get a human being, and too many menus to navigate to get to a real person."

Web sites like Dial-A-Human or Get-Human can help.

They list Customer Service numbers that will get you a real person.

Dial-A-Human lists hundreds of suggestions. We put a few to the test.

We were able to reach a person in under 2 minutes at both Verizon and AT&T.

But this list didn't always help. Use at your own risk.

In one case, we called the recommended number for Sprint and got a phone message for an adult call line.

Or you can do what George Starr did, use social media. "I found a Facebook site going through Google called "I have a defective Sony TV." It gives you the email address, phone numbers, tells you exactly the steps that you need to do."

Marks says, "Social networking sites such as Facebook and especially Twitter are powerful tools because companies are actually monitoring these sites to listen to what's being said about them. So if you have a complaint, go online."

It's not all doom and gloom. Consumer Reports says Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Crutchfield.com, which sells electronics, all rank high for great customer service.


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