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Let's face it; we were all given the First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, for a reason. Have you put it into use lately? When it comes to saving money, it is vital that you speak your ideas and opinions freely.

Many consumers are not aware of the effects both their complaints and comments have on consumer products. Comments let the manufacturer know that they are doing a good job. Manufacturers are more than willing to listen to any ideas you have to help innovate their current products. Complaints are also something that companies want/need. Look at it this way: if companies did not want to hear complaints and comments, they would not include a 1-800 number on their products, and they would not blatantly state "call for comments and concerns."

Are you one of the thousands of people embarrassed to call companies and let them know how you feel about their product? If you answered, "yes" to this question, would I be correct to assume you are one of those passive customers I so often see–served the wrong item at a restaurant, shrugging your shoulders and exclaiming, "It's all right. I guess I'll eat it anyway"? It's time to learn that there is no shame in letting your opinion be known. Do not feel as though you are being demanding and meticulous. By doing so, you’re not only helping other consumers by bettering the product, but you may also have won yourself a "prize", if you will.

Here’s what to expect when you call:

  • Questions concerning barcode number, lot number (typically found on the package; find this before you call), and any comments/complaints.
  • How you used the product.
  • Contributing factors (i.e. if there is a complaint about a diaper rash, were there new foods introduced, new lotions, creams, etc.)
  • Name, address, and phone number.

Be sure to let the receptionist know:

  • You are a loyal customer (if this is the case).
  • If you are a 1st time product user; do you love it/hate it? Why?
  • Exactly how you feel (don't hesitate to be honest, but of course, in a courteous manner.)
  • Any ideas you have for the product.
  • Be specific, personable, and considerate.

Ways to contact the company:

  • Their website (typically, the URL can be found on the product).
  • 1-800 number or hotline (on the product)
  • Their Facebook page (Many companies now have a Facebook page and love to hear consumer comments; it gives them credibility with potential clients.)
  • Send "snail mail," (An old fashioned letter).
  • Send an email.

Keep in mind, your best bet is contacting the company via phone. This way you get feedback immediately and issues are resolved in little time. Do NOT hesitate to ask for money saving offers/coupons. Most companies are more than willing to send you coupons or direct you to a place where coupons can be found, in exchange for your valued time.

When I became pregnant with my daughter, I phoned companies such as Huggies and expressed my interest in giving their product a try. They placed me on their mailing list, and I began receiving diaper coupons every so often. Recently, I have received coupons from Skintimate and Texas Toast by calling their Company. I've also received some well-thought-out "Thank you" letters from several companies. It isn't necessarily about getting coupons; it's about building a foundation, a company/consumer relationship. Once this is established, should any mishap occur, you will have that common ground to bounce off of.

Please, do not abuse the system either. Free coupons are great for the budget, but if we abuse the system, we are only hurting ourselves in the long run. Whether you are a "COM"plainer or a "COM"menter, be sure to let your "COM"pany of choice know how you feel while using a little "COM"mon courtesy.

This has been a guest post by Danielle from Preston, MN
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