Executive Carpet Bombs

No, it’s not as violent as it sounds.  Anytime you want to send a complaint letter, like my Delta letter, my Budget letter (which I’ll post eventually), or any of my other letters (apartment buildings, etc.) that have resulted in cash and prizes, the best way to complain is to hit everyone you can.

I found a site called Executive Bomb.  (Incidentally, I saw it on The Consumerist – a site I recommend; just take what you read with a salt shaker. At times it’s a bit over-the-top and sensationalist.)  The site purports to have 800+ entries for company contacts – email addresses/email formats (such as lastnamefirstinitial@company.com), phone numbers, mailing addresses, etc. I haven’t checked on the accuracy of the companies that I’ve looked into, but the idea is good.

Beyond that, here are my recommendations.

  • Be polite. It’s highly doubtful that the person on the reading end is even remotely responsible for your situation, and people don’t respond well to threats and accusations.  Instead of “What the F#%@T@ is wrong with your company?”, consider “This isn’t something I expected from a company such as yours – I’ve been using XYZ for years and have never had this happen.”
  • Make it into a human problem. Give the person on the other end a reason to care, or as my dad put it, the “dog dragging his leg” line.  My Delta letter involved my fear of flying, and my need to see “the most beautiful woman in the world”.
  • Send it to everyone you can. Address your letter to at least the CEO, CFO, Vice President of Business Operations, any Customer Care/Service addresses, and especially Investor Relations.  Most of these addresses can be found either on the company’s website, or from SEC filings – look especially at the contact information on the first page, as well as the 10-K forms, which are annual reports.
  • Send a letter instead of an email. By sending a letter, you bypass the problem of being lost among the spam and other junk that ends up in everyone’s mailboxes.  Also, writing a well-thought-out letter shows that you sat down, took time, revised, and sent a final product – rather than an angry letter intended to vent steam.
  • Ask for specific demands, but be reasonable. If you had an upgrade, for example, ask for “at least a refund of the difference”.  Don’t go straight for the jugular and ask for a full refund – that’s a lot to ask, and while it can happen, it’s rare.  In my Budget letter, I asked for a refund of the extra money I had to pay – since they sent me to the wrong dropoff point, I incurred both a late fee and had to refill the tank again.  I ended up getting the late fee, my gas money, AND half of the original charge back.

These are just some things I’ve learned in the couple of letters I’ve been successful with.  If you have other tips, please add to the list in the comments below!  I love seeing what’s worked well for others, especially in how best to piss and moan about things :-)

Happy writing!  Let me know how your letters go.

~Chris

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