Monday, July 21 2014 6:10 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:10:13 GMT
Weeks after he shelled out thousands of dollars for a freestanding garage, Perrysburg resident Lynn Hankins was left with only a large trench in his back yard.More >
Weeks after he shelled out thousands of dollars for a freestanding garage, Perrysburg resident Lynn Hankins was left with only a large trench in his back yard. So he called the Ohio Attorney General and the Call 11 for Action Office.More >
Wednesday, July 9 2014 4:12 PM EDT2014-07-09 20:12:28 GMT
Rick Shriner was fed up with large trucks barreling down his residential street, so he called Call 11 for Action.More >
Rick Shriner was fed up with large trucks barreling down his residential street, so he called Call 11 for Action. After WTOL starting asking questions, the city will soon be enforcing weight limits on city streets for the first time in 5 years.More >
Before the dawn of the Internet, many frustrated and unhappy customers spent hours on the phone with automated systems and customer service representatives.
But since the advent of sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, many consumers have found the power balance begin to shift in their favor when it comes to consumer problems. Musician Dave Carroll famously took his consumer complaint to YouTube. He posted a song about how United Airlines broke his guitar while he was traveling. More than 13 million views later, Dave got a new guitar.
"In the first two weeks I received 10,000 emails congratulating me, but also saying that they felt that they didn't have a voice and they wished they had a voice," said Carroll.
It was that sentiment which led Carroll to found Gripevine, a website that empowers consumers to air their grievances with companies, and hopefully be made whole again.
Neal Alderson turned to Gripevine after getting the runaround from the maker of a pair of expensive sunglasses. Alderson says the glasses snapped in half, but the manufacturer refused to replace them. One post on Gripevine, and Alderson got a brand new pair of shades.
"It was resolved very quickly," said Alderson. "I got exactly what I wanted, which was a replacement pair of sunglasses."
Gripevine is free to use, but there are some sites that will go even farther for a small fee.
On PeopleClaim, filing a complaint is free. The site will notify the company about the complaint, but if the company doesn't respond, users can pay $7.95 to have the dispute posted publicly online. For $14.95 PeopleClaim will also notify watchdogs, regulators and the media. PeopleClaim says "far more than half the complaints filed are resolved."
On Scambook it's also free to file a complaint, but users can pay $4.99 a month for a personal investigator to be assigned to the case. That investigator will mail certified letters to the company each month. Scambook says the site has resolved over $10 million in reported damages.
Experts say the power of the Internet is helping consumers gain leverage over big business.
"Social media is what I call the great equalizer when it comes getting your complaint resolved," said John Breyault of the National Consumers League.
Monday, July 28 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:59:54 GMT
Neighbors struggled to make sense of the shooting deaths of a family of five in which the father was known to many throughout their apartment complex as a friendly maintenance worker.More >
A maintenance worker with financial problems killed his wife and three children with a shotgun, then committed suicide, over the weekend in what state police called one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Maine...More >