As we continue the journey of this product sandbox, today we’ll cover the topic of Competitive Landscape.
We have all been there. You stop for food, take a trip, or buy something online and in the end things just didn’t turn out the way you wanted. Sadly it’s almost 2017 and customer complaints are just as common as ever.
Businesses are still treating customers poorly and shrinking profit margins means corporations are constantly looking for ways to save. Customer service is critical to a companies success, but tragically is usually the first to suffer.
Luckily for customers there is a way to voice your frustrations online. All it takes is a reliable internet connection, a keyboard, and a decent complaints website. The Federal government has made it clear through the Communications Decency Act that they support your freedom of speech online. Just be sure to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
There are 5 things I evaluate when I look for a place to add a complaint on the internet. You should consider each of these before you post on any website.
- How easy it is to complain (if it takes too long you won’t use it so look at their complaint form and how easy it is to fill out)
- How long the website has been around (if it looks shady you will be wasting your time and your complaint might be deleted in a few years)
- The size of the website (larger sites get more attention and are likely to be more reputable)
- Whether it requires your personal information (they will probably ask for your name and email for records but they don’t need anything more than that)
- How many people visit the site (you want to share your complaint where people are likely to see it and provide feedback)
Here are my top choices for the best consumer complaints websites in 2015:
HissingKitty has been around since 2010 and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I’ve worked with the founding team in a previously life and they built the site to help the average consumer, not to make money. Their complaint form is by far the easiest to use and they have dozens of different categories and always seem to be adding more. The only problem I have with the website is it sometimes they don’t post all the complaints they receive. Sometimes I have added one or two and they get stuck in moderation for weeks it seems like.
On GripeO users can quickly submit a complaint for any company after registering via Facebook, Twitter, or Email. That’s where things get fun. If you’d like, you can upload an image and add a funny meme.
This is where things get really interesting. Businesses have 2 weeks to acknowledge your issue. If they don’t, GripeO can offer your issue to a competitor, willing to compete for you business and to make it right!
This website makes it very easy to complain, which is why it’s at the top of the list. Most of the other complaints websites out there require long forms to fill out and some even require you to sign in through Facebook. Their complaint form is simple and straightforward.
You just enter your basic information, the company you want to complain about, and then verify your email address. My3cents has been around for awhile, and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. That’s an important thing to consider when deciding where to submit your thoughts. This site also doesn’t have the additional content that some of the others one have. It’s very simple, you either complain or you leave.
When you talk about complaints it’s hard to ignore the size of a site like ComplaintsBoard. They have probably the second largest database of complaints second only to RipoffReport and continually add new features to the website. They are the only site on this list that features videosand photos prominently.
In 2015 it’s about time more sites incorporated media into their overall design. After all what complaint isn’t better with an epic photo right? The only downside to ComplaintsBoard is that they are the most heavily monetized website by far, there are Google ads everywhere and they are designed to blend in with the rest of the site. I often wonder whether I am seeing a complaint or an advertisement.
You can’t mention complaints websites without mentioning the oldest and largest site on the internet when it comes to consumer opinions. RipoffReport covers the entire spectrum of customer problems from scams, frauds, reviews, and complaints.
According to their home page their has been over 1.9 million reports filed to date. There have been several notable lawsuits against them over the years, so many that they have a page dedicated on their website to people who want to sue them. RipoffReport seems to have grown into a large and cumbersome site that is difficult to navigate at times, but still the founder Ed Magedson stands by his commitment to consumer advocacy to this day.
PissedConsumer is different than the rest of the complaints sites listed in several ways. First of all it creates mini-websites for each of the companies listed called sub-domains. It has lots of great data on companies such as listing the most popular complaints and trends associated with them for the month.
The website also has a separate section for businesses which claims they have more the 3 million visitors a month and can help companies with their reputation. One of the features I like most about their website is that they provide you with an example complaint letter to send to a business. They are one of the only sites that give you a good example and most of their complaints are higher quality because of it.
Due to it’s URL you would think that Complaints.com would be the leader in this space, but that’s really not the case here. Although there seems to be quite a bit of activity on the website, most of the complaints listed are very shallow and few have any comments at all. The website reads more like a blog than it does a complaints website, and from the looks of the about us page, the press section hasn’t been updated since 2008.
This is one of the more creative complaints websites on the list. The site takes an interesting look at customer service, providing a scoreboard for each company which lists positive and negative comments alongside details about the types of complaints submitted about the company. It’s definitely the most visually appealing and interesting take on the average complaints site. They also have the ability to compare companies side-by-side, which is pretty useful for consumers who are looking to comparison shop.