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How taking action on social media helps consumers

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Sitting on hold over the phone and waiting to talk with a customer service representative might be a thing of the past. 8 On Your Side is looking into how social media can be a much more powerful way to get results quickly.

Andres Baracaldo loves barbeque – and he spent big bucks on his custom-made smoker. But he was not happy when it arrived.

“When I saw the damage, I honestly couldn’t even believe it,” Baracaldo said.

The smoker’s wheel axle was bent, paint was chipped and it was covered in dents and dings. So Andres took to social media.

“I took pictures of the damage, I uploaded that to the Facebook group. People right away started chiming in with similar experiences and how it was made right,” Baracaldo said.

The company quickly took notice and the owner contacted Andres directly. He was sent parts for repair and fresh paint – and refunded more than $1,000.

More and more people are following Andres’ lead in taking to social media to get results.

“Well, the appeal of using Twitter is that it’s typically very public, easily searchable and the company is very limited in its ability to hide that complaint,” Consumer Reports Editor Kevin Doyle said.

Here are some tips to make social media complaining more effective:

First, target an active verified account, one that is regularly monitored. Never post private information in public places – this is especially important for Facebook and Twitter. Only disclose that type of information through direct messages when you know you’re chatting with a company representative. And be honest – exaggerating your claim won’t help you get better service. And always be respectful. A positive attitude may result in a positive outcome.

“Companies recognize the power of social media. They know that a negative complaint can reflect badly on the entire company,” said Doyle.

Fortunately, Andres feels his situation was fixed.

“Honestly, I don’t think I could’ve gotten better customer service,” said Baracaldo.

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Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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