by Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What if solving a dispute with a business was as easy as just typing it up online?
As 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds, more and more consumers are heading to the internet to resolve their complaints.
When Neal Alderson’s expensive sunglasses broke in half he requested a replacement pair from the maker, but all he got was a run-around.
So, he posted this gripe on Gripevine.com
A website that connects you directly with company decision makers who can get your complaints heard and resolved.
Gripevine contacted the shades’ manufacturer, and soon Neal got some good news.
“I got exactly what I wanted, which was a replacement pair of sunglasses,” said Alderson.
Gripevine’s founder Dave Carroll became a YouTube sensation when he posted this video about an airline he says damaged his guitar and refused to pay for it.
After a million hits, Carroll says they changed their tune.
“In the first two weeks I received 10,000 email congratulating me. But also saying that they felt that they didn’t have a voice and they wished they had a voice,” said Carroll.
Gripevine allows complaints to be posted for free. While other resolution sites may charge a fee.
“These sites offer to step in and play that role for you,” said John Breyault with the National Consumers League.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are giving consumers a voice too.
Many companies are patrolling social web sites, chatrooms, and blogs, jumping in when they see discussions about their brands.
“Social media is what I call the great equalizer when it comes getting your complaint resolved,” said Breyault.
And getting online worked for Neal.
“It’s a very quick easy way to get your situation dealt with,” said Alderson.