The handling of consumer complaints is a critical aspect of customer service. Larger retail or services companies have teams dedicated to verifying and rectifying complaints, from the mundane to the bizarre, such as the unfortunate woman who recently discovered a common toad in her supposedly 'washed and prepared' supermarket salad.
Many retailers operate with the safety net of a two-tier system. Complaints can either be dealt with on the spot at the point-of-purchase or taken to the higher authority of a centralised department.
One customer of Marks & Spencer bought a bra only to find that it chafed her back. She phoned the central London store where she bought it and explained that you couldn't actually see the badly sewn seam that was causing the irritation. 'That's OK,' she was told, 'we'll get one of the assistants to try it on and verify your story.' Unhappy with this course of action, she contacted the company's HQ. The company quickly refunded the cost of her purchase, adding a discretionary amount for her inconvenience.