Cover image for Shocked, appalled, and dismayed : how to write letters of complaint that get results
Shocked, appalled, and dismayed : how to write letters of complaint that get results
Phillips, Ellen Haygood, 1947-
Publication Information:
New York : Vintage Books, 1999.

Physical Description:
xviii, 333 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
"Vintage original."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HF5415.52 .P48 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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How to get the best of shoddy shops, crooked car-dealerships, and heartless HMOs--without having to hire an attorney.
The Miss Manners of the consumer kvetch shows readers how to go postal, with complaint letters designed to melt the heart and sting the conscience of the most obdurate, negligent, or customer-hostile corporations.nbsp;nbsp;

Drawing on her experience as a pen-for-hire for irate consumers--and on the advice of clients, attorneys, and CEOs--Ellen Phillips shows readers:nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;
- Who to write to, what to say, what to ask fornbsp;nbsp;
- The names and addresses of over 600 major companies
- How to draft personal petitions covering everything from tenant-landlord disputes to workman's compensation
- Suggestions on what steps to take to avoid litigation
- Consumer Smarts for automobile buyers
- How to protect yourself from fraudulent business solicitations
- Navigating the courts to ensure the well-being of your family and children
- Help in getting proper coverage from your HMO
- And--because sometimes the world is on your side--how to write the perfect thank- you note.

Delightfully readable, easy to use, and filled with the addresses of hundreds of corporate customer relations offices and state and federal agencies, Shocked, Appalled, and Dismayed! is an essential resource for anyone who wants to reach out and scold somebody.

Author Notes

Ellen Phillips is the founder and CEO of Ellen's Poison Pen, Inc. Phillips and her company have been the subject of feature stories on NBC's Today Show, and in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, Bottom Line Personal, and The Washington Post. She has also been a frequent guest on National Public Radio, instructing listeners in the art of writing successful complaint letters.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xvii
1 The Power of the Pen: Don't Get Mad, Get (Appropriately) Evenp. 3
2 The Verbal Approachp. 11
3 How to Write an Effective Complaint Letterp. 18
4 Advice from the Legal Expertsp. 37
5 Common Complaints I: Airlines, Automobiles, Restaurants, and Hotelsp. 43
Airlines and Travel Companiesp. 51
Airlinesp. 51
Travel Companiesp. 52
Automobilesp. 69
Consumer Smarts for Automobile Buyersp. 69
Repairsp. 73
Car Dealerships and Repairsp. 77
Auto Insurancep. 92
Restaurants and Hotelsp. 96
Restaurantsp. 96
Hotelsp. 104
6 Common Complaints II: Credit, Bank Deposits, Retail, and Servicesp. 112
Credit Problemsp. 112
Mortgagesp. 114
Store Creditp. 117
Excessive Credit Card Debtp. 120
Bank Depositsp. 125
Mail Order, Shopping Parties, Cybershopping, and Retail Policyp. 127
Mail Orderp. 127
Shopping Partiesp. 131
Cybershoppingp. 134
Returnsp. 137
Damaged and Shoddy Goodsp. 139
Warranties and Defective Goodsp. 147
Servicesp. 151
Personnel Agenciesp. 151
Dating Servicesp. 153
7 Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Doctors, and Nursesp. 160
Health Maintenance Organizationsp. 160
Prescriptionsp. 166
Doctors and Nursesp. 170
8 Sue or Arbitrate?p. 177
Arbitration versus Mediationp. 177
Small-Claims Courtp. 181
9 Letters of a More Personal Nature: from Petitions to Pleasp. 183
Personal Petitionsp. 183
Petitioning the Court on Child Supportp. 184
Disabilityp. 189
Immigrationp. 191
Funding for Social Servicesp. 194
Housingp. 196
Personal Pleasp. 199
To a Difficult Relativep. 201
Problems at Workp. 202
Tenant/Landlord Disputep. 204
To an Insensitive Parentp. 206
10 The Art of the Perfect Thank-Youp. 209
Formal Thank-You Lettersp. 210
Thank-You for a Job Well Donep. 210
Thank-You in Response to Personal Petitionsp. 214
Formal Thank-You Notesp. 215
Thank-You in Response to a Personal Pleap. 217
Thank-You for a Job Interviewp. 217
Thank-You for a Giftp. 218
11 Fill in the Blankp. 221
Airlinesp. 222
Automobilesp. 224
Automobile Insurancep. 226
Cybershoppingp. 227
Health or Disability Insurancep. 228
Hotels/Restaurantsp. 232
Moving Companiesp. 234
Neighborsp. 236
Postal Servicep. 237
Retailp. 239
Vacation Scamsp. 241
Epiloguep. 243
Appendicesp. 245
The Attorneys General of the United States and State Consumer Protection Officesp. 247
Automobile Dispute Resolution Programsp. 252
National Consumer Organizationsp. 255
Corporate Consumer Contactsp. 259
State Insurance Regulatorsp. 307
Trade Associations and Other Dispute Resolution Programsp. 313
United States Government Departments and Agenciesp. 319
Independent Federal Agenciesp. 327