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4 J. Consumer Pol'y 1 (1980)

handle is hein.journals/jrncpy4 and id is 1 raw text is: I

Preben Sander Kristensen
What Consumers Want and What They Get From
Complaints Directed at the Place of Purchase
A Danish survey with 1,003 respondents, reporting in detail on 278 cases of complaints to the place of
purchase of a product or service, shows that consumers with a short education obtain as good results from
complaining as do consumers with a longer education. They also have the same propensity to complain in
case of dissatisfaction.
The bias among complainers therefore seems to be associated with the fact that consumers with short
education have a much smaller propensity to be dissatisfied.
The present study focuses on consumers' post-complaint evaluation of the results
of their complaint to the place where the product or service was bought.
Following Andreasen's taxonomy (1977, p. 15) the study uses a subjective measure
of initial dissatisfaction and its modification by complaint satisfaction.
When the consumer acts in the option market he cannot bargain: Bargaining has
come to be regarded as not quite respectable or comme it faut. The consumer is
a price taker in practically all his purchases (Scitovsky, 1968, p. 22). But when the
consumer experiences dissatisfaction he needs a process for resolving the conflict,
and then, even in the option market, bargaining with the seller becomes a possibility.
However, also in this situation it is not quite respectable to bargain, and often
some sort of third-party arbitration is preferred. In their study of third party
complaint handling mechanisms Geistfeld and Choy (1978) write that it is reassur-
ing to note that . . . redress requested was significantly independent of redress
received (p. 119). It may be so when a third party is introduced, but in the dyadic
relationship studied in the present paper we prefer to consider complaining
a bargaining process, following a vain attempt to solve an exchange problem by
means of a take-it-or-leave-it option. The outcome of the complaint process is
therefore to be compared to the consumer's own expected outcome, and not to some
ideal norm.
The study consisted of a short personal interview and a subsequent mail question-
naire. In the interviews, made in the fall of 1977, 2,105 randomly selected Danes were

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