Consumer Law

Customer Complaint Scams

There are many different consumer scams. Some of the most common scams include work-at-home schemes, credit repair, weight loss and mortgage foreclosure rescue. Consumers have to be careful of any person or business trying to sell something. However, the seller has to be just as careful of the consumer.

Customer Complaints

Business owners have to deal with all kinds of complaints from customers. In order to keep their customers, they have to try and make them happy. Many owners and managers have the motto that "the customer is always right."

Every type of business receives complaints. Usually the companies that deal with many customers in a short span of time receive the most complaints. The best examples are fast food restaurants. These companies attempt to provide quality food quickly with good customer service to a large amount of people. This situation provides consumers with a variety of potential reasons to complain.

Common Customer Scams

Many customers will do anything to get something free. The most common scam is for a consumer to ask for his money back after he has used a product. The consumer will lie and use the excuse that the product was unsatisfactory.


This scam occurs frequently at restaurants. The customer will eat the majority of a meal and then complain about the quality. He'll ask for his money back since he's unsatisfied. The customer gets a free meal at the seller's expense. Some consumers will try this scam in every restaurant in their area. It has a high degree of success.


Clothing stores frequently have to deal with this scam. Customers will wear clothing to important events and then return them on the basis that they're unsatisfied. The stores lose money because they can't sell obviously worn clothes.

Customer Service

Another scam is for the customer to complain about bad service. He may act like he's insulted with how he's been treated and wants his money returned. This scam also occurs frequently at restaurants since there's a lot of interaction between customers and waiters.

Food Fraud

One scam that has occurred more frequently in recent times is the placement of foreign objects into food. It can be as simple as a hair or as serious as a body part. A woman complained a few years ago that she bit a human finger that was in her bowl of chili from a Wendy's restaurant. It turned out to be a scam.

Consequences of Customer Scams

Businesses lose large amounts of money from customers who complain falsely. Wendy's lost millions of dollars from the bad publicity of the finger scam. Clothing stores must deal with a large amount of returned merchandise that can never be sold. Many times the businesses have to increase prices to recover the lost money. These higher prices are passed to the consumers who are honest.

Customers Aren't Always Right

Customers aren't always right. Businesses have to learn when to say no to a customer. They have to decide if they want the future business of an angry and unreasonable consumer.

No owner or manager should put up with a customer that yells or abuses his employees. Employees are valuable and should be treated with respect. The better employees are treated, the better they usually treat the customers.

A business should never reward bad behavior. It's not fair if bad customers receive better treatment than good customers just because they cause problems. Businesses need to make sure the good customers keep coming back.

Many customer complaint scams can be stopped before there's too much damage. Businesses should only go so far to make a customer happy. Customers aren't always right. Sometimes, they're just plain wrong.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • Can businesses decide at any time to stop helping unreasonable customers?
  • Can a business bring a lawsuit against a customer to get its money back that was lost in a complaint scam?
  • How can a business know if a customer is being truthful or committing a scam?
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