Be a pest.
When you notice that something in wrong on your bank statement or credit card statement, politely ask for an inquiry. Sometimes you may have to ask twice but ti will work. Two months ago I found fraudulent charges on a credit card statement, then I found double billing from a company I actually placed an order with. The fraudulent charges, I had to place an inquiry twice, but while the charges were being investigated, I didn’t have to pay interest on those and checked frequently to see how the status of the inquiry was going.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Persistence pays off, but politeness along with assertiveness helps. An overly aggressive person can escalate a situation and make it difficult to get someone to help you.
Assertiveness and aggressiveness are two sides of the same coin but can evoke reactions from different ends of the spectrum. A polite assertive person might be able to get a situation rectified in their favor. An aggressive person who seems to be a bully or boorish (think ugly American) may not be able to have a situation resolved in their favor.
Assertive behavior also deals directly with the person or company that can resolve the issue. You may feel aggravated by having to repeat a situation but by maintaining a pleasant demeanor and you will be able to have your situation resolved. Recent situations where people called 911 because of problems in fast food restaurants or other retailers indicates that shoppers weren’t using assertiveness, they were being aggressive.
Complain to the right person. Generally, the cashier or first person you speak to isn’t the person who can help you, if you have a serious issue. Ask to speak to a supervisor. Keep asking until you get the right person to help you. When calling on the phone, take notes including the time you called, and the name of the representative. Ask for what you want – a refund, a repair, a new item. You may not get it but by asking politely, you are closer to getting what you want than if you are aggressive and get angry quickly.
Telling your problem to someone who cannot help you, such as on an anonymous complaint site does nothing to resolve your problem. Using the sites will help warn others of potential problems, but many situations are different.