Sites that help you lodge complaints

If you've been wronged or you're just not happy with the way you were treated, there are some sites on the Web that will help you get your voice heard.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
4 min read

Whether you want to target politicians, your employers, or companies that have done you wrong, there are a variety of sites across the Web that will help you voice your complaints. But beware that not all of them will actually solve those problems.

Lodge your complaints

Anonymous Employee Those having trouble at the office should try out Anonymous Employee. The service allows you to create a user name and password without requiring an e-mail address. After that, you can input the name of your employer, the person you want to contact, and the issue you want to make them aware of. Anonymous Employee automatically sends the message to the recipient without identifying you.

Unfortunately, Anonymous Employee was buggy and at times, it took too long to send a message. That said, I was impressed by the number of options it offered, including complaints about age discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination. Once it fixes those bugs, Anonymous Employee will be an even more compelling service.

Anonymous Employee
Anonymous Employee keeps you private when you make issues public. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Better Business Bureau The Better Business Bureau site is one of the best places to lodge complaints. Right from the home page, you can access the organization's complaint tool, which allows you to take issue with your vehicle, your cell phone carrier, a product or service outside of those two categories, or a charity. After inputting information about yourself, you can describe your issue on the site. It's then filed with the Better Business Bureau and investigated.

The Better Business Bureau wants to know the nature of your complaint. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

CongressMerge If you're unhappy with what's going on in your state, CongressMerge can help you out. The site provides you with a search field to find all of your elected representatives. Once you find the politician you want to contact, it gives you a listing of all their phone numbers, a map to their office, and even their fax number so you can be sure to get in touch with them. You can also check out your elected representatives' voting records on the site. It's a great way to find all the means of communication you need to have your voice heard in the political process.

CongressMerge helps you contact your representative. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Electronic Frontier Foundation The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a great place to have your displeasure heard. The site's Action Center lists all the issues the organization has identified. You can sift through those issues, find those that matter most to you, and send an e-mail to the appropriate recipients expressing your displeasure with the rest of the EFF community. It's a great way to stage an online protest.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants you to get motivated. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Federal Trade Commission The Federal Trade Commission also lets you submit complaints. You can file complaints about suspect business practices, identity theft, or "episodes of violence." According to the organization's site, it will investigate any complaints that it deems is part of a pattern, but it won't solve individual disputes.

Regardless, the site's complaint service is fantastic. In just a few seconds, you'll be able to describe your gripe after following the step-by-step complaint tool. After you're finished, it gives you the chance to review your complaint and submit it for review. Whether or not anything will come of it is anyone's guess, but at least you know your government might be doing something behind the scenes to stop poor business practices.

The Federal Trade Commission walks you through your issues. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Project Vote Smart Project Vote Smart is a great way to research the political process. You can search for politicians, see how they vote, and determine if you're happy with the way they are representing you.

If you're not happy with their job performance, Project Vote Smart provides you with all the contact information you'll need to express your displeasure. From the address of all their offices to phone numbers and key staff contact information, Project Vote Smart has it all. You'll be happy with what it offers.

Project Vote Smart
Project Vote Smart tells you how politicians vote, then helps you contact them. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Ripoff Report Ripoff Report provides an outlet for consumers who have been negatively affected by companies to issue complaints. As of this writing, Ripoff Report has more than 460,000 reports filed on the site.

When you're wronged by an organization, you need only to file a report on the site describing the injustice. It then enters the public forum, so other users can comment, add their own horror stories, and help you get the word out about your complaint. The beauty of Ripoff Report is that it also gives companies the opportunity to rebut any issues raised by customers. It's a really nice give-and-take that's worth checking out.

Ripoff Report
Ripoff Report gives you and your complainee the chance to share their opinion. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. Ripoff Report: It's nice to keep your complaint public.

2. Anonymous Employee: It's a great way to address real issues without worrying of termination.

3. Electronic Frontier Foundation: There's strength in numbers--and the EFF knows that.