Poor Customer Service

FRESNO, Calif.

Sam's Club and Walmart rated worst.

George Starr knows how to fish around to get good customer service. George got Sony to send him a $1,500 flat-screen free of charge when his old TV broke - even though it was out of warranty.

"The only thing I could really summarize it would be wow!"

But consumer reports found plenty of people aren't happy with customer service. 65 percent said they'd walked out of a store because of poor service in the past year.

Among the worst stores for service - Sam's Club and Walmart. Overall, people complained about phone service, too.

"67 percent of those surveyed told us they didn't get their problem solved. Their biggest complaints - too long a wait on hold, can't get a human being, and too many menus to navigate to get to a real person," Marks said.

But websites like Dial-A-Human or Get-Human Can Help. They list customer-service numbers that will get you to a real person. Or do what George Starr did - use social media.

"I found a Facebook site going through Google called 'I Have a Defective Sony TV.' And it gives you the e-mail address, phone numbers, tells you exactly the steps that you need to do," Starr said.

"Social-networking sites such as Facebook and especially Twitter are powerful tools because companies are actually monitoring these sites to listen to what's being said about them. So if you have a complaint, go online," Marks said.

Consumer reports finds it's not all gloom and doom when it comes to customer service. Some companies do a very good job, including Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Crutchfield.com, which sells electronics.

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