Consumer Retaliation as a Response to Dissatisfaction

  • Jonathan Huefner
  • H. Keith Hunt

Abstract

Hirschman's Exit-Voice-Loyalty model is expanded to include retaliation, an aggressive behavior done with the intention of getting even. The first study showed that people, when asked, were able to provide personal stories of consumer retaliation. The six consumer retaliation categories that emerged from 185 consumer retaliation stories differed in terms of emotional response, age, level of education, and sex of the retaliator. The second study established that voice, exit, and retaliation are essentially independent consumer behaviors. Individuals seem to have a preferred response to dissatisfaction, most use more than one response, and none relied on retaliation behaviors alone. From the seller's perspective, retaliation is an ineffective consumer response because it does not identify either the cause of the problem or person offended; therefore no corrective action can be taken. From the consumer's perspective, retaliation is primarily cathartic.
Section
Journal Articles