Consumer Complaining Behavior in Developing Countries: The Case of Brazil


  • Daniel Fernandes
  • Cristiane Pizzutti dos Santos


Understanding why dissatisfied consumers complain the way they do is important from theoretical, managerial, and public policy perspectives. To a great extent, research into consumer complaining behavior (CCB) has been carried out primarily in developed countries; consequently, it has had a strong U.S. and European orientation. In order to broaden all perspectives, a conceptual model which integrates different streams of CCB is herein developed and used as the reference point for an empirical study of a segment of young adult Brazilian consumers. The conceptual framework spawned 16 testable research hypotheses which were addressed by operationalizing a simple one-factor (two levels) between-subjects experimental design. A total of 480 graduate students enrolled at 2 major universities in Brazil were exposed to a written scenario describing a restaurant experience. Findings revealed that the level of consumer dissatisfaction, attitude towards complaining, self-confidence, and perceived likelihood of success influence complaint intentions, as well as word-of-mouth and switching intentions, but in different ways. Analysis also revealed that consumer self-confidence was the main driver of intention to complain, while dissatisfaction intensity proved to be the most relevant antecedent for both negative word-of-mouth and switching intentions. Finally, attitude toward complaining was shown to moderate the relationship between dissatisfaction intensity and the intent to complain.



Journal Articles