The Impact of Social Influence on Consumer Complaint Behavior


  • Teresa N. Malafi GEO Centers Inc.


Although the rates of dissatisfaction with products and services are high, relatively few consumers ever place formal complaints. One variable that has received very little attention as it relates to placing a complaint is informal communication. Drawing on research in social psychology, this paper proposes that communicating with family and friends about a purchase-related problem may influence a dissatisfied consumer's decision to place a complaint. Informal others can provide informational or socioemotional resources that may increase or decrease the likelihood of making such a public response. The implications of this hypothesis for researchers and practitioners are examined.