In the modern-day world, digitalization is at its acme, and all the activities are being performed online. The companies have based their transaction, marketing, and redressal forums on the internet as it holds the capacity to reach out to more people. Twitter, the new consumer forum, is a software that is operational in both mobile and personal computers. It is a social networking and micro-blogging service provided to people across the globe and the only requirement to use it is a device and an internet connection. It allows the users to post 280 characters at once on any topic tagging the concerned person and authority. The users can initiate a debate or provide their insight on any particular topic or a work uploaded by any person. The updates and data uploaded are available to everyone, and it can be either appreciated or criticized by other users.
It is a platform that has risen to prominence amongst people from different walks of life. Starting from students, academicians, businessmen, politicians, farmers, etc. everyone has become part of the platform, and they pose equal liberty to express themselves and their ideas. Companies, government agencies, corporate houses, etc. have developed their Twitter account where they keep posting the latest news regarding activities that they indulge. The platform has turned into a forum where different people do not just post their ideas but also the grievances they have against a particular organization. The forums that exist to highlight the problems of consumers in the current paradigm are courts, special courts for consumer protection, arbitration benches and personal spots for filing a complaint in seller’s or service provider offices and websites. This platform doesn’t process the grievances of a consumer in public, and they work according to their convenience. The process of filing the complaint is cumbersome and time taking. In certain cases, even the resources required to file the complaint is expensive, like in consumer courts as a lawyer needs to be hired.
Twitter: The consumer platform
Twitter provides individuals with easy access to their application and the pages of different authorities that need to be informed of their negligence. The process of approaching the seller or service provider is easy as, within a few clicks, one can approach the page and post the problem. It has various features like polls, photo sharing, streaming videos, and hot tweets that help one to highlight their grievance. It even helps in presenting the grievance most efficiently with the evidence required to prove the point. The system is public, and even other users can see the problems being posted, and if they face a similar issue, then they can approach the concerned authorities. The number of people one can reach is in millions that tend to put more pressure on the concerned authority to act instantly.
The very nature and method of the tweets are efficient as it is really short and precise. The information reaches the other party in a few microseconds, and even replying becomes easy. Due to its semi-formal and friendly nature and environment, people don’t have to worry about many specifications, and it becomes easy even for a layman to use and brings forth the problems they are facing due to negligence of a certain authority. It also helps save resources like paper and time. An individual can escape the long hours of phone calls and waiting in line to see the administration of the concerned authority. One, while complaining about the Twitter account, can check for the other complaints, and retweeting of the problem by a large number of people gives leverage to the consumer, and the concerned authorities are forced to take constructive measures.
A common forum
The filing of complaints by individuals on Twitter has become common. However, there are a few nuances that need to be considered while filing the same. These details will help people be more effective in finding a solution to their problem. The tweet should be really specific and should be posted on the right page. There exist the problem of fake pages of different people and authorities that can look similar to the original pages of the concerned authority. It is essential to keep the tweet brief and include all the grievances in a few words. This helps one to reach out to more number of people that could lead to retweeting of it. The tweets should be factual with the relevant data, and one should avoid including information that is not impactful and not related.
One should make repetitive efforts with the subject via follow-up tweets so that the authorities are forced to reply. In some instances, due to flooding of tweets on one page, it becomes difficult to keep track of all the tweets sent on the page, and hence, tweeting again can help one to be recognized by the authority. One should keep the Twitter account public and the tweets as well. The messages that one receives from the concerned authority over the complaint should also be kept public so that in case they are harassed others could see it and act against the concerned. This even helps others who have a similar grievance, and the time of both consumer and seller could be saved.
The online platform like Twitter has been employed in use by both the consumer and manufacturers. They have tried to use it at the most optimal level though there are certain shortcomings in the system. Twitter stands to be a non-legal forum, and any grievance posted doesn’t have to be addressed by the concerned authority. The promises made on Twitter can’t be used as evidence in the court of law against the concerned party. The cases of filing of the false complaint and posting of doctored pieces of evidence have become common, which leads to defamation of the concerned party. The authorities are not compelled to be a part of the platform, so many organizations try to stay away from it. It even lacks screening of data and information tweeted by people that has to lead to a problem in unnecessary upheaval. In certain cases, it also becomes easy to tackle most of the grievances posted on the page by the authorities due to flooding of the tweets.
Ultimately, it can be concluded that in 21st-century, digitalization is taking over the vintage method of filing complaints. Twitter is available with people at all seconds of life just in a few clicks and swipes to everyone. The principle of ‘Caveat Venditor’ is applicable, and every consumer is aware of their rights. The shortcomings and defects that consumers find in the goods or services they procure in exchange for a certain amount of consideration can claim damages from the seller. To obtain the right experience and highlight the defects, no one has time to go through the orthodox method of filing complaints. Twitter has become the complaint filing forum for these consumers as it can reach the service provider and other dissatisfied consumers. There are certain limitations, but with time, as the development will take place, it won’t be a surprise that Twitter in the future will emerge as the consumer forum for all.