VANCOUVER -- Spending hours on hold waiting for a customer service agent to assist you may be a thing of the past. Consumers are turning to social media to get complaints resolved much more quickly.

Andres Baracaldo says he was devastated when the expensive, custom-made meat smoker he’d ordered arrived at his home in less than perfect shape.

“When I saw the damage, I honestly couldn’t even believe it,” he says. 

The axle on one of the smoker’s wheels was bent, the paint was chipped, and it was covered in dents and dings. So Baracaldo took to social media. 

“I took pictures of the damage, I uploaded that to the Facebook group. People right away started chiming in with similar experiences and how (the situation) was made right,” he says.

 The owner of the company contacted Baracaldo directly shortly after, and then sent him fresh paint and parts to repair the smoker. Baracaldo also received a refund of over $1,000. 

Kevin Doyle, an editor with Consumer Reports, says more and more consumers are taking to social media to get results. 

“The appeal of using Twitter is that it’s typically very public, easily searchable, and the company is very limited in its ability to hide that complaint,” he says. “Companies recognize the power of social media. They know that a negative complaint can reflect badly on the entire company.” 

If you’re making a complaint of your own on social media, there are some things you can do to make sure it’s effective. First, target an active, verified account by tagging the company in your post. Make sure that it’s regularly monitored. Some companies, especially on Twitter, have seperate customer service accounts - make sure you have the right one. 

Never post private information online. Only disclose that kind of information through direct messages when a company representative engages with you and asks you questions. 

Be honest and be respectful. Don’t exaggerate your claim in an attempt to get better service. A positive attitude may result in a more positive outcome.