How to Complain in Shanghai

Living in Shanghai is not easy. You often find out something does not work or you were treated badly, you need to know how to complain. My reader sent me the story that his wallet disappeared when he passed he security check of Shanghai Airport. He put the wallet into the X-Ray machine but it didn’t come out. The staff their didn’t do anything and they didn’t want to explain. He had his last choice to write to me to ask about how to complain.

Here are my suggestions.

Judge Type of the Business

Depending on the types of the business, you take different actions.

For private businesses, including those foreign invested businesses, to talk to the manager is an effective way. If the customer, which is you, is not happy, the business owner is losing money. They know that and they will try to fix it.

For state-owned business, well, forget about the idea to talk to the manager. I complained to Cui Gong Hotel, a five star hotel in Beijing for failing to ring my morning call and over charged me, I only got the response from their high level manager that “You know, it is a state-owned hotel. I hate to work here. I know many things went wrong, but there is nothing I can do to fix it. That is the reason I am looking for another job.” Ha. It was funny. I complained to Bank of China. I drove there that day only to find out their computer system of the specific business was shutdown already. The Branch General Manager met me and said “I accept what you are complaining and I understand it, but there is nothing we can do. We have complained many time. I suggest you to complain to the head quarter. If you do, you are doing a favor of us.” He even helped me on how to reach their complain department. I guess the Pudong Airport case falls into this category.

For specific industry, there are industry wide complain hotlines. For taxi service, call +86-21-63232150. They supervise all taxi companies in Shanghai. For consumer product, call Consumer Protection Line +86-21-12315.

Media Helps

If you cannot find the right channel to complain, try to call media. It sometime works. At least there is someone on the other side of the phone line, willing to listen to what you say. I called many times before (on the always-on-red-light, on the typo-in-Shanghao-metro), and reporters will come to talk with me.

Xin Min Wan Bao: 021-962288

Oriental TV: 021-58702626

East Radio Station: 021-62780792

10 Comments

  1. Hi Jian Wang Shuo,

    Funny, I have been writing about the same topic, the level of service, in my last two posts on http://www.chinasnippets.com

    By the way, This is not comment spam, one of the topics at the last Shanghai Weblog meetup:)

  2. You’re doing a great work here. I enjoyed visiting here very much. Thanks! So without further delays: http://www.allucher.com/sato_blog/archives/2005/04/post_110.html , amazing 3D effect

  3. I don’t know if it’s true, people told me that in China, if a foreigner had an “non legally solvable” problem with a chinese local, the Russian would be here to fix it…

  4. A resident foreigner in Shanghai

    March 27, 2009 at 12:02 am

    There’s no point in complaining about anything here. In China, if something unpleasant or bad happens to you, it is because you are a bad person, and you accordingly deserve the ill treatment. To complain in China is to announce to all within earshot that you are an immoral, ingracious troublemaker. On the other hand, if something good happens to you, it is because you are lucky. This is not my personal view; I am merely repeating what Chinese folks have told me, many, many times: “Take it (up the ass) with a smile, or get the f**k out of China.”

  5. I don’t know if it is appropriate to post a complaint here about a Shanghai hotel, so if you feel my post is inappropriate, please delete it. Here is my complaint:

    “A very nice hotel but refuses to issue more than one key per room. Why?”

    Yun’s Paradise Hotel

    1 of 5 stars

    Trumpeter_144

    Tucson, Arizona

    I liked my room in this hotel, but stayed with a roommate as we were part of a large tour that had booked rooms in the hotel for two nights. I was dismayed to discover that the front desk refused to issue more than one room key per room, necessitating that 50 percent of our group had to go without room keys for two days. Frankly this is unacceptable and therefore despite the beautiful rooms I cannot recommend this hotel to anyone, as the inconvenience of staying there without a room key is significant. Having to ask the staff to be let into one’s room is an indignity no traveler should have to suffer, and therefore this hotel is not worthy of four stars. It is surprising that a hotel as fancy as this one would not have figured out such a simple matter as the requirement to issue each guest a key before renting them a room.

    This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

    Was this review helpful? Yes

  6. I drive a car in shanghai and last week I went to a car repair place near my home. It looked like a “proper” place so I went there and told them that my air con ain’t cold enough. It was working but after the winter the air con wasn’t cool enough. So they fixed the problem and called me 2 days later to pick up the car. I went there again, turned on the car, turned on the air con and everything seemed to work fine. after 15 minutes I was just about to leave when I heard a really loud noise from the car. I stopped and asked the boss and he said maybe something with your horn is not ok. I knew it has nothing to do with the horn so I told him that wasn’t the horn. We agreed that I will come back tomorrow and they have another look.

    The next day I went there again and they checked the car again and told me that the air con machine is broken and it’s very expensive to repair it :)

    Welcome to china…….. I have no idea how it can work if people open shops here and rip off people…. their customers!

  7. I want to complain about stuff in gym i’m usually going to..gym is not cheap.cost 3800¥ per 100times.so I had hope that if price r high then service and equipment r should be good.there s nothing to say about swimming pool and gym,it all very good.but stuff as I said are unprofessional first,second since first day I start to feel that some of them treat us(me and my Bf we both r Russian) very bad.first they asked us to change shooes at the main entrance to changing rooms,but they didn’t provide new clean changing slippers ,and place to keep ur own shooes.so I was complaining that it’s not safe to keep the shoes at the entrance and slippers they want us to wear were used by someone already.at the same time they keeping new clean slippers at the reception in boxes.I guess they never give clean slippers cause too leash to wash every time customers use it.but as they create a rule to change ur shoe at the main entrance u should follow it.then I asked why there’s no water at the corridor between swimming pool and changing room(I thing everyone been in public swimming pool,and u always have to pass the small place on the floor fill of water).but they even didn’t know that it should be fill of water.next when I see all people coming to the pool dry,I asked why no one take a shower before they go to swimming,and no one control it.all stuff were surprised why people should take a shower?I explained that all people keep dirt on their bodies and before going to public swim.pool u should clean it.no one react,they still didn’t care when old yang,just finished train customers r get to pool with no showering.and today was the awful day.when I came I decide to ask for slippers from boxes they have on receptions,reception yang lady gave it to me but before take it she wear glove .so I asked her why did u wear glove are the shoe dirty?she didn’t said anything trying to ignore me,I asked again and again,but she ignored me again,and gave me face like I don’t care what u saying I’ll ignore u.it was my last point where I lost my patience.i think it was too much of her bad attitude.I think she should at least give the answers to questions people ask.as I see to all other customers they always nice.guess cause they all r Chinese kind of rich people,and for us they don’t have any respect as we are foreigner and yong.

    So I asked where I can talk to boss or someone who lead all those stuff.but they all were protecting this girl trying to say that if I don’t like something I should quit to come here!!!can u imagine stuff deciding who should come who not?!i’m curious if their boss who’s earning money whith us customers think the same.of course no one give me contact number where I can complain.no one want trouble.but I’m tired of it.hope that there’s any complain centers ?

  8. I want to complain about stuff in gym i’m usually going to..gym is not cheap.cost 3800¥ per 100times.so I had hope that if price r high then service and equipment r should be good.there s nothing to say about swimming pool and gym,it all very good.but stuff as I said are unprofessional first,second since first day I start to feel that some of them treat us(me and my Bf we both r Russian) very bad.first they asked us to change shooes at the main entrance to changing rooms,but they didn’t provide new clean changing slippers ,and place to keep ur own shooes.so I was complaining that it’s not safe to keep the shoes at the entrance and slippers they want us to wear were used by someone already.at the same time they keeping new clean slippers at the reception in boxes.I guess they never give clean slippers cause too leash to wash every time customers use it.but as they create a rule to change ur shoe at the main entrance u should follow it.then I asked why there’s no water at the corridor between swimming pool and changing room(I thing everyone been in public swimming pool,and u always have to pass the small place on the floor fill of water).but they even didn’t know that it should be fill of water.next when I see all people coming to the pool dry,I asked why no one take a shower before they go to swimming,and no one control it.all stuff were surprised why people should take a shower?I explained that all people keep dirt on their bodies and before going to public swim.pool u should clean it.no one react,they still didn’t care when old yang,just finished train customers r get to pool with no showering.and today was the awful day.when I came I decide to ask for slippers from boxes they have on receptions,reception yang lady gave it to me but before take it she wear glove .so I asked her why did u wear glove are the shoe dirty?she didn’t said anything trying to ignore me,I asked again and again,but she ignored me again,and gave me face like I don’t care what u saying I’ll ignore u.it was my last point where I lost my patience.i think it was too much of her bad attitude.I think she should at least give the answers to questions people ask.as I see to all other customers they always nice.guess cause they all r Chinese kind of rich people,and for us they don’t have any respect as we are foreigner and yong.

    So I asked where I can talk to boss or someone who lead all those stuff.but they all were protecting this girl trying to say that if I don’t like something I should quit to come here!!!can u imagine stuff deciding who should come who not?!i’m curious if their boss who’s earning money whith us customers think the same.of course no one give me contact number where I can complain.no one want trouble.but I’m tired of it.hope that there’s any complain centers ?

  9. I have booked a hotel online through AGODA.COM and they charge me 168$ per night but upon my arrival found that the hotel ( Yue Shanghai Hotel @ Century Park ) is very small and should not be more than 30 to 50 dollars a night!

    I already paid the money by cridet card

    Do you think any thing could be done in this situation please?

  10. On the way back from Singapore to Vancouver me and my wife had a layover in Shanghai at which time we had to pick-up our luggage and find a hotel for the night.
    From previous searches I knew that the hotel at the airport cost roughly $50 US. As we were searching for that hotel a person behind the counter at Shanghai Airport representing many hotels in Shanghai mention that the hotel at the airport will cost us $150 and he had something within our price range just outside of the airport with a free shuttle bus. And we would be better off paying him cash because there is penalty for paying through a credit card. $60 US was paid in cash with no receipt being given to us.
    Once home we have learned that the hotel we stayed was going for $20 US.
    My complain is with the Shanghai Airport Authority of keeping employee on the payroll that is deliberately misleading and taking advantage of the helpless travellers.

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