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Stick it to a frustrating company -- 'confirm' or 'ignore'?

Tuesday - 7/12/2011, 12:16pm  ET

Gripe512.jpg
(WTOP)

WASHINGTON -- "Thank you for holding. Your call is very important to us."

For many, this phrase does little to assuage the anxiety and impatience associated with waiting on the phone to speak to a customer service rep. Perhaps if the call was that important to an organization, it would have hired more operators.

And just as information continues to disseminate at faster speeds through the Web, social media, and increasingly capable handheld hardware, consumers now have more options beyond the Better Business Bureau for sharing their corporate complaints.

Gri.pe describes itself as a "much better, Better Business Bureau for the Twitter-age." The app, available for free on iPhone and Droid, harnesses the user's Twitter, Facebook and email accounts, combining their respective networks ("Followers" or "Friends") and disseminates "gripes" or "cheers" for companies.

The app uses this "word-of-mouth-power," or WOMP, to critique the more than 100 million businesses and server providers world-wide, the company says.

Check out this clip from "The View" for more information on how the app works:

This isn't the first time someone has used social media to lever cooperation out of a corporation. New York Times columnist Randall Stross explains how a Twitter-savvy blogger was able to finally resolve an issue with a Whirlpool product by inciting a company executive to contact her personally.

But traditional consumer advocacy is not obsolete. The Better Business Bureau -- which has operated in the U.S. and Canada since 1912, and in the D.C. area since 1920 -- offers a series of online tools, including:

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)