Companies That Will Send You The Best Free Stuff If You Just Complain A Little

A customer's experience can tell a company a lot about a certain product's effectiveness (or lack thereof). Because of this, most businesses hold considerable stock in what their customers have to say, and countless companies respond to complaints in perhaps the best way of all: sending you free stuff. And who doesn't love free stuff?

If you're curious about how to get freebies from companies, the process is pretty simple. Make a phone call, send an email, or write a snail mail letter (yup, people still do that!) to the manufacturer and explain your experience. Remember: You can complain without being disrespectful or unkind. In fact, companies prefer constructive criticism with room for discussion versus trying to communicate with an irate customer. Chances are good the company wants to keep your business, and to do that, it may just send you something gratis!

Keep reading for a small sampling of companies that will send you free stuff if you just nudge them a little.

  • CamelBak Sends Replacements Or Parts

    CamelBak is an outdoor supply company renowned for quality equipment. It also offers a lifetime guarantee on certain items via Got Your Bak™.

    According to the company's website, the program "covers all reservoirs, backpacks, bottles and accessories from manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product." CamelBak will fix or replace any of these items at no cost to you. If you find a defect, just let them know, and they'll start the process of repairing or replacing - and it's all free.

    • Industries: Backpacking, Camping, Sporting Goods
  • It used to be that REI had a lifetime guarantee on its products. If your REI boots fell apart during a trek across Europe, the company would send you a new pair, no questions asked. Unfortunately, it did away with this policy, reducing the lifetime span to a one-year span. Still, a year of coverage is nothing at which to scoff.

    If your REI product has gone kaput, or you're unhappy with your purchase, the company will replace or fix most products free of charge, as long as it's within the first year. Also, if your purchase has a manufacturer's defect, you can return it any time for a refund or replacement.

    • Industries: Backpacking, Bicycling, Camping, Hiking, Sporting Goods
  • The Flattery Project experimented with sending compliments to 40 different brands to see if they'd reward positive feedback with swag. In some cases, it worked, and Chobani was one of the good ones.

    In addition to responding with coupons for the company's Greek yogurts, Chobani encouraged the project creators to reach back out in the future for more free items.

    • Industries: Dairy, Food, Snacks
  • Many people rely on their Fitbits to keep them active, informed, and in touch with their health and fitness levels. If your device breaks within 45 days of purchase, or even if you're just dissatisfied with it, you can return it for a refund. Manufacturer defects are covered for up to a year after purchase.

    The first step to getting a full refund is to fill out an authorization form by contacting customer service on the Fitbit website.

    • Industries: Electronics, Fitness, Health, Technology
  • Contact lens solution is an essential item for many people, but the cost of even a single bottle can be prohibitive. Bausch + Lomb understands this, so if you complain about their products, they will often send you a coupon for a free bottle of contact lens solution.

    If you'd rather have a refund, they also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You'll need to send them your bottle and store receipt, and they will in turn issue you a refund. Bausch + Lomb extends a 90-day guarantee on their contact lenses, as well.

    • Industries: Ophthalmic Goods
  • Potato chips are one of America's go-to snack foods. For almost 40 years, Cape Cod has been a leader in kettle-cooked chips.

    Like most businesses, the company wants to keep you coming back, so if you're unhappy with your Cape Cod goodies, let them know. They will often send a coupon for a free bag of chips. Try another flavor and see how you fare; chances are, you'll find a variety you like.

    • Industries: Food, Snacks