Comparing consumer complaint responses to online and offline environment

Chiao Chen Chang, Yang Chieh Chin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to apply the theory of reasoned action (TRA) and the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to predict which factors can determine consumers' intentions to complain when they meet an online or offline service failure. Design/methodology/approach: The method of obtaining quantitative data was that of the instrument of a survey questionnaire. Data were collected from 300 potential consumers to assess the influence of attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control on the intention to complain. Participants were assigned averagely and randomly to one of two conditions: online medium and offline medium. Two-stage structural equation modeling was employed to test hypotheses. Findings: It was found that both the TRA and the TPB predict the intention to complain well, although the predictive power of the TPB is more robust than the TRA in online media and is weaker than the TRA in offline media. In particular, perceived behavioral control is a better predictor of intention to complain than is attitude or subjective norm in the online environment. Research limitations/implications: This study assessed self-reported behavioral intention as part of its survey and, as a result, could have introduced unintentional inaccuracies. Practical implications: The findings of the study will help marketers to address the key factor which influences consumers' intention to complain and to improve firm performances to meet consumer needs. Originality/value: The TRA and TPB are novel and usable in explaining the intention of online and offline consumers to complain, and these findings may be generally applicable to marketers and consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-137
Number of pages14
JournalInternet Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Complaints
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Internet
  • Service failures
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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