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The effect of consumer emotional disclosure on fairness perceptions



One way consumers cope with an unfair consumption experience is to express how they felt about it. Understandably, these disclosures are often rich with emotion. Does emotional disclosure in this context influence consumers' perceptions of fairness? Drawing hypotheses from the emotional disclosure literature, this research reveals that writing about emotions improves consumer fairness perceptions and satisfaction. However, the benefit of emotional disclosure disappears if the disclosure is solicited by the company perceived to be responsible for the unfairness and they do not offer redress. The findings lead to the recommendation that companies provide and facilitate opportunities for consumers to disclose to third parties the emotions arising from consumption experiences perceived as unfair. Implications for managing customer feedback, complaints, and negative word-of-mouth are discussed. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.