It’s easy to jump up and down when things go wrong and take to social media to vent those frustrations but will that get you any real redress? Do you need to be a human encyclopedia of every single bit of consumer legislation in order to be able to be successful in your complaint? The short answer to both of these questions is no. If you want results then you just need to complain simply but effectively and know where to source information and help. Work smarter not harder!
The first thing to remember when complaining is to keep emotion out of it. Stick to the facts and be clear and concise in the points you make. Compile a record of all evidence including telephone calls, references, dates and times to support your complaint. If applicable, make a record of what you agreed, when, where and with whom. The most effective complaints are made in writing so if you make any initial calls then always follow up the complaint by email or letter. Summarise the issue in bullet points at the end of your letter and state what action you expect in order to be able to rectify the problem and restore your faith in the company in question. Give a clear time response of 7 working days for a reply.
If you do not receive a satisfactory response then you may need to consider taking your case to the Small Claims Court. A final letter before action will be required before you can do so as you will need to demonstrate that you have given the company ample opportunities to address the problem before escalating it in this way. Well-worded letters at this stage are invaluable as they could nip the issue firmly in the bud and save you a whole lot of time, money and stress in the long run.
Now on to the bit, which is often neglected because it’s the hardest to do and requires some research: your consumer rights. This may seem tedious but it can be time very well spent. However there are ways in which you can work smarter and not harder to find out the correct legal terminology to use in your complaint. Most issues can be covered with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 where purchases need to be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable amount of time. Answers to just about every other consumer query you can think of can quickly be sourced via Google but to save you even more time, I’ve compiled this list of my top 5 ‘go to’ websites and top 3 books for easy reference.
Which? provides advice as to how to deal with just about any kind of consumer issue you can think of. It has a handy consumer section where you can find simple ways to solve everyday consumer problems.
Money Saving Expert also has a comprehensive guide as to how to complain with step by step complaining help. Both MSE and Which? are easy to navigate and there are useful letter templates, which you can download and use.
CEO email is a free website which you can use to search for and obtain contact details for CEOs of major companies and organisations.
Citizens Advice gives free and confidential advice to people who need help with financial, legal and consumer issues.
Resolver is a free, independent issue resolution service. You just type in the name of the company that you are experiencing problems with and once you’ve submitted an issue, your complaint will be sent to the right person or team and escalated accordingly.
This book does exactly what it says on the tin. If you’re fed up of fob offs, then information in this invaluable consumer guide will empower you to take effective action in order to get redress and refunds for any kind of consumer issue.
In this book, Scott advises how to hold individuals and firms to account, seek redress, raise standards and improve customer service for everyone.
With a foreword by moi, Scott’s follow up book contains definitive guidance and support for anyone looking to cancel unfair parking tickets and win pothole claims, two of the biggest issues that face motorists today. Every motorist needs a copy of this book in their glovebox!
I hope you’ve found the information in this blog post useful. You can also obviously contact me for any advice if you need help with a consumer issue or you can join numerous Facebook groups focusing on a whole range of different companies to share views and gain support when complaining. In addition, a very useful general Facebook page for any type of consumer complaint is The Complaints Resolver.
Don’t forget: You don’t need to be an expert to assert your legal rights. You just need access to the right information and the confidence to use it to fight your corner.
Happy Complaining! x
Please note that this post contains affiliate links.