How to complain about an item over a year old

The Sale of Goods Act 1979/Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994
Generally speaking if the item is less than 6 months old and the item is faulty then the consumer should receive a full refund (minus any depreciation of value of use, e.g. a car used for 4 months has had some use and will have depreciated in value) a replacement or a repair. After 6 months it is up to the customer to prove that the fault was there at point of purchase. However, only take this as a guideline. When my son said that we should complain and take something back to a pound shop, even I drew the line! But there are cases when you can and should claim redress after 6 months. (More on laws protecting you from faulty purchases here.)

A faulty sofa
Damaged sofaA friend of mine had bought a sofa over a year ago from a mail order company, Studio. It was clearly faulty and she was having difficulty getting a full refund. I took to writing an email for the CEO. I stated that there were 2 really sharp metal rods (thin ones) poking through out of the fabric, so when hands are put down the middle bit of the sofa it really hurts, obviously. Karen had only done this once now knowing it is was there, however, the item is clearly faulty and she has very young children to consider. Originally she was told that because she had had the bed more than a year there was nothing that could be done. However, once this was checked further (with one assumes, the legal department) she was told that it would have to go to quality control. Karen was promised a call back that never came and she had to chase it up and get a form to fill in and request to send photos of the issue which she did. The proof of postage for this was available. Again she had to chase and ‘phone again to be told that her letter had not arrived. Since then a leg has literally snapped off when she sat on the end causing her to fall. It was now obviously not level.

The sofa was clearly faulty and under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 she was entitled to a full refund. It was easily proven that the fault was there from the start and so the fact that she had had this item for over a year is irrelevant. In addition to the full refund I expected them to arrange for removal of the sofa and provide redress for the inconvenience caused, not least the damage to Karen’s hand, the time spent on the matter and the stress involved. Karen had not been able to use the sofa bed and so also expected redress for this particularly in light of Studio’s delayed and non-existent responses pro longing the matter.

I added my usual see you in court line if not satisfied with the response…

Result
Karen received a replacement (which is what she wanted) plus £50.

You should persevere when met with fob offs and of course more help and templates for this sort of thing in the book. :)

Posted in Complaining, Complaints gaining redress | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

GHOTW CEO insinuates all reviewers and complainers are freeloaders oh and it’s okay to overcharge too!

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time will know that complaining is not all about getting freebies. For me, it is always the principle of the thing; I complain about the smallest of things, principle of the thing, I complain in person to politicians, principle of the thing, I take Tesco to court which pounds per hour was nothing to do with getting freebies that’s for sure(!) but was certainly about the principle of the thing, I get refunds for friends when they are out of pocket, principle of the thing, I help people out on social media with advice on getting refunds and redress, principle of the thing. Some people may see this as time poorly spent and that complainers are sad etc etc., if that’s you, then you tell that to the people who have been helped and remember your stance when you make an expensive purchase and want your money back because the thing is faulty. Oh and don’t complain about fat cats either, because some of the reason they get paid so much is because people don’t complain about their services.

So with that in mind I was astounded when my latest complaint elicited the rudest response I have ever received from a CEO. (Up until now, the rudest CEOS have just been the ones such as Clarke who just ignored customers). Admittedly I have never complained to Ryanair CEO but even he has apparently seen the error of his ways.

Now, I am a reviewer for What’s Good to Do. A great site reviewing lots of products and services around the country, check them out. As such I offered to review a variety of places over a number of different dates with Great Hotels of The World. GHOTW is a global sales and marketing alliance. The Iberostar in Majorca was offered for 3 nights in October. I had asked how much an upgrade from B & B would be to all inclusive. (i.e. I wanted to pay for the upgrade) I was offered €122.40 a night per room on All Inclusive. The offer had already included B & B and one dinner for one night. So obviously one night upgrade from B & B plus dinner would be less than the other 2 nights of upgrade form just B & B. I pointed out the following:

“1)     On the Iberostar own website for those nights B & B = €186.66 AI = €296.82 a difference of €110.16 therefore the difference is €110.82 not €122.40

2)     One night dinner is provided for the review. Therefore an upgrade from to all inclusive is certainly not €122.”

After a ridiculous email exchange including telling GHOTW PR team the same thing 6 times and each of those 6 times that I was not asking for anything extra free, I was asking not to be overcharged, I gave up.

The director of What’s Good to Do tried to speak to staff and explain the same, that the website said a lower price and that the dinner would not be free if paying the same extra rate for each of the 3 nights so that the hotel was in effect overcharging. But I received another email to say that the rate was correct and another email with the offer previously received. I was even told that the review must be a positive one!!!

So, I emailed the GHOTW CEO. I explained that it is usual for a reviewer to be offered a discounted rate for extra nights or upgrades to the stay on offer. I wasn’t even asking for this! I just wanted to upgrade. I did however object to being overcharged twice over. Once, telling me that the price was more than advertised on the website and secondly charging me the same for an upgrade from B & B to AI as from B, B & dinner to AI. This is the response I received:

Helen

I have read your email with interest.

I get many of these emails and whilst on many occasions i have great sympathy with the genuine concerns expressed. In this case i would like to suggest that you really need to get a life and stop bothering well meaning busy people with this sad self indulgent rambling.

If you and your freeloading friends on these various websites are not happy with a price quoted then you should perhaps seek alternative accommodation?

I hope this helps. With the kindest regards and best wishes

Regards

Peter Gould
CEO
Big Worldwide
www.big-worldwide.com

(Typos are his not mine)

Remember, I was not asking for a freebie, I was merely pointing out that that I was being overcharged. So it would appear from this email that:

  1. Mr Gould feels that people on these websites (I mentioned review sites, blogs and my own) are also freeloaders. So if you are a reviewer or journalist that has ever reviewed something and got the item or service for free before taking the time to write a review then that’s you!
  2. If you have ever used the information on my site to gain refunds and redress I guess he means you too!
  3. If you have bought my book to gain refunds and redress I suppose he means you as well!
  4. I guess if you have liked my Facebook and certainly if you interact with me on there then he includes you as a free loading friend on these websites!
  5. The reviewer receives a couple of hundred pounds worth of stay (no travel) – The hotel receives much free advertisement. I would suggest that several thousand people reading a review is worth slightly more than the couple of hundred pounds that the reviewer “saves” before writing up the piece. No advertisement costs, not even having to pay anyone to design the advert. So as a PR company GHOTW is doing a great job huh?

Wonder what the other hotels in this group think of the way that the PR company handles publicity?!

So who is the freeloader? The person who seeks refunds and redress when put out of pocket/the reviewer who undertakes some work in return for a free service or product, or the company that uses reviews as a cheaper method of traditional advertising and then insults anyone who evidences overcharging?

Should you be a reviewer or journalist that undertakes reviews and doesn’t take kindly to the above you can contact Peter Gould here

 

Posted in Companies customer service, Complaining, Complaints, General complaints | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

How to complain about a dry cleaners

The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 covers again. If services are not undertaken with reasonable skill and care and your items get damaged or lost then you have the right to claim compensation. This can be the cost of replacing the damaged or lost item although there may be a reduction for wear and tear of the original item.

Membership of the Textile Services Association is available to Laundries, Dry Cleaners, Textile Renters and their suppliers. If the company you are using are members then it offers a conciliation service. You may be asked to prove your claim and on a loser pays basis use the association’s testing service. It also offers an arbitration service is the matter still cannot be resolved.

If the firm is not a member of the TSA, then you have the option of taking the matter through the Small Claims Court.

Dry cleaning complaints
Earlier this year, I took a suit to a local dry cleaners and picked it up two days later. Luckily I noticed there and then that the mark on the jacket was still there. I complained and said it looked like the jacket hadn’t been done or at the very least the mark hadn’t come out and I had expected it to do so. The owner was very apologetic and asked me to come back the next day. Apparently the jacket had not been done! I didn’t even need to complain and assert my legal rights and got the jacket cleaned for free. So either my reputation goes before me or my face must have said it all. Perhaps it was a good dry cleaners? Or at least had a good manager who had words with his son who only cleaned the trousers!

Another time I took in curtains to a different dry cleaners. Condensation had ruined the bottom of them. This did not come out. I complained and received a full refund. They did tell me that those sort of stains do not come out. So please let me know if you know different and you can get a mould stain out! Also, lesson here, check with the dry cleaner if they think the stain will come out before they waste their and your time.

I have a feeling that if I ask if anyone has had any dry cleaning nightmares that I may get a fair few??

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The Complaining Cow Meets New Tesco CEO Dave Lewis

Those who have been with me for a while will know that I think this is funny. Really funny. I started this blog with a complaint about Tesco back in July 2012 and how Clarke was pig ignorant compared to his predecessor and competition counterpart at Sainsburys. Then I ended up taking Tesco to court and then Tesco failed in paying up. Then there was the insect in the rice. Few others I think, then the last one was on my opinions on Clarke. Still say I was right and I saw the demise of Tesco coming years ago.

I didn’t actually mean for the blog to turn into a “Have a go at Tesco” site but it does appear to have more than its fair share of my complaints. Perhaps because Tesco is so big it therefore has more complaints, but I’m only using the one store so it is one store against all the other complaints so if you use that comparison one person one store then hey Tesco is pretty damn poor even if I shop more there than any other if you see what I mean?!

Anyway, Tesco annoyed me so it had to be done. So when Tesco ditched the ignorant one (mind you, did you see his pay off for being rubbish? I thought that only happened in the public sector where it is more difficult to get rid of incompetence! See here story in The Independent – it was reported that Clarke got £10mill! Surely not for crying out loud? I always say customer service is not rocket science but these people clearly need a rocket stuck somewhere with a touch of reality thrown in. And Dave if you’re reading this and I know you are, then in your meeting on Thursday – yes we would all like to see Clarke pay back some money please and give it to your charity department. Not that one that begins at home, but the one that gives out to the community).

So where was I? Ah yes – so when Clarke was pushed I sent the new to be CEO one of these bottles. Remember what the foolish, ignorant out of touch with reality IDS said? “What is it?” Ha! I see a new career for Clarke. Anyway, Dave wrote to say thank you and would like to meet up when he started and told me to keep on complaining as that is how they would improve! Ha again!!! Wrote and told him it was a good start! He had replied at least and appeared to have manners. Time will tell if he has more than just better manners about him.

Here’s the funny part. Now, unless you are new here, you will know it amused me when the financial scandal hit the press, to go and test him. Many of my Facebook page likers agreed, many others didn’t think I would email him! They hadn’t been round very long. So I emailed him. I kindly acknowledged that he was busy but perhaps he would like to hear some customer views? Anyway, after asking me to give a few days when I was available and my replying with, any except Friday, I was given a Friday. Seriously. Anyway. I met him. Maybe he’s astute, maybe he’s mad or maybe he was plain scared! Who knows, could be all 3. But we met for just short of two and a half hours and told him there’s more! Well the man asked me for my opinions, what did he expect, he’d seen the blog?! When I told him I emailed him to remind him he wanted to meet with me because the timing amused me he said it was “cruel” in good humour mind.

Dave Lewis Tesco CEO & The Complaining Cow

Dave Lewis Tesco CEO & The Complaining Cow

I got offered a cup of tea straight off which was a good start and I was just about to complain here that there were no biscuits but I vaguely remember he did offer actually so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Next time on the plate just there, chocolate I think. :) Earlier in the year I was invited up to AO which was great, the CEO with common sense. They treated me very well and it was a really interesting experience, but one tiny thing let them down, just one. I didn’t get a single cup of tea. When I got back to the hotel I drank 3 cups on the trot I think!

 

By the tobacco stand – didn’t notice that, urgh. That was his fault, he chose where to stand. Have to say, didn’t give me the shudders like taking a selfie with IDS did!

So, what did I tell him? I told him what sort of image Tesco has, as if he didn’t know. I told him that Adrian said “I used to shop there always. Now I don’t, I shop at Lidl and have done for 6 years saving circa £9,000 at the last reckoning. That’s all he needs to know!” Told him to look at the list of complaints on the Facebook page to save me listing them so go add your complaints there as well as below. :) He said we may have different opinions on things – I said that of course we will, but mine would be right!

Most importantly told him my Mum’s complaints about Tesco and my 6 year old son’s – that the people who choose the shopping keep giving him pink Kinder eggs and toothbrushes. He asked me if I told Dave off. I did son, I did!

Told him his job was quite easy, frankly. It is not possible that he could be as bad as Clarke and short of going bankrupt it couldn’t get much worse so there is only one way to go. Sainsbury’s had a great CEO, (look at this article in the Guardian – shows just how much he was liked and respected by employee and the public) he had very good manners. As Marcus of www.ceoemail.com said “Leahy and King were gentleman.” Being a decent human being would appear to be important in making a success of a company. Filling King’s shoes – not easy. To be fair Clarke had a similar job filling Leahy’s. But he failed. Big time. I think the new CEO at Sainsbury’s has a much more difficult job than our Dave – whether I shall go offer my help to him remains to be seen…. I really should go and test his manners shouldn’t I?

Whether Dave or his driver last when they see how long it is going to take them to get back to Richmond from Cheshunt come December also remains to be seen!

I sort of mentioned the finance situation… he was good humoured about it, possibly because I took the mickey somewhat, probably light relief, but he  did say at that this stage he was not going to defend or otherwise his finance staff.

I found out the Tesco PR department is absolutely dire. My words not his. Tesco actually does some good stuff which we don’t know about. (I know, high praise indeed given that it’s from me but I am harsh but fair.) Someone at the top has no idea what everyone else in the company is doing and is only firefighting or doing nothing and giving no direction or the whole department is utterly useless. Now, whether that someone at the top was Clarke or the head of PR (ultimately it is the CEO of course, but for how long will the new incumbent be able to play the “It wasn’t me guv” card?) it will make a nice change to pick on a  different department :) ‘cos yes I’m going back. I’m going to chat to some of his senior staff, he’s even buying some of my books for them. There better be tea and biscuits.

Tesco Customer Service Contact Details

UK customer enquiries

Tesco Customer Services
Freepost SCO2298
Dundee DD1 9NF
Tel: +44 (0) 800 505555

Email: customer.service@tesco.co.uk

Oh and looky look I give you Tesco CEO email address He apparently only gets 2000 emails a day I’m sure he’d welcome some more. :)

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Fewer than 45% of People in the UK Use their Consumer Rights

Well that was interesting. Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey How, When and Why Do You Complain?

Key findings

How many people complain?
According to this survey undertaken July 2014 70% of us complain when we receive poor service. This rises to 90% who complain when we purchase a faulty item. If you look to your own networks this doesn’t really ring true and I think many people put that they generally complain because they felt that they should! Or it is not every time they receive poor service. Or many of those complaints are not successful in gaining redress. This theory is backed up by answers to another question, “If you usually don’t complain is it because…” Now, 59% of respondents gave reasons and only 41% said that they always complained.  However, complaining is on the increase and the latter figures fit in with The Ombudsman’s report on complaining. 38 million customers complained in 2013. But 40 million more complaints went unaddressed as people stayed quiet. 48% and 52%.

In addition, as detailed below many more people are now using social media to complain and some people may consider writing a 140 character tweet as regularly complaining! It’s not necessarily always gaining redress and it’s very difficult to assert your legal rights in 140 characters!

46% say that when they don’t complain it is because it is too much effort or takes too much time.

Gaining redress
When considering purchasing an item/service either online or in store how easy it will be to gain redress if anything goes wrong is a factor in 74% of people’s decision making about where to buy (either sometimes or always). The same number of people shop online as do in store because they think it will be easier to return an item that way.

How well do you know your legal rights?
This is what I found the most interesting. Given that 70- 90% of people say they always complain, only 7% said they know their legal rights well and use them regularly. 5% know the basics of the Sale and Supply of Goods Act and Supply of Goods and Services Act. A further 33% will check out their rights before complaining, so assuming that they won’t always do that for various reasons, we know that fewer than 45% of people use their legal rights. So 7 + 5 + 33 = the 45% but I believe that is lower as some of the 33% won’t always check out their legal rights and complain.

Uswitch undertook a survey in May 2014 and found that almost two fifths of consumers (38%) are unsure about their rights and 36% say they do not know them well. Only 4% claim to be truly confident.

How many people do you tell about poor service?
Remember the line “Receive good service tell 1, receive poor service tell 10″? Not any more.
Less than 2% of people tell no-one.
49% tell 1 – 10 people
11% tell 10 – 20 and now
38% tell hundreds and sometimes thousands of people due to social media.
So companies be warned! It is wholly irrelevant how many complaints you actually receive! Less than 60% don’t always complain but look how many people are they telling?

Social media
68% of respondents use social media to complain.
37% of those find it effective sometimes
16% find it always effective
12% find it is never effective
Clearly social media is on the rise. There are more details on what social media works for in complaining here.

When you receive good service do you give feedback?
The majority of people think they do. I think some customer service people may disagree!

Summary
It would appear that people think they complain more than they do, certainly less know their legal rights. There is an increase in using social media to complain and whilst this may be considered complaining, it often doesn’t gain the legal redress that longer correspondence elicits. The main reasons for people not complaining are that it takes too much time and effort which might suggest that companies make it difficult to complain? Thoughts around how easy it is to gain redress when things go wrong are becoming a key factor in where people choose to buy.

People really need to complain more. If they did perhaps service would improve it would have to. And now, to help you, here’s a book! #complainlikeacow

How to Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and RESULTS! Take a look at the reviews too! #chuffed :)

Don’t forget, The Complaining Cow’s Top 20 Tips Tips here and video here:

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