The complaining habits of public figures and people on the consumer world – Georgie Frost

A series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

Georgie Frost siting down with mug of coffee

 

In my series of interviews with people in the consumer world regarding their complaining habits, today is the turn of Georgie Frost.

Georgie Frost’s complaining habits

1)    Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?Absolutely.

2) How much does the likely redress have to be before you will
complain and why?
Obviously I factor in how much the ancillary costs of my complaint will be, ‘phone calls, travel, my time etc. to sort out the problem, but it is definitely more about the principle for me rather than the redress. It also depends on my mood, whether I have experienced this before with the company and how bad the fault.

3) How well do you know your legal rights (Consumer Rights Actdifferent sectors regulations etc.)
Pretty well, I have your book! I have also done a Consumer Rights law course and it is my job.

4) If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback?
How?
Yes, I try to. I will often leave a review on Google, say a public thank you on social media and of course say thank you directly to the person. It is important for balance as we are more likely to have a go at a company when they do something wrong. Given how much I use reviews, I should really post more, especially average ones.

5) If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include
your social media followers too!)
Again, it depends on how bad the service, where the fault lies and how it was remedied, but I can tell many people. And I have a long memory!

6) If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
I am more likely to post a positive comment on social media than I am a negative. I feel my account is not really there for my own personal gripes, I prefer to highlight other people’s.

7) If you don’t really complain or it has to be a significant amount
in question before you will, what stops you from complaining?
Time and effort, generally. We all have experience of poor customer service that can put us off. I was complaining to a ‘phone company the other day on behalf of my dad. I managed to get him about £100 back but it took an hour and a half on the phone, speaking to 4 different people across two continents. It was actually quite stressful. I managed to make a batch of brownies from scratch once, in the time that it took me to complain to HMRC. At the end of it the problem still wasn’t resolved but at least I had fresh brownies!

8) What do you think of using social media to complain?
I think it can be useful, if used properly (i.e. not just a mad rant!) to get you directed to where you need to go. Rarely does it solve the problem outright, although it can. I fear that my experience is not going to be the same as a general member of the public though who doesn’t have ‘journalist’ in their Twitter blurb or thousands of followers.

9) Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when
deciding where to purchase an item?

It depends on what I am buying. With something like insurance or a mobile ‘phone contract then I will factor in customer service and reviews, more than if I was buying goods.

10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
I have not, no

11) If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator)
or gone to Small Claims Court tell us about it
I haven’t.

About Georgie Frost

Georgie is an award-winning broadcaster, sport and finance journalist, speaker and media trainer. She was a BBC sports presenter and in 2014/15 moved to host a daily finance-based radio talk show. Named just 18 months later Financial Broadcast Journalist of the Year and recognised in the top 5 Best New Voices (Radio Presenter) category at the APA awards. She is also a three-time Guardian award-winner for her sport coverage and twice Sony award-nominated news journalist.

Since leaving Share Radio in 2017 she has continued to present, freelancing on national talkRADIO as well as become a regular commentator and newspaper reviewer on BBC 5Live. She appears on TV and radio as a personal finance and consumer affairs expert.

She creates and hosts the NS&I sponsored This is Money podcast with the MailOnline over the last 5 years. It now features in the iTunes top 10 Business podcasts.

@GECFrost

Read about the interviewing habits of other public figures and people in the consumer world in the series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

Help with your complaints

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If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

Georgie Frost with a mug of coffee text - talks about her complaining habits

 

 

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What will happen to consumer rights after Brexit?

Brexit and EU consumer law

As of today Brexit is still a mess! No final decisions have been made about anything.

The future of EU consumer law in the UK

EU law continues to apply until the UK leaves the EU. When the UK does leave, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 comes into force which is the repealing of the European Communities Act 1972. It allows for the Parliamentary approval of the withdrawal agreement being negotiated between the Government and the European Union.

The UK will retain existing EU law. The laws made over the last 40 years whilst the UK was an EU member will remain in place, unless the Government decides to change any of them.

Many of the EU directives regarding consumer rights are actually enshrined in UK law. So, most will remain the same unless/until they are updated, repealed or changed by Parliament.

Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012

The Government has said that in the case of a no-deal Brexit the cost of credit and debit card payments for transactions between the UK and EU are likely to increase.

credit card, phone car and aeroplane

Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018

If there is a no-deal Brexit, EU traders selling these arrangements in or to consumers in the UK will be required to comply with the insolvency protection requirements, as above, so you will still be financially protected if the company goes bust.

If the organiser is not based in the UK, or does not direct its business to the UK, this may not be the case. Request very clear information regarding insolvency protection before booking. You won’t be covered by these regulations but you may be covered by insolvency protection arrangements in the EU member state.

Consumer laws covering purchases in the EU

If there is a no-deal Brexit consumers will not be able to use the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform provided by the European Commission. You may not be able to use the UK-based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) organisations for cross border disputes as they will no longer be required to act in cross-border disputes.

If there is a no-deal Brexit you will still be able to return items purchased from an EU retailer. You will still be buying items under the law in the seller’s country. However, it may be more difficult to return items and you may have to go that country if you want to take the matter to court.

If you incur problems after the exit date this will also apply.

If there is a deal there should be no change.

Consumer safety and the EU

If there is a no-deal Brexit the UK will instantly stop being part of the EU agencies and regulatory bodies that are responsible for undertaking safety assessments, such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Therefore UK bodies would have to take on this responsibility to ensure consumer safety. UK consumers will still be able to monitor EU consumer product recalls via the Rapid Exchange of Information System (RAPEX) website. Alerts issued by RAPEX provide information about dangerous products and steps being taken to prevent or restrict marketing.

Flights

If there is a no-deal Brexit there could well be disruption to flights around the time the UK actually leaves the EU. This is because the UK would not be part of the European Common Aviation Area and bilateral agreements need to be made.

At the point of writing it is not clear if a flight disruption would be considered as an “extraordinary” circumstance for the purposes of EU 261. I suspect it will be a matter to be fought in court. You should still get a refund but you may not get the compensation, consequential losses or admin fees. Check with your travel insurer as to whether your flight would be covered by Brexit issues.

If you have missed a connecting train due to the cancellation or delay, you can claim a refund for the unused part of the journey should you not go on a later train or have to use an alternative form of transport. You could consider claiming for consequential losses, as above.

Roaming charges

If there is a deal the Government has said that free roaming will remain guaranteed for the implementation period. (This should apply until the end of December 2020 at least. This may be extended until December 2022 for a variety of reasons, but both sides need to agree). Future arrangements after this date will depend on the details of the deal.

If there is a no-deal Brexit, at the point of going to print the Government has proposed a statutory instrument to prepare for changes to mobile roaming arrangements. If it is approved, it will remove the obligation for mobile providers to offer free roaming in the EU. The proposed new law retains the current global data cap on mobile roaming of £45 per monthly billing period and would also legislate to ensure the current alerts issued at 80% and 100% data usage continue.

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