10 Types of Complainer Which Are You?

What type of complainer are you?
What type of complainer are you?

I believe that there are many types of complainers. Whatever type you are, this book will help you become more effective in your complaining.

The Professional Complainer
This title annoys me. A lot. I often get asked if I am a professional complainer. It is an utterly ridiculous term. I haven’t trained to be a complainer. I haven’t got any qualifications in complaining and I don’t do it as a job although  I do now take up people’s complaints for them when all else has failed and they need some help. I see this as providing consultancy advice and  not  what people mean when they ask “Are you a Professional Complainer?” No-one is a professional complainer. It is insulting to those with a profession.

The Serial Complainer
I often get asked if I am this kind of a complainer too. I think this term is best suited to people who complain continually to the same company. Frequently they have been offered some redress but they keep on spending a disproportionate amount of time on complaints. They ‘phone the company, send emails, send letters and never give up – often over trivial matters. they can also give effective complainers a bad name. The Complainers showed some of these.

The Extreme Complainer
Similar to the Serial Complainer, this person complains when the time spent is not comparable with the possible redress gained. S/he will complain about anything and everything sometimes with an end in mind but usually just for the sake of it and not because they feel genuinely aggrieved. There’s a difference between complaining about the principle of some rotten apples for £1 and complaining about the assistant who annoyingly asks “Can I help you?” and hangs around when you just want to browse. That’s subjective and annoys the heck out of me and I’ll moan about it but I won’t complain to anyone to gain redress!

The Dishonest Complainer
Serial and extreme complainers probably give people who complain effectively and regularly with good reason a bad name. In addition to wasting their own time they often waste customer service’s staff time which could be better spent with reasonable complainers. But the Dishonest Complainers are in a league of their own. They make up stories and complaints, putting hairs in meals for example, just to gain freebies. And here’s a word of warning if you are thinking about fabricating a complaint Brit couple who made ‘fake’ claim over ‘dodgy food’ at Greek hotel could lose home because they were sued back for £170,000 by the furious chain

The Opportunist Complainer

Similarities with The Dishonest Complainer, The Opportunist Complainers look for opportunities to complain and gain something to which they are usually not entitled, often keeping on at customer services until they are paid to “go away”.

The Rude Complainer
This type of complainer can often be ineffective, serial and/or extreme. Swearing and shouting at staff and/or writing abusive letters/emails rightly rarely gains redress.

The Amusing Complainer
These complainers are a little bit different. Really good amusing complainers have gained media coverage for their complaints, such as the Sons of Maxwell’s “United Breaks Guitars” song that went viral. (See it on Youtube) and the hilarious letter written to Richard Branson regarding the food on a Virgin flight. Amusing Complainers don’t always need to know their legal rights if their correspondence is entertaining enough and the receiver has a sense of humour. This complaining style is usually effective but sometimes humour doesn’t gain redress and to ensure that they will need to become an effective complainer.

The Innovative Complainer
These are to be admired I have to say. Being innovative will usually work. Often the Amusing Complainer falls into this category but to be truly innovative the quality needs to be more than just enough to make friends and family smile. My cousin ‘phoned up a toy manufacturer’s CEO’s secretary and pretended to be from the BBC in order to gain access to the CEO. She was put through to him directly and went through her complaint. It can’t be done with every complaint but when a complainer is innovative the response is usually good.

The Ineffective Complainer
This person tries. Not assertive, not knowing their legal rights, ineffective complainers try to get refunds but rarely get them. They get fobbed off when they try and complain. The Ineffective Complainer may vent a tweet or a post on a Facebook page but not follow it up to gain redress.

The Effective Complainer.
In order to always gain redress one needs to be an effective complainer. The Effective Complainers know their legal rights, assert them politely and will not be fobbed off – when the company they paid tries to blame the manufacturer or delivery company for example.

I believe that there are many types of complainers. Whatever type you are, this book will help you become more effective in your complaining.

Do you want to become more effective? Tips on my Youtube channel and Top 20 Tips here. So, what kind of complainer are you?


Your Rights, Mail Order, Online and Deliveries

Parcel outside door, delivery notirrived? Arrived late? Left and stolen? Your rights to redressMail order and online purchases
Your rights when purchasing items through an advert or catalogue are exactly the same as buying from any other retailer, so your correspondence about faulty items would be covered under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended The Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994) for purchases made before 1st October 2015. For purchases after this date use the Consumer Rights Act 2015. In addition, under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 consumers have 14 days cooling off period for changing their minds. There are some exceptions to this such as bespoke items. Whether or not return postage has to be paid depends on the trader’s terms and conditions. If you paid extra for speedier delivery and it wasn’t delivered within this time you are entitled to the charge back. If the item is faulty you do not pay return postage and you should receive the full cost of any postage paid for sending the item to you.

You are also entitled to any out of pocket expenses if the company don’t turn up when they say they will, such as time off work wages if you have to arrange another date for delivery.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides specific coverage for digital content. Digital content must not be supplied by the retailer within the 14 cooling off period unless the customer has agreed to it and that once the download starts the cancellation right is lost. If the customer does not give consent then s/he will have to wait until after the 14 days before downloading. Having bought the wrong download and realising it before I actually downloaded but before this new law came out I welcome this Act! All I could do was tell them that the Law was changing!

The aforementioned Act also states that goods must be delivered within the time frame agreed with the seller. If one hasn’t been agreed (you have agreed a time frame if the listing supplies a time frame) the trader must deliver ‘without undue delay’ and at the very latest not more than 30 days from the day after the contract is made. After this time you are entitled to a full refund.

Of course, deliveries must also be carried out with reasonable skill and care. See my experience with the Body Shop here. I was on the ITV news regarding that story, I gave advice which they cut and Martin Lewis said if we complained more then service would improve. Something that followers of me on  Twitter and read this blog know that I bang on about a lot!

Package delivered but not received?!
What if your plant pot denies signing for your parcel? Well the delivery company won’t have proof of the signature (I assume of course, I may be wrong) and if your parcel isn’t there, say because I don’t know, it’s out in the open on a busy road and it’s a really stupid place to put it, what do you do?

By providing details for a “safe place” you are agreeing to it being safe! If there is a chance that it could be stolen don’t use it as a safe place! Common sense really! It has become your property as the retailer has left the item where you specified. You could possibly try and claim from your insurer.

If however, some fool has put it in a wheelie bin and it is bin collection date and you don’t get the parcel then it has not been delivered with reasonable skill and care and you are entitled to a full refund.

Mind you, Laura (the presenter) said the carpet was cream. She must have thought the carpet was filthy because it was never cream! It is a dark pinky purple beigey type thing!

To whom do you complain when deliveries go wrong?
I see so much people complaining about the courier company. Unless you paid the courier company direct (extremely unlikely when purchasing items online) your contract is with the retailer. So when a courier company, let’s call it Model, is utterly useless and leaves your package somewhere to be stolen or throws it in the garden breaking the contents, it is the retailer from whom you claim. Even if they try and fob you off and say contact Model, don’t. The retailer can deal with the courier and perhaps when they’ve had enough complaints they’ll drop the contract and use a better firm. If you have difficulties you can go to the CEO of the company to whom you paid the money and find their contact details here.

If you need the retailer to pick up the item because it is bulky, put the request in writing (why it is important to write not phone) provide a deadline for when they can pick it up or you will dispose of the item.

Template letter for an item not received.

Further protection
Should consumers order an item from an advertisement in a newspaper which is signed up to the Safe Home Ordering Scheme (previously known as the Mail Ordering Protection Scheme) they can get their money back if the trader goes into liquidation or stops trading. Keep a copy of the advert when ordering until the item has been received.

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


If you need more help, information and tips with how to quote Acts, template letters and advice on how to complain effectively don’t forget the GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Also more free tips here and on the Youtube channel.

The ultimate guide to complaining when eating out

Cancelled bookings? Poor service? Unsatisfactory food? Your rights to redress on table with dinner on a plate

We all love eating out, but sometimes it doesn’t always go as expected. What to do when that happens:

A booking for a meal should be honoured. If it is not speak to the manager and try to come to some agreement perhaps a free drink while you wait for the table. If this cannot be done then ensure you inform the manager that you will be taking the matter further to claim compensation. If the booking was for a special occasion then this could be reflected in any compensation claim. Make sure that the establishment knows that the booking is for a special occasion and what that is. You can claim for loss of enjoyment and disappointment. You can also claim for out of pocket expenses such as travel. In theory you could take the matter to court but I would advise only do this where you have clear evidence that the establishment was aware of the occasion and there was significant inconvenience, otherwise it is very subjective and risky but yes of course I would and I would win!

Do try to find an alternative place to eat and evidence your attempts when complaining at the time and follow up. Remember a booking works both ways and whilst an establishment is in breach of contract if it fails to keep a booking it could, in theory, charge you for not keeping a booking!

Don't eat it and complain
Don’t eat it and complain

Unsatisfactory food
When it comes to unsatisfactory food or drink many of us, me included feel awkward complaining. Well, I never feel awkward complaining, more specifically I mean never knowing what someone may do to your food if you send it back! Before the many good restaurant, café and pub staff throw their arms up and say “Not me” we have all heard of stories where staff have spat on food and worse. Many have been on the media telling us what they do so it is a difficult decision. However, you must complain at the time to be taken seriously and to be able to follow up. Quote the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which entitles you to food and service that reflects the establishment. i.e. compare  a similar place serving similar food. You do have the choice of refusing a replacement course and deducting the price of the unsatisfactory item from your bill. If you are made to pay under protest complain in writing later and if possible write “Paid under protest” on the bill and take a photo of it. If you refuse to pay for anything and the establishment does not agree with you or wants to take the matter further you must leave contact details otherwise it could be considered theft!

Do not eat the food that you are complaining about.

Now most of us have our mobile ‘phones with us it is possible to take photographic evidence of food which can be used as evidence. Ensure that the photo clearly shows that it is from the establishment. You can of course, if technically savvy enough, get the location and date and time on it. Bear in mind that one person’s view of what is satisfactory may be very different to another, so be sure of your claim to redress.

You are legally entitled to not pay the service charge if service was poor. If the charge has been absorbed into the meal then you can deduct a reasonable amount e.g. 10%. Again, use the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which entitles you to services to be carried out with “reasonable skill and care”.

Here’s an example about complaining about poor service in a café.

Food poisoning
If you believe that you have received food poisoning from an establishment where you have eaten then contact your doctor immediately. Proving that the poisoning was caused by the trader may be difficult, obviously it is made easier if more than one of you was affected. Under the Food Act 1990 it is a criminal offence for a business to serve food unfit for human consumption. You should therefore also inform the local Environmental Health Department.

Depending on the severity of the illness and your out of pocket expenses (such as loss of earnings) you may want to take legal advice regarding how much compensation to which you are entitled. In the first instance you can write directly.

Personally, I object to paying for water. I am lucky to live in a developed country and therefore do not need to have bottled water. In addition I pay water rates therefore the water IS paid for! It is perfectly safe. People who drink bottled water for “health reasons” confuse me as there are no proven health benefits whatsoever. No independent research nothing. In fact many tests show that in a blind testing people prefer tap water too.

The reason for including this here is because licensing conditions came into force in April 2010 ensuring that pubs, clubs and bars are obliged to provide free water where reasonably available. Annoyingly this does not include restaurants. Ridiculous. However, it is illegal for a restaurant to try and pass tap water off as bottled water.

Tell us about your experiences eating out?

Top 20 Tips for complaining effectively.

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


And for more advice, tips, information and templates for complaining effectively GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!


7 Common Fob Offs that Companies Use to Not Give Refunds!

Many companies and individuals will try and fob you off in order not to give you a refund or redress. Below are some common ones of which you should be aware and know how to deal with.

Know the rules

“We do not give refunds” signs like this are illegal and you can report them to Trading Standards. Traders do not have to give you a refund if you have simply changed your mind about a purchase or the jumper didn’t fit for example, but if the item is faulty you are legally entitled to a full refund, (unless the fault was pointed out at time of purchase) until the time that you are deemed to have “accepted” the goods. “Accepted” is generally thought to be up to 4 weeks after that you are still entitled to a replacement or repair. If you put up a fight though you’ll usually get a refund, I always have!

“You/we will send it back to the manufacturer” Your contract is always with whoever received your money. If you buy a kettle from store A which was made by company B and that kettle stops working you are entitled to the repair, refund or replacement from company A.

“You will need to contact the delivery firm” That kettle you bought from store A was delivered to your house and the delivery driver dropped it, or left it on the doorstep and it was stolen. Store A is wrong to tell you to contact the delivery firm. Your contract is with store A and you claim your refund from it. It can claim from the delivery firm! More here.

“You should have taken out a warranty” Warranties are rarely worth the paper they are written on in my opinion! Items should last a reasonable length of time, a washing machine should last more than 6 months so it is wholly irrelevant whether you have taken out a warranty. So, even if your washing machine is a few years old you can still get that free repair or replacement.

“We don’t take back items bought in the sale” unless the fault was pointed out at time of purchase (and therefore contributed to the sale price) your legal rights remain the same as if the item was sold at full price.

“You caused the fault” If an item breaks up to 6 months from purchase then it is up to the trader to prove that the fault was caused by you and was not there at time of purchase and therefore you are legally entitled to the full refund.

“You don’t have the receipt so we can’t give a refund” the law states proof of purchase so this could be a credit card bill, easier to find online now than an old receipt.

“It is over 6 months so we do not need to give a refund” as a general rule this is correct but if you can still prove that the fault was there at point of purchase and/or the item has not lasted ‘a reasonable length of time’ then you can and should get a replacement or free repair if not the refund. More here.

Of course if you want to know even more about how to be assertive and expressing your legal rights when getting these fob offs buy the book!! 🙂