How to complain about buses




The Consumer Rights Act 2015 was applied to all travel from 1st October 2016. You are now entitled to services carried out with reasonable skill and care. If they are not then you should be able to gain redress.



When you complain, ensure you give as much detail as you can, times, dates, registration number of the bus, route number etc. Send copies of receipts/tickets etc. If the company insist that you send the original retain a copy.

London Transport for London and bus companies do not have a standard compensation policy for compensation for bus delays and won’t compensate for delays out of its control such as weather and traffic jams.

If you have any complaint about buses/bus drivers in London contact Transport for London. If you are dissatisfied with the response contact TravelWatch detailing why you remain unhappy. If you remain dissatisfied contact the Local Government Ombudsman.

Non London Outside of London complain directly to the bus company. If not happy with the response you can contact the Bus Appeals Body. You can also contact the Traffic Commissioner for the area in which the company is based. (There are 7 Traffic Commissioners who are appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport and their responsibility includes responsibility for the licensing of the operators of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and of buses and coaches (public service vehicles or PSVs) and the registration of local bus services.

The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland deals with both appeals against decisions by Scottish local authorities on taxi fares, with appeals against charging and removing improperly parked vehicles in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Other useful information
Bus companies must adhere to regulations laid by the Traffic Commissioner and the 3 rules of the CPC  (Certificate of Professional Competence) holder’s licence, these are:
1. Professional Conduct
2. Good Repute
3. Financial Standing (for alternative transport arrangements)

If companies fail in any of the above you can write to the Commissioner or if you feel that a bus/coach/limo is unsafe they can write to VOSA or any of the bodies named above.

Under The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (for public transport) you can ask for a certified copy of the vehicle MOT, COiF, (Certificate of Initial Fitness), Insurance documentation, the Driver Daily Check sheet with name redacted and public liability certificate. You may not get this but adds strength to your case.

Example of complaint
A colleague had problems with Stagecoach which operates the buses in Cambridge. One late evening Ed’s bus was prevented from following his route because a car had been abandoned on the busway. The driver did not contact the office and nothing was done to help the passengers. So I wrote an email to the CEO outlining the issue and saying that he had had to pay £20 for the taxi fare. The CEO said that they had staff on site at all times while vehicles are out, in case of emergencies and breakdowns. He said they have a 24hour contact number for drivers who for some reason cannot contact the depot which would then in turn contact the next level of management. He reimbursed the £20 taxi fare. (The financial standing mentioned above). I wanted Ed to email again and point out that as the driver did try to ring the office and got no answer it would appear that their “Tried and tested” processes have not been tested well enough but he didn’t!

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For more help, advice, laws, guidance, stories and templates get the book. How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Everything everyone needs to know about call centres


Common complaints about call centres
A few months ago I asked on my Facebook page what people hated about call centres and without doubt the top hates were:

  • speaking to people in different countries where communication was difficult
  • call centre staff go from a script
  • call centre staff hanging up on calls
  • music playing
  • refusal to give names
  • passing from one department to another
  • not knowing the answer to questions
  • refusal to pass you to someone senior
  • all the options before you get to speak to someone….

it would appear most of us don’t have a good word to say about call centres.

The inside information from call centre staff
Interestingly people who had worked in call centres gave some insight into why we get some of the problems. Here are some reasons for the problems above:

This isn’t all call centres but some of this information came from a member of staff from a very big well known company!

  • The call queues waiting times are specifically designed to be long enough to encourage you to ‘give up’. You will wait a designated ‘minimum time’ even if agents are available
  • Queue messages are designed to discourage you “you are 457th in the queue” or plainly tell you to go away “many common issues can be resolved by visiting our web site at” – and they will become increasingly discouraging as time passes
  • Response scripts are specifically designed to restrict what call handlers can do and, ideally, convert a call into a new sale. ‘Escalation’ paths for calls are specifically designed to delay or avoid resolution
  • Staff are given average call times
  • Passing the call on to another employee counts as a conclusion to the call (even when the caller is placed in another long queue elsewhere in the organisation)
  • The computer systems used are terrible since not all data is available since the call centre is not really the company you are calling.
  • The call centre staff are not trained to give you satisfaction but to simply get close to the required precentage success rates

What can you do?
I tend not to use call centres because they are generally so diabolical. I write. asons why writing is so much better than ‘phoning here. Where the matter is not urgent and this is a possibility I always advise writing. Be clear, concise and polite. Make sure you have all the details and list the issues. Ensure you include all your account details. If you do not get a satisfactory response write to the CEO. You can find email contact details at For most companies you can consider taking the matter to the relevant ombudsman, e.g. Energy Ombudsman, CISAS, Financial Ombudsman etc. You need to wait until 8 weeks after you start the complaint or request a “deadlock letter”. This is a letter from the company stating that they will not communicate further on the matter.

If you have to ring, be polite, get the name of the person you are speaking to as soon into the conversation as you can. Make a note of the start and finish times of calls, including the length of time you were on the phone. If the person keeps repeating what they are saying and it is of no help ask to speak to a supervisor, you may or may not get this but note everything down. Ask for them to send you confirmation on anything they have agreed, if possible whilst you are still on the ‘phone. Be clear and assertive (not aggressive) in what you want and provide deadlines for this. Under The Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to services to be carried out with reasonable skill and care. Leaving you on the ‘phone and not answering queries or providing you with the service you are paying for is a breach and tell them so. Asserting your legal rights often gets you taken more seriously and you are more likely to get the call escalated. Follow up all bad experiences with a call centre with a letter/email of complaint detailing the problems and the issues with the call (as well as your original complaint!) and assert your legal rights and you should find you get some redress!

A key point to note is that there is now a prohibition on not providing basic rate numbers for post-contract customer helplines. Where traders offer telephone helplines for consumers to contact them about something they have bought, there should be a number available on which the consumer can call for this purpose at no more than the basic rate. Financial services companies are not affected by this change. But, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is considering whether it could introduce similar measures for customers calling banks, insurance companies and investment brokers.

More tips here with more advice, laws, information and template letters in the book. I was quoted in an article in Glamour magazine (the irony!) with more advice here.

A Guide to The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (amended 2014)

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (updated Consumer Rights Directive) implemented the European Union-wide Directive 2005/29/EC concerning unfair commercial practices in the internal market. The Regulations replace much consumer protection legislation, including Part III of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (which dealt with misleading prices), the majority of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 (which it mainly repeals), and the Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations 1988. The Misrepresentation Act 1967 covers similar issues too.


For a practice to be unfair under these rules, they must harm, or be likely to harm, the economic interests of the average consumer. For example, when a shopper makes a purchasing decision he or she would not have made had he or she been given accurate information or not put under unfair pressure to do so.

The regulations prohibit trading practices that are unfair to consumers. There are four different types of practices covered:

A general ban – on conduct below a level which may be expected towards consumers (honest market practice/good faith).

Misleading practices a practice misleads through the information it contains, or its deceptive presentation, and causes, or is likely to cause, the average consumer to take a different transactional decision specifically; general misleading information, creating confusion with competitors’ products or failing to honour commitments made in a code of conduct.

Aggressive sales techniques using harassment, coercion or undue influence – significantly impairs, or is likely to significantly impair, the average consumer’s freedom of choice or conduct in relation to the product through the use of harassment, coercion or undue influence – and  thereby causes him to take a different transactional decision.

31 specific practices (that would be two long boring pages of  post! It is pretty thorough though and all of them are listed in the book).

If you think a financial advert or promotion is misleading, unfair or unclear, you can report it to the Financial Conduct Authority and/or the Advertising Standards Authority.

You are also covered regarding unfair contracts with the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Did you know about this Act? Were you still using old Acts? Find out more details of this other Acts and how to use them in the book.  Use the Tips when complaining using these Acts.