Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow
Helen Dewdney is The Complaining Cow fighting for consumer rights! Appearing on BBC Breakfast, The One Show, Rip Off Britain, ITV, Radios 2, 4, 5 and various local and national media, she advises on how to assert your legal rights and get the best redress you can. See the YouTube Channel for media clips too. Author of Amazon bestseller How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!
What is this complaining effectively?
I am a complainer and I thoroughly enjoy it! That does not mean I spend my time sitting around moaning about everything from my figure, through to the weather and the state of the economy. No, I complain positively and effectively! Is there such a thing? Yes. Ever been disgusted with service from a company or organisation but done nothing about it? Ever been annoyed by the way a customer services representative dealt with your complaint but you’ve not taken it further? Ever been appalled by the charges you have received for something that just wasn’t worth the money or shouldn’t have been charged in the first place? Ever wasted your time moaning about it to anyone who would listen but not done anything more? If your answer to any of the questions was yes but the last one was no then you are NOT complaining effectively you are moaning!
When I was at college as a “not very” mature student I recall a group of us sitting round a table and gossiping about another student and how she moaned about everything and was so negative. I said that to be fair I moaned quite a lot! But a friend turned to me and said “No Helen, when you complain it’s funny.” “..and you do it for good reason” piped up another.
Is complaining negative?
I don’t think it is, but some people clearly think that complaining is negative and nothing positive comes from it. I beg to differ and wrote a post about it on LinkedIn asking what was negative about all the good positive things that had come from my complaining and blog writing. To date, those that said nothing positive comes from complaining and being negative have yet to respond!
How is complaining positive?
I do something with my complaints. Local authority annoying me? I put in a Freedom of Information request. Shop sold me an item that has gone wrong and want to give me a replacement not a refund? I write and quote the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for faulty goods and poor services. Bank charging me unfairly? I threaten the Financial Ombudsman. Poor NHS treatment? I complain using their procedures and make changes for future patients. Even been known to the quote the little used Misrepresentation Act 1967 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Act 2008. What happens? I win. I think that is pretty positive and effective!
I’m not a lawyer! (I’m a freelance consultant children’s services, project management stuff with a bit of consumer advice thrown in). I’m bloody minded, assertive and I know my legal rights. That’s all it takes for you using these tips to get back something for the inconvenience and out of pocket expenses you incur when something goes wrong.
So this blog is all about complaining! So hopefully you’ll enjoy it and find it useful as I describe the various companies and organisations to which I have complained and made money. I won’t say no if you want to butter me up to write your complaint letter for you either!!!
(I do feel the need to put in an aside here though, that everyone needs a good moan and people who are always cheerful and never moan about anything are positively weird!) I’m sure I’ll add some non money generating complaints in as I go along too! I can smile too!
How it started the story of how the blog got started…
The Complaining Cow in the media
I have written for the Financial Times, Moneywise and is part of the Rip Off Britain consumer expert team. I appear on BBC Breakfast, Rip Off Britain, The One Show various BBC and ITV news programmes and regularly contribute to various national publications and BBC Radios 2, 4 and 5, such as The Jeremy Vine, Moneybox and You and Yours. For more see Moodia coverage and the showreel from 2016 below.
I also do this sort of stuff! See Case study: Tesco and a consumer champion From court to exclusive interview and more
In April 2016 I co authored, with Marcus Williamson, Ombudsman Omnishambles: Serious unresolved issues affecting the operation of the ombudsman ADR system in the UK and in February 2018 More Ombudsman Omnishambles: The UK ADR landscape 20 months on. These reports heavily criticised the approval and oversight of providers. More information on these reports can be found here.
In April 2016 I wrote a report outlining the whole story to date. It includes contradictions, results of Freedom of Information Requests I made to Government departments and Peterborough Trading Standards, London Fire Brigade statistics and recommendations, research and investigations. All in one place. Whirlpool. The Tumble dryer story without the spin
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