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

  1. Mike Huiwitz says:

    That sucks. Everybody needs to exercise their rights.

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      YES!!! So pleased when come across people who also complain – need any help or want to encourage others look around the blog and buy the book 😉

  2. Suzy Stratton says:

    Please help, I am worn down dealing with Vodafone:
    My complaint was firstly about a faulty SIM, it has since been no 4G network and it is not a coverage / SIM issue as I have been many areas and the coverage is exactly the same and I have changed my SIM card 3 times.
    My husband is now on exactly the same contract and he gets 4G but when I am with him I do not get 4G.

    I have raised this to them on 25 calls and 3 “chat now” discussions, it has now been raised to the CEO and there is still no response from their customer relations team.

    I keep getting told (21 times) you are on the old system – there is no one here to talk with you I will schedule a call back within 48 hours – I have never heard back from any of these promised calls.

    I am now being told I am being charged two phone lines – my old plan fee and my new plan fee, and certain points they tried to give me for free due to the pain I have been through.
    It is now a bill of £257, I should only be paying for the phone this month £129, nothing else as I have not been getting the service which they are charging me for.

    I suffer from epilepsy and the stress of dealing with Vodafone has been stressing me out to an extreme amount – which is the biggest trigger for my seizures, I have explained this to the CEO and still no response.

    Please help I am coming to you as a last resort.

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      See Top Tips for complaining. Breach of Supply of Goods and services Act not providing services with reasonable skill and care. The book provides you with more details of the Acts of law this is breaking and template letters.

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