How To Be Beaten By Power Rangers

Blimey. I was on the telly! I got a ‘phone call on the morning of the 16th November. By that evening I was in a Holiday Inn in MediaCity Salford.

BBC Breakfast television contacted me. I’m on the BBC database from appearing on radio 5. Hope it wasn’t the BBC Crimewatch database! Maybe they saw this post! Apparently some survey was out saying that when people receive poor service they walk out. I hope public money didn’t pay for that survey! BBC sent a cab to get me to Euston. I have no sense of direction but even I knew he was going round a car park at one point! 4 u turns and a car park later I got to Euston, picked up the ticket, ran to the train, train chappie let me get on shut the door behind me and the train moved. That was lucky! Train was full of drunks, the rugby had been on or something. The cab driver wasn’t there to pick me up at Manchester and I had to telephone the BBC. Incidentally, it was very cold you know.

I woz
I woz ‘ere MediaCity

Going back was nearly as bad. Tell me, if you stayed at a Holiday Inn and there were taxis coming and going outside you would think your taxi would come to the doors too wouldn’t you? Apparently not, after 15 minutes of waiting I telephoned the BBC and said my cab had not arrived. Apparently the cab firm had ‘phoned me twice (they hadn’t). But get this, the cabs wait two minutes round the corner behind the building not even next to it! Give the cabbie his due, he put his foot down and I ran for the train, and again, just got it.

Now, think I should be letting the BBC know that Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 they are not getting services of a reasonable standard and should get some money back? Well it’s ours after all!

snap 4
Hair and make up by BBC. Result!

So after not sleeping at all, not being able to open the fridge (was very technical!) and not bringing shampoo, (fool) I was in the BBC make up room. Fabulous darling. Then chatted to Phil Barton the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign CEO. Interesting experiment  – “Which Side of the Fence nationwide social experiments” not cleaning one side of the street for 24 hours. Quite disgusting have a look at the Facebook page. Glad I had someone to talk to inbetween slots who was interesting!  Maconalds and other burger chains, clean up your act!

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK


So after telling the lovely make up lady that she had performed miracles in such a short time I was on with Tim Muffett and Naga Munchetty. Nice good looking couple. He told me he loved the title of my blog so we really like him don’t we?!

It was all over in a few minutes. Then out of the studio for a cuppa (clearly not awake had to get up 3 times to look for the milk which was right in front of me!) and more chatting with Phil. Then Professor of Strategy  at the Manchester Business School Manchester University, Gary Davies joined us. What a lovely man he is. Coincidentally he went to the same school as the other half! Small world. Agreed on everything customer service wise and then we were on.

The prof and me.

The prof and me.

This begs a caption around “It was this big”. However, what the Prof. was talking about was the Americans shouting and being in your face too much.  “I know Helen’s quite keen on the way things are done in America” he said. Hmmm, need to find where I’ve said that and delete it! I think expectations are higher and they complain more/better but I am agreeing with the Prof. here about when he was in a deserted store in America when a sales assistant shouted “How are we today”. Go away I’m British.


Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow & Professor Gary Davies BBC Breakfast TV Discuss Complaining

Well we were smiley! And no, I don’t know why these two videos are different sizes. They were cut from the same piece of film and I have tried different ratio thingies and gave up, so deal with it.
Now, personally I thought it was an enjoyable experience, the best part being hair and make up frankly. So many people who know me and those who don’t told me they

were surprised by how articulate I was and how well I presented! I’ve presented many many times (albeit not on telly!) been a key note speaker at conferences etc., So I don’t whether to take these comments as compliments or not! 🙂 Compliments about how I looked and how some people didn’t recognise me were certainly understandable! Mind you, a friend said “Nice make-up, hair and clothes!” The clothes were all mine! All mine I tell you!

However, the best comments came from a friend’s 4 year old. “How did Helen get in our telly?” and my 5 year old “Mummy was the best thing on television” Me “Even better than Power Rangers?” “No”.

So there you have it. One of the worst programmes on TV is better than me. I thank you and good night!

Credit BBC Breakfast TV for Pics and films.
Companies customer service Complaining about customer service Complaining about faulty goods

7 Questions you should ask yourself if you don’t complain!

It’s National Consumer week. A good time to ask “Why Complain?”

Because it’s fun! Well it can be. Nothing the British like more than a good complain. Or is it a moan? Well there’s the difference I feel. Complaining effectively gets results and it is about consumer rights. Your rights as a consumer.

I don’t waste time looking for things to complain about. I don’t waste time complaining about trivial things (oh ok sometimes just for a laugh but rarely) and I don’t make up complaints. So don’t accuse me of doing so.  I am effective complainer what type of complainer are you?

So, to those of you who accuse the complainers of wasting their life, making things up and only after freebies I ask you these questions.

1) If you have a bad meal do you just accept it?

You do? FOOL. You legally don’t have to accept it. Rather than causing a scene or complaining in writing later you think just putting it down to bad luck makes you better than the complainer? Really? I complain – I get a voucher and I go back. Win win situation for restaurant and me. Your way, you don’t go back, lose lose or is that just “LOSER”?!

2) If you buy something faulty do you keep it?

WHY?! Do you take it back and get a replacement when you don’t trust the product any more and you’d like to buy a different one but you accept it because you don’t want to assert your legal rights or perhaps you don’t know them? I buy something faulty I get my money back, buy what I want and get redress on top if I have been inconvenienced in anyway or if anything else has been damaged in the process of using the item. How is that wasting my time or not having a life? I’ve improved it. You are stuck with something you don’t want.

3) You say you don’t have time to complain?

No, I don’t really, but that’s why I claim for my time. Simples.

Only once have I ever thought I would rather not have had to complain. I let out my flat and about 3 years ago a washing machine leaked in the flat above. Twice! My tenant was basically without a usable kitchen for 18 months. I was lucky he didn’t leave. AVIVA staff were appalling as were the contractors to do the work. The printed off email correspondence was over an inch thick. I think I’d still be getting the work done now if I hadn’t had to complain nearly every day. I did get about £800 and I have no idea what that works out as an hourly rate, but even I would rather have just had good service!

Still want to insult the complainers? Need more convincing?

4) Don’t you want to improve things for other people? Are you selfish?

Many of my complaints have resulted in companies changing policies, the way they do things, retraining staff etc. That improves service to all. I am undertaking a public service I feel! Look at what Chris has achieved through his dreadful experience. Three years on and at last Scottish Provident is making changes. He continued his complaining even after eventually receiving redress. If you use life cover in the future with any company, you look at that article and thank him!

There are more examples of how complaining and spreading the word helps too!

5) Are you a person of principle?

Look at my taking Tesco to court. Now, some people think it was a poor return for the money. It was the principle of the thing!! They took my money! In fact the legal process was very quick, it was trying to sort it before that took the time! I’ve had lots of people say they had problems with the Tesco vouchers and they just let it go. Hopefully now, after raising the profile of consumer power people will come to me if it happens again this Christmas. Then, I’ll put the case together and they can all go as one case, time saved, money back. I wonder just how many people lost money last year and didn’t complain? Do you think that’s right? It’s okay for a large company to make money from people who can’t won’t complain? I flipping well don’t and you can call me all the names under the sun, I think I was right to do what I did.

Then there’s the hobby…

6) Can you enjoy it?

When I’m doing the actual complaining I’m frequently quite annoyed (hence as in my tips I rarely doing it in person) but I know I’ll get redress, often it’s of interest guesstimating how much I will get and whether I will be complaining again about their reply. So, call it a hobby, just like writing up my complaints on here is,(which incidentally is sharing experience and advice so helps people!) like any blog writer.

So, a hobby. Do you have a hobby? My hobby takes up a little time and costs me no money. I don’t do sport, it avoids sporting injuries. But I don’t have a go at people for their hobbies so don’t have a go at me for mine I say!

Still think I’m the fool for complaining?

7) Would you want people to have poor care?

My father was in hospital for 6 weeks just over two years ago before he died. The treatment he received was appalling. I didn’t want any family to go through what we did or any patient to endure what he did. At times like that people don’t want to complain. That is understandable and I get that, but I wanted to change things for other people. This wasn’t about asserting legal rights, getting money or anything like that. It was about making change happen. I wrote 8 pages of 48 bullet points about his care and a 2 page letter to go with the log. I received back a 7 page letter. This is copied from the letter they sent:

“In conclusion the following will or has been addressed:
Share the complaint with the ward
Review how pain control is managed including training
Review documentation
Arrange training on oral care
Ensure staff know the procedure on escalation if patient dependency is higher than staffing levels can manage
The requirement to inform relatives if a patient falls
Ensure staff work with patients/relatives to complete adult  assessment forms
Improve communication on the ward”

Often people say all they want is an apology. That is very true and we got a lot of sincere apologies in that letter too.


Other thoughts on complainers?

So, complainers don’t have a life? Are sad? Have too much time on their hands? You remember that when you have your bad meal, had to fork out for a bad service, are stuck with a faulty item and you are out of pocket for something. You remember that when you are able to get a decent life cover policy. You remember that when your Tesco vouchers work this year. You remember that when you have an elderly relative in a hospital in Somerset where the care was good. Perhaps it was because someone took the time to tell the powers that be of problems that they didn’t know about so they could put them right.

Still not convince complaining is a good thing?

So, who still thinks they are better for not complaining? Would love to hear your reasons for not doing any of the above that I and people like me have done. I love a good argument. Provide a good argument for not complaining in the way I do and I’ll publish it. (But don’t think I won’t argue with you!) Alternatively, join in sharing your successes, that’s what I like to see!

Help with complaining effectively


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Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK

5 top tips for complaining effectively