How to complain about buses

Complaining effectively 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.

How to complain about London buses

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.

How to complain about non London buses

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. 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 regarding buses

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 a complaint about buses

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!

Further help with complaining effectively

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

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!




101 Habits of an Effective complainer book cover with logo


Want to get better at complaining? See 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer





The Complaining Cow logo download templates


Save yourself time and effort finding the laws and wording a letter of complaint and download a template, fill in your details and get that redress

Purchase downloadable templates to gain redress

Holiday, flight and event complaint templates

The Complaining Cow newsletter

To keep up to date with consumer rights etc sign up to the newsletter:

Promise not to fill up your inbox with lots of rubbish on a regular basis! I don’t send them very often, but when I do it’s usually to tell you about changes in the law, updates and items of interest. So go on sign up you know you’re interested and I shall of course complain if you don’t!


Business Companies customer service Complaining about customer service

Everything you need 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 if faced with call centre problems?

I tend not to use call centres because they are generally so diabolical. I write.  It is better to have everything in writing anyway. Why you should write not ‘phone to complain effectively. Where the matter is not urgent 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.

Consumer rights and call centres

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. This includes financial institutions.

Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


20 Top tips for complaining effectively for more on complaining to always get success!

For more advice, laws, information and template letters GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!



101 Habits of an Effective complainer book cover with logo

101 Habits of an Effective Complainer provides you with more tips






Purchase downloadable templates to gain that redress simply and swiftly for various sectors



The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

Free download Customer Service 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals a few tweaks to your customer service can help you reduce the risk to your company’s reputation, finances and impact on customers and increase sales.

Customer Service how to turn customers into superfans raving about your products/services

The Complaining Cow Services

To see how The Complaining Cow can help you improve your customer service see Services.