ADR Ombudsman Companies customer service Legal Action Property

How to prevent & complain about property related issues

Buying a home? You’ll probably need estate agents, surveyors and removal companies. Or if you’re improving your home you might be engaging the services of builders, painter and decorators and more. So how best to reduce the stress and likelihood of problems? And what to do if things do go wrong?

Below are various posts to help.

Estate agents

What you need to know when using an estate agent how best to choose an estate agent

How to protect yourself when using an estate agent be prepared


How to take charge of your home removal all you need to know about choosing the right firm and what to do if there is an issue

Home Improvement

How to build confidence in your home improvement project detailed post about how to plan a building project to avoid pitfalls

Ask the Chief Ombudsman: Furniture & Home Improvement provides advice

5 Top Tips to prevent builders/painters/decorators problems prevent problems

6 Top Tips for problems with builders/ painters & decorators what to do if things have gone wrong

How to ensure a stress-free building project previously published in Moneywise comprehensive article


How to complain about your noisy neighbours! what to do if you can’t sort it amicably

How to complain about your neighbour’s trees and hedges!your rights and what you can and can’t do.

Further help with complaining effectively


Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo


For masses of information, tips, guidance, laws and regulations 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





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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


Property and home improvements complaint templates


If, after hours of reading that little lot you still need help then please see How The Complaining Cow can complain for you!


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Business Good customer service

How to revitalise towns

derelict shops

There is always lots of talk about how to revitalise our High Streets and towns, but who actually asks consumers what they want?

I do.

As a consumer champion I hear exactly what consumers want. When I ask consumers what they would like to see in the High Street, there are two issues that come through loud and clear every time:

Parking to shop

Consumers are fed up with having to pay over the odds for parking. Around the country where councils have made parking free for 2 hours, footfall has increased. A classic response from one shopper was “Needs to follow what retail parks have done to see where customer appetites are. Having a large open plan purpose built parking area instead of 23 stupid different car parks that you need to drive around before you can see if there is a space then reverse out and follow a one way system back to try again elsewhere.” People with disabilities often get forgotten too. Towns and cities offering mobility scooters are not helping people keep their mobility or independence. Consideration should be given to making spaces available at key points.

The High Streets Task Force recognises the importance of parking to revitalising our shopping areas but there is still much to do to get the right evidence and deliver what consumers want.

Independent businesses

Over and over again consumers say they want market stalls to fill the space in the large empty stores. This can be done by reducing the rents to allow the smaller businesses in. Councils need to provide incentives for local and independent businesses. The pandemic has shown that people want to shop locally and they want to support independent shops but it is often so difficult, especially with companies like Amazon able to undercut.

Consumers also want to see an increase of shops that “actually sell stuff”. This means a reduction in the betting shops, estate agents and more than one store selling the same thing. Bring back the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. Literally! Councils need to purchase empty buildings and turn them into exciting places and opportunities for local businesses and residents.

Creativity in our town planning

Companies have found that flexibility in working is now saving costs, so they won’t be rushing to get staff back in and certainly not if they can’t do it safely. Even if they did this alone, it is not enough to stimulate the town centres and High Streets. Empty shops and just talk of lower rent and rates with better parking will not populate those spaces not filled by vaping stores, betting shops or tanning booths. So, we need to be creative. There’s a difference between a run-of-the-mill project manager working creatively and a creative person working creatively. The creative person can bring a whole wealth of knowledge, skills, imagination, inspiration, experience and vision to the table.

Someone with project management experience is certainly needed. But not a retail background. An experienced individual with an arts background, for example, who will bring a whole new and fresh approach to the locality. Many will already be experienced in truly working in partnership with other organisations and are effective when working with limited resources! They will bring in community groups from which great things grow, so as to bring in custom in a whole new way. The very basic and most obvious is, of course, the community cafes and the work that goes on in them, and different pop up stalls each month, but there is so much more that could be done.

Shopping and community go together

People are attracted to meeting and being with more of their community, doing a variety of things. Now more than ever: Organise a flash mob, the local theatre group putting something on, an artist in residence, children’s entertainers, a workshop to learn something new. Dragging the kids shopping can be a difficult experience! How much easier would it be to have activities that they can join in? This gives a reason for the children to go too.

Working innovatively with these community, voluntary and small creative businesses, such as being able to raise their profile, recruit and sell, would be a “win-win” for all.

Town centres could and should be at the heart of a community, whilst many high streets are currently soulless and lacking imagination.

Covid has brought a variety of obstacles for the local community group struggling to navigate the mitigation indoors and with hire charges and participant conundrums etc. Creative industries have been as hard hit, if not more so than the High Street, so why not bring them together? The high street is a place where councils can step up and help bring together many different organisations and a large cross section of the community with the correct creative strategy and understanding.

Put a creative in charge not a town planner! Radical? Not really. It makes perfect logical sense.

For some innovative and creative ways to revitalise our High Streets and shopping centres see The Art of reviving the great British High Street

Woman in hat painting on a wall