The complaining habits of public figures – Andy Webb

A series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

In my series of interviews with people in the consumer world regarding their complaining habits, today is the turn of Andy Webb Be Clever With Your Cash and presenter.

Andy Webb headshot

Andy Webb’s complaining habits

1) Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?
Yes absolutely. If something isn’t up to scratch I’ll want a replacement or my money back.

2) How much does the likely redress have to be before you will complain and why?
I won’t complain about a few pennies, but often it’s the principle and not the money that’s the motivation behind any complaint I make. I hate that companies so often get away with bad service, or worse blatant rip-offs, knowing most customers will just shrug it off or are too embarrassed to make a scene. So I’ll make a stand in most cases in the hope whatever went wrong is sorted and won’t happen to others.

3) How well do you know your legal rights (Consumer Rights Act, different sectors regulations etc.)
Hopefully I’m reasonably well versed. But rules and regulations do change a fair bit so I’ll double check if I need to address something significant. Otherwise I’ll wing it based on what I (think) I know.

4) If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback? How?
You know what, not as much as I’d like. You get a lot of these email surveys after a call now and if someone has gone above and beyond then I’ll give them a really good rating. If it’s face to face, which is rarer and rarer these days, then I’ll make sure they know I appreciate it. This is a lot easier when eating out where I can tip.

5) If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include your social media followers too!)
I’m writing this on a train. The thing is I should have been on a a different train more than an hour ago. But if I ranted about every delayed or cancelled train that would be my whole Twitter feed. I tend instead to include these stories in articles on Be Clever With Your Cash, either as examples of companies to avoid, or to demonstrate why it can be worth following through on complaints.  (See How to complain about train journeys (or the lack of them! for how to do this).

6) If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
Again, if I’d had good customer service I’m more likely to recommend it to my readers and viewers – as long as it’s also good value for money. If something is spectacular I’ll tweet about it too.

7) If you don’t really complain or it has to be a significant amount in question before you will, what stops you from complaining?
I will complain about most things! But I do weigh up what my time is worth. Last night I took a prebooked taxi from a station to a hotel ahead of some filming today. I’d been told by the production company that it was prepaid too, but the driver asked me to pay. I’d been travelling for six hours and it was late and since the fare was only a fiver I decided it was better just to pay and get to sleep!

8) What do you think of using social media to complain?
It can work wonders. Not only does it not take long, it can help my followers know who’s good and who’s bad. Of course it helps if you’ve got a profile that says you’re a money expert on the telly! Saying that I’ve not done it much. A few years ago I got £20 of Shake Shake vouchers after tweeting a picture of the sorry looking ice cream I received  and what it should have looked like.

9) Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when deciding where to purchase an item?
Sometimes. I won’t shop at retailers like Sports Direct where refunds are only given as store credit (though that’s not the only reason I avoid Mike Ashley owned shops!) (That is only for change of mind where there is no legal obligation for a retailer to refund at all). I’ll also gravitate to John Lewis for things like electronics and tech thanks to the extended warranty you get for free on purchase – though the dept store isn’t as good as it used to be.

10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
No, I’ve never got to this point. I’ll always try to address it further down the chain, politely of course, and this has always brought me the result I want – though this can sometimes be a frustratingly long wait.

11) If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator) or gone to Small Claims Court tell us about it
Again, not yet. And fingers crossed I won’t have to. I try to mitigate against it getting to this stage by choosing the services I use with the best record. However I do worry when using tradesmen where I don’t have any knowledge, and it seems there’s little regulation, that this could happen.

Read about the interviewing habits of other public figures in the series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

About Andy Webb

Andy Webb is a money expert who is a presenter on Channel 5’s consumer series Shop Smart Save Money and runs his award-winning blog Be Clever With Your Cash. He also writes the monthly money column for Reader’s Digest. His most successful ever complaint landed him almost free broadband for a year, though he’d rather have had broadband that worked.
@andyclevercash on Twitter Be Clever with Your Cash Facebook page.

headshot Andy Webb financial journalist and bloggerRead about the interviewing habits of other public figures in the series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

Help with your complaints

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Don’t get blue this Monday, get away from it all…

How to save money with every part of your holiday planning and taking

Holiday companies use Blue Monday for marketing – here’s how to turn the tables and make it sunny for you and for your wallet!

couple on beach sunset

Blue Monday is the third Monday in the first month of the year, falling this year on 15 January… It is claimed by some to be the most depressing day of the year. The term was coined by Cardiff University lecturer, Dr Cliff Arnall, in 2005, when he “scientifically calculated” a formula for a press release for Sky Travel. (See this Guardian article for more information)

Why depressing? Well, it’s cold, we’ve had a nice few days off over Christmas but we haven’t been paid yet and the credit card bills are starting to come in now. Our New Year resolutions are already failing… What can we do? How about getting away from it all or at least thinking about a future holiday?

Holiday companies will clamour to use this “special” day once again to boost their “deals”. So, for the 15th January, some expert money bloggers and I have joined forces to give you 15 tips on saving money when booking that holiday! We look at turning the tables and playing the travel companies at their own game, so you can save money when you book your trip away. Good huh?

sun setting over water consumer rights, ways to shop around, discounts, alternatives, thinking beyond and searching

Your rights when booking a holiday

1) I’ll kick off, as you would expect, with your consumer rights. “You have numerous consumer rights to cover you when booking your holiday and for when you are on holiday.  Be aware of them when booking. For example, if you feel that you have made a purchasing decision that you wouldn’t have made had you been given accurate information (such as a misleading price) you may be able to claim a refund under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008”.  There is also the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 of which you should be aware. These give you lots of rights regarding any changes that the company may make, amongst other things!” From the 1st July 2018 use Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements.

Choosing dates and shopping around when choosing a holiday

2) The Money Whisperer, Emma Maslin says “If you are looking for popular times e.g. school holidays for package holidays, it maybe best to book ahead but if you can be more flexible, wait until closer to the date for the best last-minute deals. We’re going to the same island we went to last year but booked ahead this time. We booked just 7 days before last year and it was over £200 cheaper per person. This year, it might not be a last minute option – that’s the risk you take. But if you are flexible and can go elsewhere or fly a different day to save money, then it pays to look around.”

3) Fiona Hawkes from Savvy in Somerset has found that booking accommodation and flights separately has always been cheaper than a package. She also advises looking round at all the various websites that do this for you, as some will also offer free cancellation or low cost cancellation cover for accommodation.

4) “Haggle!” implores blogger Emma Drew.  “We have haggled between Disney and Virgin Holidays for a cruise. Virgin Holidays were selling it for more than Disney, so we went armed with the info and got them to match Disney and throw some on board credit in! Add that to shopping around for flights with sites like SkySkanner where you can find flights cheaper than going direct.”

Get discounts on holidays

5) “Try it on!” Catherine Morgan Financial Money Coach cheekily encourages. “Say you are on your honeymoon or it’s a wedding anniversary, sometimes it works!  Be a bit savvy too. We saved a mint last year when we booked a TUI week away to Kos. We contacted the hotel directly and paid them £100 and got an upgrade with a swim up room. Thomson wanted to charge us £700 extra for the same!”

6) Mrs Mummy Penny, Lynn James, suggests thinking of your friends and family who work for a travel company or hotel. Maybe they have a friends and family offer code they can give you? One of her friends is a concierge at Aria in Las Vegas and can always find her a deal. Often it makes it cheaper than package deals.

7) “Use cashback!” exclaims Emma Bradley of Mums Savvy Savings “Look for discount codes and then use sites like Topcashback* which will give you money straight back into your account too. I saved about £150 from doing this last year.” (I got about £70 from Thomson last Summer too.

Thinking ahead planning a holiday

8) Faith Archer from Much More with Less cuts food costs while away by booking somewhere to stay with self-catering facilities. “Even the odd breakfast in your room or packed lunch can save cash compared to eating out for every meal!”, she says.

9) Andy Webb from Be Clever With Your Cash advises booking car hire far in advance for the lowest prices “AND make sure the car is big enough! It will only cost a few quid more to get a bigger car when booking, but can be hundreds if you have to upgrade at the check-in desk! Shop around for the car hire, looking direct as well various comparison sites. Plus, if the excess waiver isn’t included don’t buy it from the car rental company. You can get policies for a few quid elsewhere that’ll cover you for damage to the car. Make sure you are comparing like for like inclusive totals.”

10) Buy your travel insurance the day you buy your holiday in case you need it before you go! “But also think about how you are going to buy it. Shop around as it will nearly always be cheaper than the one you get offered with a package. And look at all the group (e.g. group, couple, family) options however your group is made up” says William Pointing from Great Deals Made Easy.

Alternatives to the usual booking routes

11) Hollie Gregersen from ThriftyMum recommends house sitting or pet sitting! “There are a number of websites that provide details of homes you can stay at providing affordable options for holidays in the UK and abroad, including house swaps”. How to prevent problems when booking a holiday let (plus what to do when things go wrong)

Saving money getting to your holiday destination

12) Pete Chatfield from Household Money Saving suggests taking a coach if travelling in Europe and saving a fortune.

13) A Thrifty Fox blogger Emily Rowley considers stopover flights; if flying long haul you could save hundreds by planning a break in your journey (tie in with meals if it makes it more bearable!)

14) Joseph Seager of A Thrifty Chap tries to be flexible when booking. Midweek is nearly always cheaper than a weekend. So are less sociable hour flight times. You can save by flying from other airports too, but make sure to factor in different travel to airport/parking/stay costs for your final comparison.

What you need to know before you click submit on a holiday booking!

15) Above all, if you go back to a website, clear your cookies first. The travel website will put that price up if it knows you’ve looked at that holiday before!

For everything you need to know about your rights when booking, during and after, your holiday see All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights for lots of different rights and what you should do when and how.

 

For even more information, advice, tips, your consumer rights and template letters for most sectors GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!