public figures interview series

The complaining habits of public figures – Paul Lewis financial journalist

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 finance journalist Paul Lewis. Are your habits similar?

Paul LewisPaul Lewis’ complaining habits

1)  Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?
Yes if I think it will result in anything useful.

2)   How much does the likely redress have to be before you will
complain and why?

It’s more a case of how cross I am about it and the chances of success.

3)   How well do you know your legal rights (Consumer Rights Act, different sectors regulations etc.)
Fairly well

4)      If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback?


5)      If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include
your social media followers too!)

If it’s very bad I tweet about it so 113,000! Otherwise just family

6)      If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
Family otherwise it looks like advertising!

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?

The bang has to be worth the buck..

8)      What do you think of using social media to complain?
It is a good idea., it gets the complaint to a wide audience and may result in change.

9)      Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when
deciding where to purchase an item

In the sense that I prefer to buy from UK or use a credit card, yes.

10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
I never have but I recommend it as a technique if a complaint is being blocked.

11)   If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator)
or gone to Small Claims Court tell us about it
No I haven’t.

About Paul Lewis

Paul Lewis has been a freelance financial journalist since 1986.

He has presented Money Box on Radio 4 since 2000 and appears on many radio and television programmes. He writes for Saga Magazine, Radio Times, Financial Times, and Money Marketing.

He has won many awards since 1986. Most recently he has won many awards. Headline Money Financial Broadcaster of the Year 2017 and voted Consumer Champion 2017 by the Chartered Insurance Institute. In 2018 he was the Kames Capital broadcast journalist of the year.

He has an honorary doctorate from University of Essex for his journalism over many years defending the interests of consumers.

He is an authority on the Victorian writer Wilkie Collins and edits his letters.

Online:, blog and has more than 113,000 Twitter followers @paullewismoney

Help with your complaints

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


If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! See Paul Lewis’ review of the book too!



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Complaining about customer service Complaining about faulty goods

Why you suck at gaining redress (and what to do about it)

So, you got poor service at the restaurant and didn’t complain or if you did complain you didn’t gain redress. You bought an item that’s faulty but didn’t get a refund. Why? What’s going on? How can you get that to which you are entitled?!

You need the adjustment

1) Your expectations are too low

You think that the item was cheap so what do you expect? You think the meal you had at that place last time was bad so you aren’t surprised when it is again. If a kettle was bought to boil water it should boil water. Simple! If you buy a meal it should be made with reasonable skill and care. If you had a bad meal there last time you should have complained and maybe things would have improved!

2) You don’t know your legal rights

The main one you need to know is The Consumer Rights Act 2015.  Items should be of satisfactory quality, be fit for purpose, be as described and last a reasonable length of time.

3) You think it will take too much time and effort

Going back to the shop arguing about refunds. Well, if you know your legal rights you won’t be arguing you’ll be assertive and if you still don’t gain redress you can take the matter further by which time you will be asking for more than a refund.

4) You shout at people on the ‘phone or in person.

Would you give me what I wanted if I yelled at you? Think, be polite particularly as often the person or people at fault aren’t usually the people to whom you complain. And in any case it is always better to write not ‘phone to complain effectively.

5) You’ve gone back to the wrong shop!

Yes I have heard of this being done, frequently! Check your facts first.

6) You think that because you have lost the receipt that you can’t get your money back

Wrong. You just need proof of purchase such as a credit card bill.

7) You don’t like complaining and aren’t assertive.

Fair enough, but seriously? You’d rather be out of pocket? If you are in the right you have nothing to worry about! And you can and should write, not do in person where possible anyway! See above!

8) You are complaining about something trivial and you aren’t out of pocket

There is a difference between complaining about 69p because it is the principle of the thing and complaining that you don’t like the colour of the carpet.

So, get out there and complain when something goes wrong! Much more at Top 20 Tips for effective complaining

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 information, tips, advice, guidance, consumer rights and templates see GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!



101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo


How to get better at complaining! 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer

5 top tips for complaining effectively