public figures interview series

The complaining habits of public figures – Tim Johns

A series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

In my series of interviews with people in the public eye regarding their complaining habits, today is the turn of Tim Johns producer/reporter on the Jeremy Vine show.

Tim Johns outside BBC Building

Tim John’s complaining habits

1) Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?
Unless the fault is pretty serious I probably wouldn’t complain. I’d send it back, sure, ask for a refund or a replacement, but I probably wouldn’t additionally make my annoyance known.

2) How much does the likely redress have to be before you will
complain and why?
I’d say ‘significant’. There needs to be a relatively serious problem before I engage in complaining because. To be frank I normally can’t be bothered! I’m not going to throw money away so if I’ve clearly been ‘wronged’ and can claim back what I’m due I will. But I don’t complain ‘speculatively’, frequently, or for very small sums.

3) How well do you know your legal rights (Consumer Rights Act, different sectors regulations etc.)
I’d don’t know them very well off by heart. However I would say that if I feel I’ve got a poor product of have had poor service and I do intend to complain, I’ll get clued up on my legal rights before I do register a complaint.

4) If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback?
I do! I actually do this more often than I complain. I do think people are pre-programmed to moan about about products and services more often than they praise them. I might praise companies on social media, on TripAdvisor, by giving it a good review on Amazon, or perhaps more often I’ll send a personal email. For example last year I praised the train company I commute on. I thought that, all things considered, they’d actually got me to work most of the time in a pretty efficient way and given the absolute heap of complaints they must (often rightly) receive, it would be nice for their staff to read something positive.
Also some family-members were in a nasty car crash recently but saved by the car and the airbags. I messaged my thanks to the car manufacturer and they passed it on to the department who design the safety features.

5) If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include
your social media followers too!)
It depends how poor it is. I try to strictly limit ‘publicly complaining’ on Twitter. I have a fair few followers and I think with that comes some responsibility not to abuse it. Wild accusations against small companies on social media can be quite damaging to them. Equally, I think it can look pompous and self-important to try to leverage customer service ‘just because you have a lot of followers’.
However, when customer service is truly woeful it can be irresistible. For example after a huge drama with a hire car company, and after getting no-where by phone/email I tweeted them publicly and got a far better response by DM.
I guess like most people I whinge to friends about poor service in general.

6) If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
Not enough! I think ‘good’ service for most of us is what we expect. So it probably takes something or someone to go over and above, to be exceptional, before I start telling other people about it.

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?
Life is busy and normally I’d rather be doing other things. In part I also probably feel a bit awkward about it. I’d rather not cause a fuss, you know?

8) What do you think of using social media to complain?
Ah – see #5

9) Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when deciding where to purchase an item?
Yes. I would be a repeat customer to a company which I’ve noticed has particular good customer service, a quibble-free returns service and a compensatory attitude to complaints.

10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
I never have.

11) If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator)
or gone to Small Claims Court tell us about it

I haven’t…

Tim Johns outside BBC building

About Tim Johns

Tim Johns is a producer and reporter with the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2, a weekday lunchtime current affairs programme reaching seven million adults in the UK.


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

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!


Companies customer service Complaining about faulty goods Food from shops, hotels, restaurants & deliveries

Tesco insect in raspberries!

How to complain about things in your food

Insect in Tesco raspberries

Time for a Tesco complaint story. Well would be a shame not to wouldn’t it? For those new here see History with Tesco!

So, there I was down at my Mum’s and she bought some raspberries and cream. She did this little shriek when she nearly put some sort of flying insect thing in her mouth ‘cos it was stuck on a raspberry. Now, given that I once found an insect in Tesco rice a few years back and how Tesco dealt with it – I refused to take back to the store as not knowing if it would get “lost” in the post. Anyway, I sent it for them to investigate and they found out what insect it was and gave me £30 for my trouble. This was in Clarke’s day and I wondered if things had changed.

Contacting the Tesco CEO

Now, having met Dave Lewis the group CEO a few times including interviewing him last year I thought I’d email him. Normally I wouldn’t expect a CEO to respond directly but I thought well he knows me and I’ll use my normal humour and see if it makes him smile.

See if it does you?


Before your time at Tesco I bought some rice from Tesco with an insect alive in it. I named him Phillip. Insect in rice.

But now there’s big trouble because I’m down at my Mum’s and she bought some raspberries from Tesco. (Taunton). Raspberries and cream we had and she just stopped short of putting some in her mouth as some thing very big with lots of wiggily wriggly legs crawled out of a raspberry. It may have had wings but there was a bit of a cream crust so can’t be sure. Was hoping to film him crawling but my mother suffocated him with some Tesco finest clotted cream. Not a bad way for Mike to go I suppose but even so Tesco has upset my Mum now and so, well, that has to be at least an email to the CEO obviously! She was very cross which means I am. But I won’t bother with the stuff that I usually put in these things regarding legal stuff and redress because I trust you to do right by my mum!

I have Mike ready to post to Tesco for testing to see what it was and where it came from. If he has wings we may need to change the name to Saint Michael.

Happy Easter

Kind regards

Tesco response to the complaint

Well we thought it was funny. I’d normally do the kind of email that always gets results regarding Consumer Rights Act 2015 etc etc. But got the usual email from the executive office. They took a long time getting back to me with no reference to the story. Miserable whatsits. They told the supplier but didn’t want the raspberries to check what it was. They gave my mum £20.

Well my Mum was pleased….

Tesco Group CEO email or Tesco UK CEO contact details  should you need them.

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


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