7 Questions you should ask yourself if you don’t complain!

It’s National Consumer week. A good time to ask “Why Complain?”

Because it’s fun! Well it can be. Nothing the British like more than a good complain. Or is it a moan? Well there’s the difference I feel. Complaining effectively gets results and it is about consumer rights. Your rights as a consumer.

I don’t waste time looking for things to complain about. I don’t waste time complaining about trivial things (oh ok sometimes just for a laugh but rarely) and I don’t make up complaints. So don’t accuse me of doing so.  I am effective complainer what type of complainer are you?

So, to those of you who accuse the complainers of wasting their life, making things up and only after freebies I ask you these questions.

1) If you have a bad meal do you just accept it?

You do? FOOL. You legally don’t have to accept it. Rather than causing a scene or complaining in writing later you think just putting it down to bad luck makes you better than the complainer? Really? I complain -- I get a voucher and I go back. Win win situation for restaurant and me. Your way, you don’t go back, lose lose or is that just “LOSER”?!

2) If you buy something faulty do you keep it?

WHY?! Do you take it back and get a replacement when you don’t trust the product any more and you’d like to buy a different one but you accept it because you don’t want to assert your legal rights or perhaps you don’t know them? I buy something faulty I get my money back, buy what I want and get redress on top if I have been inconvenienced in anyway or if anything else has been damaged in the process of using the item. How is that wasting my time or not having a life? I’ve improved it. You are stuck with something you don’t want.

3) You say you don’t have time to complain?

No, I don’t really, but that’s why I claim for my time. Simples.

Only once have I ever thought I would rather not have had to complain. I let out my flat and about 3 years ago a washing machine leaked in the flat above. Twice! My tenant was basically without a usable kitchen for 18 months. I was lucky he didn’t leave. AVIVA staff were appalling as were the contractors to do the work. The printed off email correspondence was over an inch thick. I think I’d still be getting the work done now if I hadn’t had to complain nearly every day. I did get about £800 and I have no idea what that works out as an hourly rate, but even I would rather have just had good service!

Still want to insult the complainers? Need more convincing?

4) Don’t you want to improve things for other people? Are you selfish?

Many of my complaints have resulted in companies changing policies, the way they do things, retraining staff etc. That improves service to all. I am undertaking a public service I feel! Look at what Chris has achieved through his dreadful experience. Three years on and at last Scottish Provident is making changes. He continued his complaining even after eventually receiving redress. If you use life cover in the future with any company, you look at that article and thank him!

There are more examples of how complaining and spreading the word helps too!

5) Are you a man/woman of principle?

Look at my taking Tesco to court. Now, some people think it was a poor return for the money. It was the principle of the thing!! They took my money! In fact the legal process was very quick, it was trying to sort it before that took the time! I’ve had lots of people say they had problems with the Tesco vouchers and they just let it go. Hopefully now, after raising the profile of consumer power people will come to me if it happens again this Christmas. Then, I’ll put the case together and they can all go as one case, time saved, money back. I wonder just how many people lost money last year and didn’t complain? Do you think that’s right? It’s okay for a large company to make money from people who can’t won’t complain? I flipping well don’t and you can call me all the names under the sun, I think I was right to do what I did.

Then there’s the hobby…

6) Can you enjoy it?

When I’m doing the actual complaining I’m frequently quite annoyed (hence as in my tips I rarely doing it in person) but I know I’ll get redress, often it’s of interest guesstimating how much I will get and whether I will be complaining again about their reply. So, call it a hobby, just like writing up my complaints on here is,(which incidentally is sharing experience and advice so helps people!) like any blog writer. So, a hobby. Do you have a hobby? My hobby takes up a little time and costs me no money. I don’t do sport, it avoids sporting injuries. But I don’t have a go at people for their hobbies so don’t have a go at me for mine I say!

Still think I’m the fool for complaining?

7) Would you want people to have poor care?

My father was in hospital for 6 weeks just over two years ago before he died. The treatment he received was appalling. I didn’t want any family to go through what we did or any patient to endure what he did. At times like that people don’t want to complain. That is understandable and I get that, but I wanted to change things for other people. This wasn’t about asserting legal rights, getting money or anything like that. It was about making change happen. I wrote 8 pages of 48 bullet points about his care and a 2 page letter to go with the log. I received back a 7 page letter. This is copied from the letter they sent:

“In conclusion the following will or has been addressed:
Share the complaint with the ward
Review how pain control is managed including training
Review documentation
Arrange training on oral care
Ensure staff know the procedure on escalation if patient dependency is higher than staffing levels can manage
The requirement to inform relatives if a patient falls
Ensure staff work with patients/relatives to complete adult  assessment forms
Improve communication on the ward”

Often people say all they want is an apology. That is very true and we got a lot of sincere apologies in that letter too.

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So, complainers don’t have a life? Are sad? Have too much time on their hands? You remember that when you have your bad meal, had to fork out for a bad service, are stuck with a faulty item and you are out of pocket for something. You remember that when you are able to get a decent life cover policy. You remember that when your Tesco vouchers work this year. You remember that when you have an elderly relative in a hospital in Somerset where the care was good. Perhaps it was because someone took the time to tell the powers that be of problems that they didn’t know about so they could put them right.

So, who still thinks they are better for not complaining? Would love to hear your reasons for not doing any of the above that I and people like me have done. I love a good argument. Provide a good argument for not complaining in the way I do and I’ll publish it. (But don’t think I won’t argue with you!) Alternatively, join in sharing your successes, that’s what I like to see!

Top 20 Tips for 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!

 

Need help? GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK

Top five tips to getting your money back after poor customer service | ITV News

 

Smart Car not smart enough for this Cow! Gaining redress for faulty new car)

Mooooooooving on

Last year this mob annoyed me. Why? Because they annoyed my mother. You know how it is, it’s bad enough when someone annoys you but when they start on your family, well that’s it isn’t it really? So, after listening to my mother moan about it for ten minutes (so therefore two minutes too long, you know how it is) I told her to give me the details in an email and I would deal with it. I knew this was going to be a hard one. Cars are a difficult one, it’s very hard to prove faults and well, it’s hard! But I’m The Complaining Cow, so I complained.

Earlier that year she had bought a Smart car. A couple of months later my brother noticed that the front near side tyre was flat. (The car hadn’t been driven for a while because my father had been seriously ill). She therefore called Smart Assistance who sent someone out for recovery. A garage repaired what appeared to have been a slow puncture. The repair had cost £12.00.

A couple of months later my mother went to drive the car and the battery (original battery) was flat. Again, she telephoned Smart Assistance. The battery was put on charge and she was told that everything was fine and to leave the engine running for 20 minutes. She then went out in the car to a local garden centre. She went back to her parked car after three quarters of an hour to find the battery flat. She ‘phoned Smart Assistance once again who again sent out a recovery vehicle. The man said luckily he had a smart battery that was suitable in the van. So he replaced the battery and charged her £53.00. (I know, disgraceful huh?) She then telephoned Mercedes Taunton and explained what had happened and asked if it was under the warranty I don’t much care much for warranties. I prefer the Law. My mother was entitled to a full refund as the car was sold as satisfactory and in good running order. It was not. I believed that Mercedes was therefore in breach of the Sale of Goods Act 1994 again so a full refund is what she would get! Now you would need to quote The Consumer Rights Act 2015 for purchases made prior to 01 October 2015.

Later they phoned back to say that Head Office, as a goodwill gesture would give her back half of the amount, they refunded £26.50.

Since then the car had been running well until a month later. My mother drove the car 6 days previously, but then the battery was flat. She ‘phoned Smart Assistance yet again. (Oh poo, only just realised that I should have been claiming for ‘phone calls!) He found the battery to be faulty. He tested everything including the alternator etc. He said she would have to take the car back to Exeter which was ridiculous. (It’s about an hour away from Taunton). He then drove her to Mercedes Taunton after charging the battery. She spoke to someone and they said they’d call the following day. They didn’t and she had to ‘phone them. I know, dreadful! Anyway, she was told that there had been a problem and that the battery was not only faulty but their suppliers had sent a wrong battery to replace it, and could she should ‘phone the following day.

My mother was told that they hoped the right battery would be in by Monday 21st and that it would cost her £147.00 and she could come and pick the car up.No smart customer service at Smart car!

It was at this point I stuck my hooves in….

So I complained. A lot. I didn’t want her to:

  1. have to go and get the car,
  2. pay for the puncture repair,
  3. pay for the faulty battery,

pay for the new battery and I wanted her to be refunded fully for the first one, oh and something for the inconvenience of course!

We wanted to return the vehicle for a full refund. I knew this was never going to happen, but here’s a tip, always always go for more than you want. That way they can come down thinking they have won something and you get what you want!

The Manager offered to return the car when the battery was done at just the cost she had had refunded! i.e. she would still have to pay the full cost of the battery! So she would, in effect have a new battery which I didn’t think she should have needed and be out of pocket by £53.00. I thought this wasn’t good enough personally.

So, off went an email to the MD pointing out a few legal facts, quotes from their publicity and the like. Few more emails backwards and forwards. He seemed to think that we had no grounds for returning the car and couldn’t prove anything regarding the car being faulty at time of purchase. However, I am pleased to say that my powers of persuasion convinced him to pay:

£12 puncture repair refund
£53.00 battery refund
£100 goodwill gesture (I do so love these goodwill gestures)
(She had the £26.50 on top of this already paid by the other people!)

Evaluation

It took a while but I refuse to accept the first response if I don’t like it! I was particularly pleased that garages in Taunton were impressed saying that Mercedez are notoriously bad with their customer service!

Customer Service 4 out of 10
MD 7 out of 10
Prize £191.50 plus a battery

Rating – Churned out ok eventually

If you find yourself in a similar situation and need some help. See Top 20 Tips for complaining effectively 
Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

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