Habits of an effective complainer – a few suggestions!

Habits of an effective complainer

Techniques to improve your complaining skills!

If you are not used to complaining, don’t like complaining, get fobbed off easily, but don’t like being out of pocket there are things you can do to help you improve your technique.

Lots more in the book

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101 Habits of an Effective Complainer

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But in the meantime here are another three tips to start you off!

shapes border how to improve your complaining habits

1)   Use social media appropriately

You can’t give out personal details and you can’t describe detailed events on social media. However you can call out poor service and give more details in direct messages and refer the company to previous correspondence. See 5 ways how not to use Twitter to complain (and 5 ways how you should).

When I took Tesco to court (and won!) it was after several emails and tweets. I couldn’t possibly describe all the events in one tweet or even several. But the tweets told Tesco that I would be going to court due to it not honouring a refund, the details of which I had in writing. It responded quickly and took the matter into direct messaging. Some people will say that companies do this to get the bad publicity off the Twitter feed. This isn’t necessarily the case, as they often need further details and direct messaging allows for more characters and providing personal information. I was able to give the information about the order etc. The fact that they weren’t empowered to do anything with it is another matter…!

2)   Make notes

If the poor service happened whilst you are out of home or office tap into your phone or use a notebook! Make notes of how you were left feeling, names of people you dealt with and any relevant activity that will help you later.

Nicola ordered a kitchen and later realised that she needed another shelf. She went to the store to enquire about the possibility and the staff member was very rude. He told her that she should have used his company to measure up and the problem wouldn’t have happened. He said that they couldn’t get another shelf ordered as the kitchen had been discontinued. Nicola doubted this as the kitchen was still being sold online, so she thought it might be quicker if she spoke to the store. She was really annoyed and not a little embarrassed as the manager had been quite aggressive and it looked like he was trying to warn other potential customers that they would face similar problems if they didn’t use them to fit as well as supply. Before leaving the store she wrote down the name of the staff member, what he had said and what she felt.

The next day Nicola composed an email to the manager of the store and was able to be calm, giving the name of the staff member and what he had said. She was able to refer to her notes and use them effectively. The manager wrote back to apologise and offer the shelf at a discount and assure her that the staff member would be sent on some training to clarify some points of customer service.

3)   Set the rules

Give a deadline to the company by which you expect to receive a satisfactory response and what you will do if you don’t receive one.

There are numerous posts on my blog about items which have been sent in error. See Unsolicited goods for all the questions people asked! Many people want to believe that these have been sent in error. This often isn’t the case. The wrong item has been sent, or there has been an administrative error. In these cases they needed to provide the company which sent the item a reasonable deadline by which they should collect the item and after this date they would dispose of the item.

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Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively

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High-stakes ransom game as Travelex remains down for more than a week

Travelex business – and customers – held to ransom 

Travelex, the currency exchange company, has been hit by criminals in a ransomware cyber-attack that took place on New Year’s Eve. As a consequence, the company has taken down its websites across 30 countries in order to contain “the virus and protect data”.

A side-effect of the attack is that various banks, such as Lloyds, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, and supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco, are now unable to supply foreign currency, normally sourced through Travelex.

Travelex Whistleblower speaks out

However the BBC reported that an “employee claims that the company was alerted to the cyber attack at about 21:00 GMT on the 30 December, not 31 December as has been widely reported. He alleges internal communication has been “scant”, but that since then IT teams have been working flat-out buying and setting up new PCs and replacing certain software.”

It also reported on another employee who said in an email to the BBC “I couldn’t help but laugh at the suggestion that the public response has been ‘shockingly bad’. This is nothing compared to how it’s been handled internally. It feels like there is a distinct lack of real leadership and communication.”

Travelex states that there is no evidence that customer data has been stolen but certainly staff are resorting to pen and paper whilst new computers are brought in and set up.

In the meantime, there has been no communication from Travelex to its employees, business partners or customers about whether there are any viable back ups which could be used to recover data.

Data protection rights for Travelex customers:

Under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) if there has been a breach of data:

1) Organisations must assess the risk to your personal rights and freedoms.

2) High risk breaches have to be notified to the persons whose data has been affected without undue delay with a description of the likely consequences.

3) Organisations must describe the measures taken, being taken or proposed to be taken to deal with the data breach. If applicable it should also describe the measures to mitigate any possible adverse effects.

Advice for Travelex customers

Anyone who has ever used Travelex should keep a close eye on their bank for any suspicious activity and report it immediately to their bank as possible fraud.

Check with the three credit agencies Transunion (were CallCredit), Experian and Equifax that no credit has been taken out in your name. Sara Williams from Debt Camel has a brilliant guide to credit scoring, myth busting and how to check different records. The 3 best ways to check your credit score & records – all free!

Be wary of any phone calls, texts and emails from anyone saying they are from Travelex. It is possible that other scammers will now emerge and contact people requesting bank details etc. Do not give them! (For more information see this Which? article on Phone scams).

If you incur financial loss or distress (and it can now be distress alone) contact the company (in writing so that you have a record) See 20 Top Tips on how to complain effectively for help. Follow the tips and explain the losses with evidence and how the matter has caused you stress.

You can also report to matter to the Information Commissioner’s Officer (ICO). It won’t give compensation or advise on the amount due but it may be able to help and will also add to any case that the ICO builds against Travelex.

You could contact the CEO using contact details that can be found here. He is very unlikely to respond personally! However it should escalate your case and ensure that it is dealt with by his executive team.

If you are not satisfied with the response then you can go to the Financial Ombudsman Service and if still not happy with the result take the case to the Small Claims Court.

What is the future for Travelex?

It appears that Travelex is handling the situation appallingly. As of 8 January 2020 the ICO says that it has still not received notification of a data breach and yet any company must inform the ICO within 72 hours if a breach poses a risk to people’s “rights and freedoms”. The ICO has the powers to fine up to £500,000 to any company that breaches the GDPR regulations.

If a company doesn’t do this, because they believe it is minor, they have to keep a record and explain why they didn’t report it. I for one look forward to seeing the explanation! It would seem to me that what appears to have happened is not minor!

At the point of publishing it is unknown if Travelex will pay the ransom. But what is clear is that Travelex has not been properly informing customers of the current situation, as it must do by law

Being held to ransom by a cybercriminal is bad enough for Travelex but then failing to properly inform the regulator makes the whole situation so much worse for the company. This is mismanagement on a grand scale, for which the directors must be held accountable.