Habits of an effective complainer – Tips 1, 2 and 3

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. Look out for the new book soon!

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

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1)   Practice

Take on a few simple complaints to get you started. Do this for friends and family, as well as for yourself. Easy wins on these will give you the confidence to take on more complex cases.

People have often said to me that they have never complained about anything because they just don’t know where to start. Often this means that when a big problem comes, that they have to deal with, they really struggle. Had they have practiced and complained about the poor service in the restaurant or the kettle that didn’t last a reasonable length of time they would have a better idea and feel more confident too.

2)   Give compliments too

This may seem contradictory. But this will help keep things balanced for you. This will be especially helpful if you don’t ever do it but as are also poor at complaining when things go wrong. When a staff member has given over and above what could be considered acceptable good service, write to the company to recognise the person for their excellent work. It will make you feel good, is a bit of “pay it forward” and you’ll feel more justified when you write to complain.

This positive behaviour can prevent you complaining unnecessarily and being seen as negative. Today, whilst writing this post I thanked and complimented a bank for dealing my query effectively and efficiently. I did this on Twitter so people could see. I have quite a history with Tesco as many readers of this blog know! I complain regularly but also compliment where appropriate too. This also shows people you are fair and balanced with your observations.

3)   Be polite!

Often the people to whom you are complaining to are not responsible for the faulty product or poor service and are more likely to respond to you positively if you are polite to them.

Think about it. If someone is rude to you, do you want to help them? In a supermarket the other day, I saw someone being really rude to an assistant. He was shouting and then got abusive but the assistant was very polite and was trying to calm the situation down. The customer wanted a refund on something but didn’t have the proof required that he had bought the item there. She refused to leave until they gave it to her. The security man escorted him out, without his refund. Had he been more polite, the customer services assistant might have been able to offer to help by searching the loyalty card history. He wouldn’t listen though, so he lost out.

Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively

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For lots of help, consumer laws, advice and  templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

All you need to know about unsolicited goods

Have you received unsolicited goods?

Can you keep the goods you believe are unsolicited?

One of the most frequent things I get asked about is unsolicited goods. Many people believe that if they receive something sent by mistake they can keep it. Here are five situations in which people commonly think they can keep the goods when they legally can’t.

I have received an item that I did not order from a company I have used before. Can I keep it?

This is highly likely to be a mistake as your details will be on the company’s computer system and have been muddled with somebody else’s as a result of an administrative error.

You should contact the company and tell them that you have received the item and that you expect them, or their courier, to come and collect it. Give them a deadline for when they should do this and if you do not hear from them by this date you will dispose of the item.

I ordered one item and a different item came. Can I keep the item and get my money back for the item I ordered?

No. This is clearly an administrative error. You should contact the company, tell them what has happened and request return procedure details. Ensure that you are not paying for the return of the item. Although you are able to return an item within 14 days for a change of mind this is not a change of mind. This is the company’s error and they must pay for the return postage. You also need to make sure you have an evidence trail of the paperwork to show that you informed them that the wrong item was sent and returned so that you get refunded correctly.

The item was sent to my address but not in my name. Can I keep it?

You cannot keep the item. Look for a company address and contact the company regarding return.

I ordered an item from Company A. Company B supplies A and both sent me the item. Can I keep both?

This is a mistake. You will need to contact the company with which you do not have the contract (the company you did not pay) and arrange collection/return.

I received an order I cancelled. Can I keep it?

This is a mistake. As above, you need to arrange for a return by a deadline you give.

True unsolicited goods

Most people are familiar with the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971. However, unsolicited goods are also covered in the newer regulations The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013) which say you have a right to keep goods delivered to you that you didn’t request. Specifically, from the explanatory note that accompanies the legislation:

“Part 4 of the Regulations contains provisions concerning protection from unsolicited sales and additional charges which have not been expressly agreed in advance. Regulation 39 introduces a new provision into the Consumer Protection Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which provides that a consumer is not required to pay for the unsolicited supply of products. Regulation 40 provides that a consumer is not required to make payments in addition to those agreed for the trader’s main obligation, unless the consumer gave express consent before conclusion of the contract”.

Explanatory note to the legislation.

You are under no legal obligation to contact the trader and can keep the goods. However, truly unsolicited goods sent within the UK are very rare these days.

woman holding box unsolicited goods your rightsFurther help

If you have issues such as those above, they will probably fall into a breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which means you can still get redress.

Top 20 tips for complaining effectively.

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