Habits of an effective complainer – Tips 7, 8 and 9

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. See the new book 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer 101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo

Here are a few taster ideas in my series

7)   Keep evidence

Effective complainers have all the evidence at their fingertips. Collate copies of receipts, emails and take pictures, where necessary. Send copies of evidence where appropriate. For example, receipts for travel or if a faulty washing machine has destroyed some clothes, send pictures of the damaged clothes.

If you prefer working on paper, keep everything in a ring-binder that’s easy to find. If you prefer working on the computer, make a folder on the hard drive for each case. Then store all the relevant documents in that folder. You might even use a combination of the two methods.

The Chief Ombudsman of Ombudsman Services informed consumers on a guest blog post Energy ombudsman shows how to keep heat on your supplier for The Complaining Cow, “Poor energy supplier responses can leave consumers feeling that the problem won’t be resolved without help. But Ombudsman Services can only help after a consumer has tried to resolve the problem with the energy supplier direct for several weeks. As frustrating as it is, consumers should plug away with the energy company. Be clear about what the problem is and what needs to be done to put it right. Do it in writing otherwise it is one person’s word against another and the Ombudsman always makes decisions based on evidence.”

8)   Be assertive

Probably one of the most important habits. Decide what you want, and stick to it in all your correspondence or conversations.

A friend of mine wrote to EasyJet a few years ago. She was trying to get a refund on flights home when her husband’s mother was dying. Her online chat was full of “love from”s” and kisses! She wasn’t getting anywhere! I wrote an email for her that stated the facts, the breach of policy and what I wanted to happen. She got her refund! Full story How to win when EasyJet’s customer service fails.

9)   Be honest

Keep to the facts and don’t add in things that didn’t happen and weren’t said. If you lie you are likely to be found out and you will give effective complainers a bad name! Trying to obtain money with false information is fraud and could get you a fine or jail term.

I started to get interested in a Facebook group set up for people to share their negative experiences with a large kitchen company. There were lots of horror stories and pictures of broken drawers and badly fitting doors etc. I contacted the company in question and asked them about the allegations and “evidence” of one such kitchen. They clearly proved that the images were from a consumer who had bought the items on a “supply only” basis and therefore it was not responsible for the fitting. The company’s lawyers had been watching this group, before being successful in shutting it down. It started up again and the number of people as a percentage of customers complaining about this company is actually tiny, however vocal they may think they may be on social media. This is the reason perhaps that the company has not taken action but it is certainly watching….

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

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!

 

 

Habits of an effective complainer – Tips 4, 5 & 6

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. New book out in December!

101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo

 

Get 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer released 18 December 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

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

4)   Always write wherever possible

Unless urgent and essential, always write. On the phone it’s easier to be fobbed off, cut off and you don’t have a record should you need to take the matter further. See Why you should write not ‘phone to complain effectively.

There are numerous examples of how people have been caught out phoning, which wastes time and provides no evidence. Here’s an example from my blog: Jane commented that her 99-year-old disabled father had received 3 packages from a company containing cheap plastic models of cars. After the first package arrived she telephoned the company and, after a 25 minute wait on an automated call at 7p per minute, she spoke with someone who maintained her dad had telephoned them, ordered the ‘free’ first model and given them his bank card details. There is debate over this because there is no record. The woman agreed to put a stop on his ‘account’ so that “no further models would be sent out if he telephones us again” and she said he could keep the model without charge. Just a few weeks later another package arrived addressed to her father with an invoice and a different customer number. A couple of weeks later a third package arrived, with another invoice. She could not get through on the phone. Had this been dealt with initially in writing the further issues would not have arisen and even if they had she would have had a track record of evidence to show that the items should not have been delivered.

5)   Know your legal rights!

This is crucial. Get into the habit of finding them and using them. So many companies will try and fob you off but if you know your consumer rights it will be much more difficult for them! There are lots of consumer laws and regulations that can help with goods, services, holidays, flights, telecoms, energy etc. See All the laws and regulations you need to make a complaint about almost anything.

All my complaint letters get redress and nearly all of them mention the law in some way or another!

6)   Be realistic

When complaining you need to be reasonable in your requests. Demanding an amount way over what you are legally entitled to is likely to get short shrift from the company, and rightly so.

Quite often people will ask me if they should ask for more money, as compensation. It can be a difficult one because sometimes businesses will offer what they think they can get away with. But a good example would be the consumer who posted on my blog saying that she had been offered 50% refund for a washing machine that was unrepairable but had lasted 3 years. (The company is allowed to deduct an amount for use). I advised that this was reasonable.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to items that last a reasonable length of time. If you search the Internet you will find reports that vary on this. For example, Which? states 6 years. But a court would also take into account the use. So if you had used it every day twice a day for three years this could be deemed as more than average use. You can take a company to court within 6 years from the date of purchase (this does not mean items should last 6 years). All things considered, a court would probably find 50% as reasonable. The consumer could have gone back and asked for more but was unlikely to get much more.

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

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!

 

 

 

 

border shapes how to improve your complaining habits