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

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!

Whirlpool FINALLY undertakes full recall of tumble dryers

Whirlpool, the giant manufacturer of home appliances, has finally seen the light on the issue of dangerous tumble dryers. It has announced today (10 July 2019) that it will issue a product recall of all tumble dryers at risk of fire that have still not been modified.

On 12 June 2019 I wrote a blog post The end of the spin cycle? The Consumer Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, had announced that the Government intended to serve Whirlpool with a full recall notice for all tumble dryers that are at risk of fire. She told the House of Commons at the time that “consumer safety is a priority for the Government”. I said that history would say otherwise, given how long we have taken to get here.

On 4 June the government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)  informed Whirlpool of its intention to serve a Recall Notice. And at last, today, it has been announced that Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd is to issue a full product recall of tumble dryers not yet modified from consumers’ homes.

Consumers with an affected tumble dryer that has not been modified will now be entitled to a new replacement machine. This will be delivered and installed, with the old one removed. This will be carried out at no cost to the consumer.

Whirlpool has committed to:

  • deliver a significant new consumer outreach campaign with wide ranging publicity of the product recall aimed at reaching affected consumers and driving up awareness
  • guarantee no charges for delivery, installation or removal of machines
  • improve identification of, and outreach to, vulnerable consumers
  • provide OPSS with timely reporting of progress made in the product recall

Although there have been stories of some people having issues with modified machines, it looks like these will not be recalled. Should you still be having issues, I would advise following the usual complaint processes following the advice in the link below, the tips, and referring to the full product recall.

Fire Whirlpool The tumble dryer story without the spin

My report Whirlpool – the tumble dryer story without the spin outlines what happened up until April 2018. It includes details of apparent contradictions in advice provided by Whirlpool, results of Freedom of Information Requests to Government departments and Peterborough Trading Standards, London Fire Brigade statistics and recommendations, research and investigations. All in one place.


It amazes me that a company so large could have taken such a shoddy approach to consumer safety and cared little for its reputation. It has taken many years of campaigning to ensure that the government takes action and forces this company torecall these dangerously defective products.

Will Whirlpool survive this debacle? People often have short memories but I think in this case where a company has shown such disregard for consumer safety and its own reputation that it will struggle to rebuild its badly tarnished reputation.