Matt Allwright wrote a review of my second book 101 Habits of an Effective Complainer. You’d think I would have got round to writing a review of his book Watchdog – the Consumer Survival Guide by now! But better late than never…
The book is of course, a good one. It has a number of sections, such as shopping, renting, bills, looking after your home, travel and cars. It covers some consumer rights but it elicits a wealth of wise counsel in more general areas too. He explores how to get the best deals and how not to get caught out with bad advice. It is a comprehensive consumer guide on how to shop safely and wisely.
Written in a jargon free and light chatty style throughout, it reads as though Matt were talking to the reader. Easy to understand, this is a very handy, useful reference book.
There is a comprehensive chapter covering a variety of scams which explains how they work and what to look out for so you don’t get caught out. This includes employment and romance scams as well as a few consumer issues too.
The cars chapter advises on how to buy a car and encourages the art of haggling! But it also provides thorough guidance on the pros and cons of different sellers, what to look out for and questions to ask. If you know nothing about buying cars this chapter is invaluable.
Matt tackles renting and housing, describing council housing applications, homelessness and what you can do. The book covers common mistakes made by landlords and offers advice on everything you should do before signing a letting contract. Similarly advice is given for phone contracts too.
The shopping chapter covers tricks that supermarkets use, such as watching out for the multi-buys which are often not cheaper than buying the single item. But he also shows how to narrow down the times for the yellow sticker price mark downs! Interestingly, packaging and the possibility that it is not always cheaper to buy loose is included with sales promotion and loyalty analysis.
“Matt Nav” boxes throughout the book are full of anecdotal stories (I’m not the only one to get my Mum into my writing!) and snippets of informative facts and advice. He shares personal stories and ones from the programmes with which he has been involved. For example, raising awareness of conveyancing fraud. In the chapter about looking after your home a “Matt Nav” recalls a great story on how Rogue Traders started. And that chapter talks about drains too, which is a subject not found in many consumer guides!
The only thing that surprises me is that it has taken Matt/Watchdog this length of time to write a book!
You can see more about Matt’s own personal complaining habits in my interview with him The complaining habits of public figures – Matt Allwright