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!
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.
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!