In my series of interviews with people in the consumer world regarding their complaining habits, today is the turn of Andy Webb Be Clever With Your Cash and presenter.
Andy Webb’s complaining habits
1) Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?
Yes absolutely. If something isn’t up to scratch I’ll want a replacement or my money back.
2) How much does the likely redress have to be before you will complain and why?
I won’t complain about a few pennies, but often it’s the principle and not the money that’s the motivation behind any complaint I make. I hate that companies so often get away with bad service, or worse blatant rip-offs, knowing most customers will just shrug it off or are too embarrassed to make a scene. So I’ll make a stand in most cases in the hope whatever went wrong is sorted and won’t happen to others.
3) How well do you know your legal rights (Consumer Rights Act, different sectors regulations etc.)
Hopefully I’m reasonably well versed. But rules and regulations do change a fair bit so I’ll double check if I need to address something significant. Otherwise I’ll wing it based on what I (think) I know.
4) If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback? How?
You know what, not as much as I’d like. You get a lot of these email surveys after a call now and if someone has gone above and beyond then I’ll give them a really good rating. If it’s face to face, which is rarer and rarer these days, then I’ll make sure they know I appreciate it. This is a lot easier when eating out where I can tip.
5) If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include your social media followers too!)
I’m writing this on a train. The thing is I should have been on a a different train more than an hour ago. But if I ranted about every delayed or cancelled train that would be my whole Twitter feed. I tend instead to include these stories in articles on Be Clever With Your Cash, either as examples of companies to avoid, or to demonstrate why it can be worth following through on complaints. (See How to complain about train journeys (or the lack of them! for how to do this).
6) If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
Again, if I’d had good customer service I’m more likely to recommend it to my readers and viewers – as long as it’s also good value for money. If something is spectacular I’ll tweet about it too.
7) If you don’t really complain or it has to be a significant amount in question before you will, what stops you from complaining?
I will complain about most things! But I do weigh up what my time is worth. Last night I took a prebooked taxi from a station to a hotel ahead of some filming today. I’d been told by the production company that it was prepaid too, but the driver asked me to pay. I’d been travelling for six hours and it was late and since the fare was only a fiver I decided it was better just to pay and get to sleep!
8) What do you think of using social media to complain?
It can work wonders. Not only does it not take long, it can help my followers know who’s good and who’s bad. Of course it helps if you’ve got a profile that says you’re a money expert on the telly! Saying that I’ve not done it much. A few years ago I got £20 of Shake Shake vouchers after tweeting a picture of the sorry looking ice cream I received and what it should have looked like.
9) Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when deciding where to purchase an item?
Sometimes. I won’t shop at retailers like Sports Direct where refunds are only given as store credit (though that’s not the only reason I avoid Mike Ashley owned shops!) (That is only for change of mind where there is no legal obligation for a retailer to refund at all). I’ll also gravitate to John Lewis for things like electronics and tech thanks to the extended warranty you get for free on purchase – though the dept store isn’t as good as it used to be.
10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
No, I’ve never got to this point. I’ll always try to address it further down the chain, politely of course, and this has always brought me the result I want – though this can sometimes be a frustratingly long wait.
11) If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator) or gone to Small Claims Court tell us about it
Again, not yet. And fingers crossed I won’t have to. I try to mitigate against it getting to this stage by choosing the services I use with the best record. However I do worry when using tradesmen where I don’t have any knowledge, and it seems there’s little regulation, that this could happen.