The complaining habits of public figures – Paul Lewis financial journalist

A series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

In my series of interviews with people in the consumer world regarding their complaining habits, today is the turn of finance journalist Paul Lewis. Are your habits similar?

Paul LewisPaul Lewis’ complaining habits

1)  Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?
Yes if I think it will result in anything useful.

2)   How much does the likely redress have to be before you will
complain and why?

It’s more a case of how cross I am about it and the chances of success.

3)   How well do you know your legal rights (Consumer Rights Act, different sectors regulations etc.)
Fairly well

4)      If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback?
How

Seldom

5)      If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include
your social media followers too!)

If it’s very bad I tweet about it so 113,000! Otherwise just family

6)      If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
Family otherwise it looks like advertising!

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?

The bang has to be worth the buck..

8)      What do you think of using social media to complain?
It is a good idea., it gets the complaint to a wide audience and may result in change.

9)      Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when
deciding where to purchase an item

In the sense that I prefer to buy from UK or use a credit card, yes.

10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
I never have but I recommend it as a technique if a complaint is being blocked.

11)   If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator)
or gone to Small Claims Court tell us about it
No I haven’t.

About Paul Lewis

Paul Lewis has been a freelance financial journalist since 1986.

He has presented Money Box on Radio 4 since 2000 and appears on many radio and television programmes. He writes for Saga Magazine, Radio Times, Financial Times, and Money Marketing.

He has won many awards since 1986. Most recently he has won many awards. Headline Money Financial Broadcaster of the Year 2017 and voted Consumer Champion 2017 by the Chartered Insurance Institute. In 2018 he was the Kames Capital broadcast journalist of the year.

He has an honorary doctorate from University of Essex for his journalism over many years defending the interests of consumers.

He is an authority on the Victorian writer Wilkie Collins and edits his letters.

Online: www.paullewis.co.uk, blog www.paullewismoney.blogspot.com and has more than 113,000 Twitter followers @paullewismoney

Help with your complaints

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

If you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! See Paul Lewis’ review of the book too!

 

 

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Carphone Warehouse mis-selling results in FCA fine for over 29m

Whistle blowers to be thanked for FCA investigation

The mis-selling of insurance

Following a whistle blowing report and investigation, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Carphone Warehouse for mis-selling insurance. It found that the company had sold mobile phone insurance and technical support (called Geek Squad) to people who didn’t need it.

Carphone Warehouse FCA fine

The FCA fined Carphone Warehouse £41,582,300. However, Carphone Warehouse was given a 30% discount for agreeing with the findings. So it will pay £29,107,600.

How Carphone Warehouse mis-sold insurance

The FCA investigated a period over 8 years (1 December 2008 to 30 June 2015). Sales of Geek Squad policies were worth over £444.7 million in this period. The FCA found a number of issues relating to mis-selling and these included:

  1. Carphone Warehouse did not give sales assistants appropriate training. For example, they did not asses customer’s needs as to whether the insurance was required. Some customers had home insurance or bank account insurance for instance that would cover them.
  2. Sales staff were trained in “objection handling”, with the focus being on overcoming customer objections rather than assessing whether the product was suitable for the customer.
  3. A large number of policies were cancelled early. For example in January 2014 30% of policies were cancelled within the first three months of inception. Despite this being an indicator of high risk of mis-selling Carphone Warehouse did not consider it.
  4. When customers complained about the insurance sale, Carphone Warehouse failed to properly investigate and fairly consider their complaints. So valid complaints regarding mis-selling were not upheld and it contributed to the inaccurate picture of mis-selling indicators.

Whistleblowers to thank for Carphone Warehouse investigation and fine

It was Carphone Warehouse employees not customers who brought this matter to light.

Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:

“Without whistleblowers coming forward, these practices may never have come to light.  In the past few years, whistleblowers have contributed critical intelligence to the enforcement actions we have taken against firms and individuals.”

How to complain if you have been mis-sold phone insurance

The FCA says “Customers of The Carphone Warehouse who think that they may have been mis-sold Geek Squad should contact the firm directly (by telephone: 0800 049 6190, by post: Geek Squad, PO Box 358, Southampton, SO30 2PJ or on-line www.geeksquad.co.uk/contact/complaints). If customers are not content with the firm’s response, they may then refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.”

If you have been mis-sold insurance or service etc. it is a breach of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (amended 2014) and you should write to the company quoting that Act. (See link for details of the Act and how to use it).

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