HOW TO COMPLAIN effectively and get results!
Every week, one in six of us experiences bad service, yet how often do we do nothing about it? With the power of social media, it’s easier than ever to be heard. Find out how...
How you go about complaining depends on how you paid for something. So if you bought clothes on the high street, you’re better off going back to the store. Keep your complaint concise and take evidence such as receipts and photos of the products. GH TIP: Be sure of your rights. Head to goodhousekeeping.co.uk/ consumer-advice for our tips on returns and complaints.
KNOW WHO TO SPEAK TO
It’s crucial to complain to a person who has the power to resolve the problem. Sometimes all you need to do is Google the company’s customer service department. If that doesn’t work, go to companieshouse.gov.uk and type the full name of the company into the Companies House Service search engine, eg ‘Marks & Spencer PLC’. This gives you the address and relevant people to contact. Choose the ‘people’ tab and scroll down to find a company director or secretary. GH TIP: There’s a great online tool from Moneysavingexpert called Resolver.co.uk. It has a bank of companies’ details and provides template letters to send them, a place to store your evidence and tells you when or how to escalate the problem.
BE CONSIDERATE BUT ASSERTIVE
It’s easy to forget the person you’re speaking to is human! Be polite but don’t be a pushover. The clearer and firmer you are, the more likely you are to get a result. If you’re getting nowhere with an employee, ask to speak to a manager. GH TIP: Don’t pay for returns of damaged or faulty goods. Ask customer
services to arrange collection or send you a freepost sticker. John Lewis, Amazon, Debenhams, Boots, M&S and Boden do this. Argos and Currys PC World will also pick up larger items for you.
Keep a record of all your conversations. Take a friend along as a witness if you go in person, download web chats and note details of phone conversations.
Almost half of us expect a reply within 24 hours when we send an email, according to the Institute of Customer Service, but that’s not always realistic. All companies have a complaints procedure, which may mean you have to wait weeks before you get satisfaction. Take note and chase if no one acknowledges within two weeks.
… BUT DON’T LEAVE IT TOO LONG
In some cases, such as train delays, leaving it for longer than a month might mean you can’t claim at all. If you’ve had a product for longer than its guarantee, you might not be eligible for a refund, but you could qualify for a repair. GH TIP: Push for a refund or repair rather than a credit note so you don’t get stuck if the company goes bust.