How to Complain – Effectively

“Is everything ok?”

“Of course it is..Thank you”

You don’t want to make a fuss, do you?

You end up saying thank you, several times, for something that’s clearly not ok.

Travelling or at home, when something’s not right, you shouldn’t keep quiet.

Something goes wrong, something is inferior quality, something isn’t as you expected. Tell someone about it.

Here’s our tips for complaining effectively.

Remain Calm

You want to rip the air hostess’ head off, you want to smash the call bell into the receptionist face and you want to force feed the drivel on your plate to the waiter. We all get those urges, but they’re going to get you nowhere, fast. The person you are complaining to is human too, they will react to these situations in exactly the same way as you and I would. If someone starts shouting and yelling at me, helping them is the last thing I want to do.

You’re angry, tell them you’re angry, annoyed and upset, but don’t show it. There’s a difference in being motivated to resolve a problem and being hostile.

Ask For The Person’s Name

Whether face to face or over the phone, ask for a name and then use it. This works two fold, the person feels like you’re treating them like a person, rather than just an employee and they know that you know their name should you wish to take the complaint any further.

Tell Them You’re Complaining

Don’t let your comments just be passed off as a negative remark. Tell the person you’re speaking to that you’re complaining and you want the situation rectifying.

Keep To The Facts

When relaying the circumstances surrounding your complaint, keep to the facts. Keep it clear and simple for the person you’re telling to understand. You cannot be criticised for stating the facts.

Tell Them What You Want

There’s no point in complaining if you’re not sure what you want someone to do about it. They might need some guidance on how to keep/make you happy. Before you complain, take a minute to think about what you expect them to do or how you want them to respond. If their response isn’t adequate, then tell them.

Check The Law

Consumer Law can be really powerful. If you’re abroad, check to see what the local consumer laws are and how they can help you with your complaint. Google is your best friend.

Something that few people know is that in the UK, we have the Consumer Contracts Regulations. This covers purchases made over the phone, online, from a catalogue or through a TV shopping channel. There is certain information a trader has to supply you at the time or before purchase for example. The best bit is, you can cancel your contract or return purchased items, from the moment you buy them and up to 14 days after receiving them. Find more details on Which.

Whether writing, face to face or on the telephone, keep these points in mind. If you are writing, you may be able to find template letters online to give you a point in the right direction, especially with consumer laws. Another good source for information is Citizen’s Advice Online.

Keep a Record

Whichever way you contact the trader or supplier, keep a record of your contact. If you make phone calls, record the date, time and person’s name if you have it. Calls are recorded and if you supply this information, the call can be retrieved.

Do the same with letters or emails, keep copies of all sent and received letters.

Not Getting Anywhere?

If this approach doesn’t work, then escalate the complaint. Ask for details of a department manager to write or speak to. If you can’t escalate the complaint with the company any further, then think about other organisations that can help.

If you paid with a credit card, then speak to your card provider. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes your card provider jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the company. Your card provider will ask for information on the transaction, what the problem is and what you’ve done about it so far. You can approach your card provider at the same time as approaching the trader. You don’t have to had reached a dead end with the trader before speaking to the card provider. There are some limitations however. The item needs to be valued at more than £100 and less than £30,000. You don’t have to have paid the full amount with your card though. Even if you’ve paid a deposit for an item using your card, your provider is obliged to assist. Isn’t that awesome!?

The best thing for travellers is that this Act also cover purchases made outside the UK.

Beware that if there is a third party between you and the trader, this act may not cover you. Amazon Marketplace, Travel Agents and Paypal can all mean you’re not covered for some purchases.

If all else fails then investigate a claim through the small claims court..

Most reputable retailers will want to resolve the problem as quickly as you do.

Don’t suffer in silence, if something’s not right, speak up and get it sorted!

Ryan and Lois

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