How to complain guide – Get what you deserve!
For starters, I would like to say that I do not endorse fake complaints or serial complainers. I used to work in a restaurant many moons ago and some guy made a fraudulent complainant about me. It made me so angry and it tarnished my reputation, how dare someone tell lies about me! So yes, no fake complaints please! However, you deserve the best. You do not deserve sloppy service, cold food or faulty goods, and if you do experience these then you need to complain. I will teach you how to complain successfully with minimum fuss but for maximum benefit.
You need make sure you have a valid complaint to start. In terms of law, you are not automatically entitled to a refund just because you have changed your mind, this is down to a store’s specific policy. When I complain is it always about a genuine issue that has had a negative impact on me. I have complained about the state of the toilets in restaurants, inaccurate billing and rude staff in shops. All these are valid reasons for complaining. Not liking something is not a cause for complaint nor will you have a complaint if you have misread the terms and conditions.
So if you have a valid reason, now you need to work out what you want to achieve out of your complaint; a refund, a replacement or compensation. You need to tell the company what you expect of them and how they can ‘right the wrong.’ Most companies are inundated with complaints and all they want to do is close yours as quick as possible and move on.
You can make your complaint after the event in a letter, email or telephone call or you can do it there and then. Sometimes people do not like the awkwardness of complaining at the time especially if it is about a particular member of staff, however you need to make sure that you complaint is timely. You can’t complain about something that happened six months ago!
Baffle them with legislation
There is statute law to protect you as a consumer and if you are struggling to win your complaint then quote these. We have the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002. These state that a consumer has the right to goods that are deemed to be of a satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and ‘as described’. Satisfactory quality can imply that the good are free from faults, safe and long lasting. Fit for purpose can mean for example, that if the item is designed to be waterproof then it is indeed waterproof. When deciding whether the goods are as described, one should read the good’s description and compare it with the product. Don’t forget that second hand goods carry the same rights.
Key things to complaining – Top 10 points
So you have your complaint in mind and you are armed with your legislation now you need to make your complaint.
- To lodge your complaint, make sure you are speaking to the right person. This could be the manger, the complaints department or the owner.
- Do not raise your voice but do not be over polite. Sound disgruntled but remain courteous.
- If you are writing an email or letter then spell check your work.
- Tell them what the problem was and how it made you / your family / your friends feel. What were the repercussions? IE, an electricity company bills you at the wrong time of the month, this has financial implications, cold food and poor service ruined your friends birthday, a broken toy made your child cry on his/her birthday….
- Evidence your complaint; photographs, copies of your bank statement, bills and till receipts, name the people you have spoken to.
- Tell them how they can rectify the problem, refund compensation etc.
- Do not apologise.
- Tell them that their reputation as a company has been damaged and you will advise friends not to use them if they do not bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.
- Do not dwell on points, if they need time to investigate the matter request a call back but make it timely. 24 hours – 36 hours is long enough to deal with most complaints. If they fail to adhere to this agreement then you have more ammunition and you can escalate the complaint further.
- Once the complaint case has been concluded, thank the person for their assistance and accept the compensation gracefully.
You have worked hard for your money and you deserve to have the best for it. Do not let people walk all over you; stand up for your rights.