Mommy Katie: How to Make a Complaint and Get a Result (Guest Post)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Make a Complaint and Get a Result (Guest Post)

We’ve all experienced the disappointment of making a purchase or receiving a service that isn’t up to scratch, and while in many cases it isn’t worth making a complaint, there are other times when you just shouldn’t let it go. Many of us won’t go ahead and complain either because we’re scared or because we simply feel it's unlikely to get resolved. Whether you require a refund, an exchange or simply want an apology and to address your concerns, it is important to make sure your voice gets heard and you get the result you wanted. This can be done with a few simple steps:

Take immediate action
Don’t sit back and waste time while you think about whether to complain or not; do it as soon as possible while it's fresh in your mind. If you delay, it could prove harder to make your case so if you can, do it on the day the issue arises, or at least the same week. You also need to decide whether you are going to call, go in person, email or send them a letter to address your complaint. According to a recent study by Which?, 81% of people find that complaining in person is the most satisfying, followed closely by email or website.

Find the right person 
Try not to go off on your high horse straight away and shout down the phone at the wrong person or department. Instead, take time to think about who exactly you may need to contact and if you can, research the right person on the company’s website. If you’re not sure on who is best to contact, ask them to put you in touch with the most appropriate person.

Keep it together
Whilst making your complaint, try and keep your emotions together. As much as you want to express your disappoint, you want the issue to be resolved and therefore you should stay calm, keep your tone civil and don’t be aggressive. If you want to get results, you actually need to get the person on your side. Remember the person on the other end of the phone is just doing their job - it might be a job you have considered yourself and searched for vacancies via

Provide evidence
If you’re complaining about a product, be sure to have it with you and any relevant receipts and documents to prove your purchase. If you need to send the company photos, don't send originals as you may never see them again - always send photocopies. Make copies of everything you send and keep track of any telephone calls you make about the complaint so you can keep a record.

What next?
If your complaint can’t be resolved there and then, find out exactly when they will get back to you and be sure to chase up. If you’re not happy with the end result, consider bringing a claim through the Ombudsman Service Scheme or small claims court.

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Katherine Zahn said...

Thanks for sharing this! It's especially helpful during the holidays when we're all doing a lot of shopping and ordering and potentially dealing with customer service departments. Even if the company has not necessarily done something wrong but you are looking for a favor (a lower price to be matched for instance or some sort of discount) you are much more likely to get your way if you are nice to employees and have them on your side!

Katie @