Complaining to a foreign company may seem daunting but it need not be.

If, for example, you have just returned from a holiday abroad this may easily have given rise to a complaint about a foreign hotel or car rental company.  What are my top tips for dealing with complaints of this kind?
  • Be realistic.  If your complaint concerns a company in the outer reaches of Mongolia you are not going to be able to resolve it after the event from thousands of miles away.
  • Many companies are very international in nature and the more sophisticated ones will enable you to complain via their website.  This is of course the easiest and most direct way to complain.  You may also find that the company has a UK subsidiary with a customer services base in the UK which may also assist you.
  • Finding the name of someone senior in the organisation to communicate with may well not be difficult in sophisticated jurisdictions such as Western Europe and North America.  This information is usually available on the corporate information section of the company’s website and many other countries have a central database of such information at their equivalent of our Companies House.
  • If you have been seriously ripped off either by a fraud or by terrible service you generally still have rights as a consumer under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.  This in effect gives you rights against your credit card company similar to those you have against the defaulting company.  It is thus always advisable to use your UK credit card for foreign purchases.
  • If you are feeling brave enough to sue the company concerned you can certainly do this in the usual way notwithstanding the fact that the defendant is foreign.  Consumer contracts made here are generally governed by English law and can be dealt with in the English courts.  This is not a step that say a French or a Canadian company would welcome at all and you may well find that by threatening such action or indeed starting it you will very quickly get a meaningful and positive reply.