How to Complain When a Service is Unsatisfactory
There is a common misconception that in order to register a complaint, a consumer needs to have a good case in law. Not true.
- Despite the fact that we are all bombarded with information about our statutory consumer rights, it is not crucial to worry about the law before expressing your concerns. You do not need to tune into Money Box on Radio 4 to know if something is bad and worthy of a gripe. If you are incensed and can feel your blood pressure rising, that is a far better barometer than anything Anne Robinson or Ether Ranzen can tell you. The mere fact that Parliament has spent thousands of man hours poring over consumer legislation for the alleged benefit of us all is neither here nor there. If you want a moan, do not bottle it up for fear that it does not falls squarely within the ambit of Section 2(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
- I once found myself on a train journey. It was a return business trip between Kings Cross and Northallerton and cost £357 return first class. Lesson number one with trains (and indeed “cheap” airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet) is to always book far in advance if you possibly can. If you have to do so at the last moment you will get stung in a manner more commonly associated with the venom of a viper. My booking was made a few days before so I fell easy prey to the hungry money monster that operates the East Coast railway line.
- A high price does in itself does not constitute a complaint. You pay what you pay and that’s the deal. I have no problem in paying top whack for a some things in life because they simply cost a lot and if you want them, you have to pay for them. What I do expect however, if I am paying top dollar for a service, is that the experience will involve an overall “feelgood factor”. This was conspicuously absent.
- On my return journey I was offered a soft drink. I took the can of Coke expecting it to be free – just like it is on most economy flights let alone every other form of first class travel in the Universe. “That will be a pound please” I was told. Ignoring for a moment the extraordinary mark-up (surely the illegal white powdered version isn’t that expensive?) I was stunned that this was not included in the exorbitant fare. Shame on you East Coast. You have lost my goodwill and my custom in an instant and forever. I will complain.