We’re starting a new series of Conversations that we’re calling ‘complain for change’ – we think you should be proud to tell companies when they’ve got it wrong. What does it take for you to make a complaint?
Are there some things you just wouldn’t bother to complain about?
With the recent criticism that Three Mobile levelled at its customers who complained, you’d be forgiven for not bothering.
But the Which? Consumer Rights team thinks it’s always worth making your feelings known – no matter how small the company transgression.
I love cheese. I especially love very strong flavoured cheese. So, when I spotted a mature cheddar cheese sandwich in my local branch of Eat, I thought ‘that’s the sandwich for me’.
But oh, how wrong I was. After the first disappointing bite, I knew their definition of mature cheese was nothing like mine. ‘Mature cheddar’ the sandwich claimed. ‘Tasteless fodder’ my palate countered.
After begrudgingly finishing the flavourless sandwich and feeling utterly dissatisfied with my lunch, I headed back to the office and promptly emailed an indignant letter of complaint to Eat.
Tackling complaints in a mature fashion
Now, you may think me a curmudgeonly malcontent for complaining about something so trivial – and, on the whole, I’d have to agree with you. But, it’s the principle that’s at stake here. If something is labelled one thing and it turns out to be something else, then you’ve got me riled – no matter how insignificant it may seem.
When I hungrily tucked into my mature cheddar cheese sandwich and my palate was assaulted by a bland bit of bread playing host to a tasteless slab of cheese, I was incandescent. Actually, no, I’m getting carried away with myself here. Let’s just say I was a tad displeased.
To give credit where it’s due though, I did receive a very apologetic response from Eat, offering me a voucher as a gesture of goodwill. And once I sent them my address, the £5 voucher promptly arrived on my doorstep, for which I am most appreciative.
What gets you to complain?
But, my question is this – how bad does something have to be before you’ll complain? A recent survey by online research companies Andrew Smith Research and Research Now, found that 30% of people didn’t complain, even once, to a company over the last year.
Now, this could mean that these people had no cause for complaint. But from previous Which? research, we know that many people don’t complain because they can’t be bothered or, they don’t think it’s worth it.
The survey also found that the number of serial complainers – those making more than ten complaints in a year – has fallen in the last couple of years. Are you one of those who’s let complaining go off the boil? Or will you join me in being a proud serial complainer?