/ Home & Energy, Shopping, Technology

Reaching complaint deadlock – do you give up or carry on?

Complaining cartoon character

Complaining can be tiresome – a time-consuming jungle of paperwork and unfruitful conversations. When it goes on for months without a resolution, there can come a point where it feels easier to just give up…

You’re an explorer in a new found land, thick with jungle and predators. You battle through the unfriendly foliage and, worn out from a two-month long sea voyage, you come to a sandy clearing. It’s been tough and you’re close to turning back…

You take a deep breath, step forward and come face-to-face with the island chief. He tells you that in order to continue, you will have to find another route and as he does so, he points to a dark tunnel heading yet deeper into the jungle. You have no idea where the new path will lead you. It’s deadlock, the chief won’t let you continue along his path and your only option is to take the unknown other route. What do you do, give up, or carry on?

Taking complaints to the next level

If you had a complaint with a company or organisation that reached a point of deadlock, where neither of you could agree on a resolution, what would you do? Would you know what your options were as a consumer? Would you know the different paths you could take?

I’m sure you’ve heard of Ombudsmen, but would you be likely to turn to one in a situation of deadlock? Or is this a dark unknown path you’d think twice before going down? Tell us all about it in the comments below, or get involved in our research.

Take part in our complaints research

In partnership with a research agency called The Behavioural Architects, we’re doing some online research into the complaints process, looking at alternative dispute resolution options such as Ombudsmen. We want to know how aware people are of their options and what might hold people back or encourage them to carry on.

We’re looking to speak to people who have recently used an Ombudsmen service to resolve a dispute. We also want to speak to people who have recently been through an extended complaints process with a company or organisation, that didn’t come to a resolution after eight weeks or more.

If you’re one of these people and are interested in taking part in our research at the end of August, please send an email to kat@thebearchitects.com with ‘Which? complaints research’ in the subject line to find out more. If you take part in the research, you’ll receive £90 to thank you for your time. But more importantly, you’ll be helping us make the complaints process more usable and accessible to the people that need it.


I am glad this subject has arisen as complaining to Which? is indeed a painful process.

The iniquity of a system where a Best Buy has 4 times as many complaints as any other electric steamer but despite many subscribers complaining remains a Which? Best Buy surely represents a failed system.

For people unaware of the subject it is the Logiks model.


I have erred by not mentioning that I have been mentioning this to Which? Trustees and staff since last year since I believe the reputation of Which? requires some kind of response to subscribers who after all pay for the organisation to exist.

Now we have a Community Forum I have posted there and suggested that they survey Connect members as to if they have a steam cooker and Brand, usage and reliability. Unfortunately three months after my suggestion the May Small Appliance Reliability survey did not ask this question. Therefore we have no idea if 22 people have been very unlucky or in fact the Logik – L90SSS11 is badly flawed for continued use and definitely should not be a Best Buy


Hi Diesel, thanks for the comment. I think the member forum team are helping you with this, but thought I’d share the following based on your feedback about negative member reviews on Best Buys.

As you know, we carry out the most thorough product tests in the UK but our tests can’t uncover long term faults. To that end we carry out annual reliability surveys – and we won’t give a best buy if these scores are too low. We do take member reviews very seriously – our researchers read the reviews, will look into concerns raised and will add comments when they think it will be helpful. One thing to watch out for is that someone who has a bad experience with a product is more likely to post a review than someone who has had no problems at all. Your particular complaints about the Logik model is being looked into by our research team.

And we do like hearing from members, even it’s a complaint, as this can drive improvements where possible. Just get in touch with our member services team right here: http://www.which.co.uk/about-which/contact-us/

Ooh and diesel, I sent you an email last week, not sure if you got it.

This particular conversation is about alternative dispute resolutions, such as going to an Ombudsman, so we’d really love to hear about any experiences people have had to help with our research.


Thanks for the response Patrick.. Perhaps you could re-send your previous e-mail to me.

I fully realise that Which? commissioned testing does not give the testing companies the remit of finding out long term faults or durability of parts . In the case of electric steamers it seems a large number last less than a year. Readers, who ARE providing the long term testing that Which? does not do, are providing the information to you.


diesel, I see that Which? Connect have just asked members to report on the Logik L90SSS11 Steamer. I assume this relates to your complaint on the community website about a “Best Buy” but with poor user reviews. Well done – someone listens! 🙂


: )

It has been a long long time coming and inexplicable really why they do not have a monitoring system for this type of problem.

Unfortunately the survey does not ask about usage so I have written suggesting that unless it does it will be flawed. As many can imagine you may be given a steamer as a gift and used it once whereas others may use it daily or weekly. This rather has a bearing on the answers they will receive. It is a question they managed to ask last year with sewing machines survey so is not a novel concept.

This survey also missed a trick by not asking about the other seven steamers that Which? has tested. That would really have been interesting as the mechanical versus digital timer divide may have been resolved. AND revealed the general and specific longevity in “use”.

I have also analysed 100 and one Revoo responses out of the 186 available at Curry’s site about the Logiks. You will not be totally astonished to learn that after a months ownership the vast majority were happy. The most rated response was for a chap who complained about the USB connectors which I thinks proves that Revoo does not pick up rogue reviews.

The other interesting think is that because the reviews are dated as to when bought and response we can see the rough amount of sales and 286 in total does not suggest we are dealing in tens of thousands and makes the equal random chance of someone complaining on Which? – who has to be a subscriber , be a web user, and bought the Logiks – reasonably valid.

Overall though there were some people who had pretty immediate problems also otherwise ti may have been a pointless exercises of 9’s and 10’s.

Dave mac says:
8 August 2015

Last year I helped a friend in a dispute regarding replacement of faulty iphones, we eventually used an independent arbitration service, they took the case on and agreed a satisfactory solution with compensation between my friend and Vodafone so that worked, however; when you come to HMRC where you have no ombudsman, no independent arbitration and waiting time of up to 6 months just to get a reply to your letters, hows about setting up a crusade for that.


Hi Dave, thanks for the comment. It’s useful to know that independent arbitration worked for you. On the HMRC point, I believe the relevant ombudsman would be the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. HMRC is included in their list of public organisations that they can investigate here: http://www.ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/who-we-are/how-to-complain/government-departments-and-other-public-bodies-which-the-ombudsman-can-investigate?result_6523_result_page=3