Top Tips To Making Complaints


Obtaining a fair result to a work complaint is greatly dependent on not only the strength of the argument, but also how the issues were relayed.  The groundwork is often done before anything happens at all.


  1. Maintain Records


When embarking on a financial transaction, such as application for a mortgage, opening a new cash ISA or investing in a pension, it is important that you maintain records.  Always make a note of who you interact with, what is said in conversations, and when the interaction takes place.  Moreover, it is recommended that you maintain copies of letters and retain emails from correspondents.


While it can be time-consuming, these records can help provide an advantage if a problem should arise now or several years down the line.  Providers often assume that customers do not maintain records, thus having some ‘wiggle room’ out of complaints because of a lack of evidence.


When a problem arises, try contacting the branch via telephone or by visiting the head office.  Even in these cases, it is essential that you obtain all the facts and adhere to them.  If you change the story in the middle of the complaint, it is likely you will jeopardise the case.  Most quick-fix solutions fail, and if this is your situation then you may need to escalate the case.  Don’t think, however, that the process will be impossibly challenging.


  1. Locating The Correct Person


A great deal of time and energy can be wasted with misdirected complaints for poor service.  To avoid this situation, it is essential that you complain to the correct person.  For example, if the matter involves a case of mis-selling, then the issue will be with the individual who gave you the advice and sold the item to you, not the product provider.


In too many cases, people will choose to approach the building society or impersonal bank instead of the independent financial adviser who they should speak to.  This may be due to the complainer being anxious about complaining to a person they know.  It is recommended that you ask for information regarding the company’s complaints processes, ensuring you adhere to the stipulated timeframe.


  1. Put It Down In Writing


A letter often receives more attention than emails or telephone call.  Mark the letter as a complaint and ensure that the essential information is placed in the item, including your phone number, account details, and times when you can be contacted (if necessary).  If feasible, you should avoid filing a complaint until after your vacation period as people are not always contactable over this time, or you will not have access to the required information.


It is important to keep the correspondence succinct and clearly state what your problem is.  Do not attempt to discuss peripheral issues in your letter.  Outline the resolution you hope to achieve, but keep the solution reasonable.  Consider how the solution can be justified as all inflated demands will reduce the chance of the complaint being considered.


  1. Ensure Original Documentation Is Safe


Do not send the company original documentation unless necessary.  It is recommended that you have copies made and acquire the ‘proof of posting’ at your Post Office.  This does not cost anything and should be kept among all important documents.  Remember, don’t send your complaint to all people – when a letter is sent to several departments, it is likely that it will be placed at the bottom of the pile.


  1. Turn On Your Charm


When making a complaint, it is advised that you are polite in the correspondence.  Of course, you should not be obsequious as this may see the message be misinterpreted as a letter of praise, not blame.  If filing a complaint seems too daunting, perhaps because of old age or disability, it may be useful to gain assistance in writing the letter from organizations like Citizens Advice.


  1. Be Patient And Available


While it may be frustrating to be contacted at inconvenient moments, saying you have other tasks to complete could mean that the provider may not return your call for a long period of time.  Biding your time before involving another other external parties, and not being impatient for responses can make the complaint procedure simpler.  Remember, it is simple to send a negative response quickly; however, careful reviews can take time.  Of course, providers are required to comply with the company’s procedural timescales.


  1. Choose Your Battles Wisely


Do not become a serial complainant.  Having a record of complaints regarding small matters can weaken any serious complaints made in the future.


  1. Stay Optimistic


Above all, try to keep the complaint in perspective and do not let it wear you down.

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