How to complain - and get resultsWe reveal the most satisfying ways to complain

15 February 2014

Most satisfying ways to complain

Fed up with bad service or poor products? Now we can reveal the most satisfying ways to complain.

The rise of the internet - and social media in particular - means there are more ways to complain than ever.

We've found the most popular way of complaining is email, but our research shows it's not the most satisfying. 

Find out more on how to complain with our expert consumer rights advice. And read on to learn how to get the most out of your complaint...

Most satisfying ways to complain 

Six in 10 people made a complaint in the past year - with most using email or website (36%), followed by phone (28%), letter (14%), face-to-face (12%), Facebook (5%) and Twitter (3%). But just because a method is popular, it does not mean it's necessarily the most effective. 

We interviewed more than 2,000 people to uncover the most satisfying ways to complain. They are:  

  1. Complaining in person (81%)
  2. Email or website (65%)
  3. Phone (60%)
  4. Twitter (59%)
  5. Letter (58%)
  6. Facebook (57%)

And when it comes to speed, complaining in person again tops the list - with Twitter in second place.

You can learn more about the regulations which protect your consumer rights such as the Sale of Goods Act.

Putting complaints to the test


In a snapshot investigation, we tested the various methods against a selection of firms and found complaining in person, by phone and on Twitter could lead to a response in under an hour.

On the other hand, writing a letter or email to a company could result in a wait of up to 15 working days. 

Follow our expert top tips to get results:

  • Contact the company - follow any official complaints procedure and keep copies of correspondence.
  • Use our template letters - Which? experts have written dozens of template letters to help you get results when complaining.
  • Use an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme - companies in some sectors, such as telecommunications, are obliged to offer an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service.
  • Refer to an ombudsman - before you go to an ombudsman, which is a type of ADR, you usually need to have to come to an official deadlock with the company.
  • Use the small claims court - this can be a final solution if you feel a contract has been breached.
  • Use Which? Legal Service - this legal advice service offers its members unlimited access to a team of lawyers who can help you with your problem.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: 'If you’re unhappy with a product or service then don’t suffer in silence, make sure you know your rights and complain. 

'Consider which method is going to bring it to the company’s attention most efficiently for you and don’t be afraid to escalate.'

More on this...