UK consumers made 52 million complaints about products and services last year, according to new research from Ombudsman Services.
But despite many people saying they’re less likely to put up with poor service from a company than in previous years, a shocking 66 million problems were still not acted upon.
That’s almost one unreported problem for every person living in the UK.
The reason? Many said they’d rather suffer in silence than go through the perceived hassle of complaining.
But complaining isn’t as complex and time-consuming as you might think. You can find out how to solve your everyday consumer problems on the Which? Consumer Rights website.
So don’t suffer in silence. Next time you have a problem with a product our service here are three reasons you should make a complaint.
1. We all have higher expectations
Today we are more empowered than ever before, with access to almost unlimited amounts of information, choice and even more ways to engage and interact with brands.
This has given rise to a generation of digitally articulate customers with an extremely high level of expectation of what brands are offering.
And companies shouldn’t be afraid of meeting our expectations, when it comes to redress we just want the service we paid for.
Three quarters of those asked in the Ombudsman Services survey said that when they complain, all they want is for the problem to be put right.
2. There are more ways to complain than ever
More than twice as many consumers are now taking their complaints to an ombudsman rather than going to the small claims court.
There are currently more than 160 separate ombudsmen and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) schemes operating in the UK – covering sectors as diverse as energy, telecoms and double glazing.
And nearly one in ten complaints were taken to one these schemes in the last year. By contrast, fewer than one in twenty took their problem to the small claims court.
A hike of up to 81% to small-claims court fees in early 2014 undoubtedly dissuaded a few from pursuing court action, and as a result 3.6 million more complaints used non-judicial routes such as ombudsmen services and mediation schemes last year.
3. Social media makes complaining easier
Continued growth of social media offers a new way for consumers to seek justice, with the proportion of complaints on sites such as Facebook and Twitter increasing to 36% – up 5% from a year ago.
That’s more than 18 million complaints in total. And companies are taking notice, as a poorly handled complaint could significantly damage both a company’s brand and reputation.
Improving access to justice for consumers has been high on the public agenda last year with the introduction of the Consumer Rights Act. And while there’s still more to be done, it’s never been easier to get your problems dealt with.