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Top five sectors for consumer complaints

Escalated complaints get good results for consumers

Complaints 2

Telecoms, energy, money, public services and parking top the sectors that give people the most cause for complaints, according to Which? research.

We surveyed 3,621 members of the public this summer about their experiences of resolving complaints.

Although many gave up at the first stage, when people did escalate issues to an independent scheme such as an ombudsman, 68% of cases were upheld in the consumer’s favour.

Read our guide on when to complain to an ombudsman.

Consumer complaint dissatisfaction

Our survey found that six in 10 people who’d tried to resolve complaints directly were left dissatisfied, yet almost half of them hadn’t taken their complaints further.  

Reasons included not knowing that there were complaint schemes, fearing that the process would be too complicated and not believing that they’d be successful.

Complaint success by sector

Our research also found that chances of winning an escalated complaint – such as a company being told to apologise, give compensation or take remedial action – varied greatly by sector.

Escalated complaints to do with energy and telecoms – including broadband, mobile and landline services – proved very successful in 2013/2014.

According to ombudsman complaints data, we found that 95% of people who complained to the energy ombudsman, and 86% who complained to the communications ombudsman, won their cases.

During the same period, 58% of consumers who had complained to the financial ombudsman won their case, while for public service complaints to the parliamentary and health ombudsman, only 42% of cases were upheld.

In 2012/2013, just over half of motorists who’d appealed their parking tickets to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal were successful.

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