Despite consumers having made almost double the number of complaints about businesses than last year, they are increasingly choosing not to raise issues directly with companies, the Ombudsman Services has found.
The average number of complaints has risen to 4.2 per person this year, compared with 2.5 in 2018, according to the latest Consumer Action Monitor report - a record number in the report's six-year history.
One in five customers (21%) also say they trust businesses less now than they did a year ago.
Of the people who did complain, most did so about the retail sector - 24% regarding offline experiences and 20% online - followed by energy (13%) and telecoms (12%).
Complaining fills half the population with dread according to the research.Instead people are switching to other providers, suffering in silence or taking to social media to air their grievances, rather than making an official complaint to a company.
The majority of people (88%) believe that new technology should make it easier to complain, but 60% of those asked still think that traditional complaints (such as in person or over the phone) work better.
People say they will continue using these methods because there is a need for the 'human touch'.
For younger people however, Twitter and Facebook is the mostpopular place to complain. Around three in five (57%) millennials believe that companies are more approachable this way.
Around six in ten (63%) find the complaints process highly stressful. An overwhelming seven in ten (70%) of vulnerable consumers 'suffered in silence' and did not complain at all.
The retail sector received the largest share of complaints this year, from both online and in-store shoppers.
If you've bought something online and your delivery has gone missing, you should complain to the retailer that you made the purchase from. This is the case even if your missing parcel might have been caused by poor service from the courier.
Broadband and energy customers are also unhappy. When we've surveyed consumers, inaccurate bills and meter readings were among the most common problems energy customers faced.
If you haven't been able to resolve your issue by complaining, you might be able to get a better service (and price) by switching.