Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

James Walker Consumer Rights Champion; Do Fewer Complaints Mean There's Less to Complain About?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

James Walker Consumer Rights Champion; Do Fewer Complaints Mean There's Less to Complain About?

Article excerpt

IF THERE'S one huge monthly outlay for many of us, it's paying for our TV services, landline phones and mobiles and broadband internet.

All of these forms of communication are crucial to the way we live our daily lives but they don't come cheap. They probably represent one of the largest chunks of monthly expenditure after our mortgage/ rent and electricity/gas bills.

And given how much we are paying for all of these packages, we shouldn't have to put up with problems.

Resolver.co.uk users regularly get in touch to tell me about issues they are suffering with bad connections, poor customer service or their bills and packages going up in price.

On the flip side there, a recent report from UK communications regulator Ofcom showed a decline in the number of complaints made between April and June 2016 about these sort of providers.

But that doesn't necessarily mean there is less to complain about. It may simply mean people aren't taking the time to complain, or are finding it hard to do so.

I know from experience - we launched Resolver to make complaining easier - that so many people are put off raising issues because they see it as wasting time, impossible to get satisfaction from big businesses and also complicated to do.

Anyone who has ever waited on hold for ages or searched fruitlessly for the right email address to contact, will know the frustrations that can be involved. That's exactly why Resolver exists.

In 2016 users of Resolver.co.uk have taken the time to raise 2,600+ issues about TV providers, 2,500+ relating to landline phones, 18,000+ about mobile networks and 14,000+ regarding internet and broadband.

I always remind people that they have far more power than they assume. Big companies can only continue to be big companies if they have customers. No-one wants to lose customers due to bad service.

And often the only time they hear or know about bad service is when people like you get in touch with them to tell them about it.

So what can you do to help with that? Here are some of my key tips for dealing with communications providers when you have a problem If you're not happy with a service, complain!

MAKE IT CLEAR YOU MAY LEAVE DON'T wait until the last minute. Know when your contract is up - put it in a diary or calendar - and tell your provider you are thinking of leaving them. They won't want to hear that. But you have no reason to stay loyal unless they are loyal to you back with a decent deal renewal. Usually they will offer you some good reasons to stay a customer, especially if you provide quotes from competitors and ask them to match the prices. However, and this is key, you don't have to accept their first offer. Even if they say it is the best possible price they can give you, it isn't always. Keep negotiating until YOU are happy. …

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