Complaining might not come naturally - but it's worth it

Resolver has helped more than a million people with complaints.
Resolver has helped more than a million people with complaints.

It’s three years now since I launched Resolver as the UK’s leading free complaint service.

In that short time, we’ve helped over a million people sort out 1.4 million complaints – and we’re expecting many more this year.

While that’s great news, there are still some things that I’d like to do better. For example, there are lots of subjects that people don’t make complaints about.

This may be because people are fed up or think the odds are stacked against them. But I doubt it’s because everybody is satisfied! One of those areas is insurance.

There are over 20 million households in the UK with car and contents insurance alone. And there are countless other insurance policies that we have that we might not even remember we have.

You only have to get chatting to people to find out that they’ve had unsatisfactory claims with insurance companies.

I spoke to one woman who was turned down after her mobile phone was stolen because the two huge thugs who accosted her didn’t use ‘violence’ - they intimidated her in to handing over her phone.

This is an extreme example, but the fact of the matter is many cheaper mobile phone insurance companies did have a clause to this effect in the T&Cs.

She didn’t pursue the complaint because she was understandably angry and frustrated.

Yet I know from my work with the ombudsman that they routinely uphold complaints about this clause as it’s ‘unfair and unreasonable’. So there are good reasons for not giving up.

Millions of people have pensions, but surprisingly few complaints are made about them.

I’ve often argued that pensions are so complicated that people don’t understand what they’ve been flogged, or what an annuity is - or their rights when it comes to deciding such an important investment.

The key rule with your pension is to ask for plain English explanations and how much commission you’re being charged. If you don’t understand, don’t sign up. If you’ve been conned, get in touch.

It’s not just financial products either. We’re working with organisations like the Gambling Commission to help make the process of making a complaint much easier.

To my surprise, people didn’t realise that they could make a complaint in relation to gambling – and there are many more industries where we can help too.

You might wonder why an industry that doesn’t seem to attract many complaints would be so keen to encourage people to come forward.

The simple answer is having a clear, straightforward way to make a complaint is good for any industry that wants to be transparent and fair.

Having a complaints process gives people using that industry’s goods or services some reassurance.

And it means that businesses can quickly learn what’s annoying their customers and change it for the better.

Most of all, I’d encourage anyone who’s unhappy with poor service or has had a problem with a business to speak to a friend or family member and get their take on things.

It’s through these conversations that you can find you have the right to be upset. And it’s through speaking to all of you that I’ve found out about really big issues, like car hire rip-offs and motor finances deals that are too expensive.

Which means I can tackle these issues and explain what businesses need to do to get things right in future.

So do let me know the problems you need help with. You’d be surprised what help is out there. And thank you.

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