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The Wizard3 Profile
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Registered: 06-2006
Location: Castle Belgalor
Posts: 2201
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Consumer Rights - How to complain and get results


There are ways to complain when things go wrong, break or even don't work at all. I have like most people have had things go wrong when I've purchased goods from shops and companies.

Most people try and complain but in the end they just shrug it off or even forget about and say they won't buy from there again.

But hang on there people, these people have taken your money and given you something that is worthless, they are in profit and you are out of pocket.

It seems we're not called 'Rip-Off Britain' for nothing, despite the millions of pounds invested by well intentioned companies to improve staff training and customer care.

The problem with of unreliable goods and second-rate service is I think is still far too widespread in the consumer industries.

No matter what businesses say about welcoming constructive criticism and customer feedback, the simple truth is that companies don't like complaints because

a) They are an intrusion to the business of making money
b) They cost money to deal with.

Companies now have actually toughened their stance against complainers, so getting justice even with the most legitimate of issues, has become a real art form.

Those with the temerity to stand up for their rights are often labelled as whingers, members of today's rampant compensation culture.

Take it from me, don't be afraid of complaining, I think it vital that you do. If you let some businesses continue to give you a bad service and do nothing about it, nothing will change.

Here are my tips to help you get added protection:

For all purchases over £100, always pay by credit card such as Visa or Mastercard (if you own them). This gives you added rights under Section 75 of The Consumer Credit Act 1974

If by and chance the trader goes bust, your goods become faulty or there is another breach of contract, the credit card company is equally liable along with the seller, I found out from a friend of mine today that this also applies to transactions made abroad with your credit card.


Here are a few of my tips you can use when complaining face to face

1. Before confronting staff, research your rights, know what you are going to say and rehearse beforehand so you'll appear confident
2. Ensure you have your receipt and the faulty goods if this is practical.
3. Always deal with management or key staff, It's a waste of time dealing with a school kid or new employee who can't make a decision.
4. Remain polite and maintain eye contact if you can, this works very well for me. Be assertive, NOT aggressive.
5. Make sure if it's possible to complain in front of other customers. Managers don't like a fuss and may give you a refund just to get rid of you.
6. Suggest a suitable outcome and be persistant, keep control of the discussion, don't let them control you or the discussion.

If you are writing a letter of complaint try and use these tips, worked for me in the passed and still does.

1. Find out the name of the key director and address letters personally. Never send 'Dear Sir' or 'To whom it may concern' letters, these go straight in their bin.
2. I always use quality business stationary, don't use a lined A4 refill pad paper, looks tacky and cheap. Write your letter first on some cheap lined paper first then if it looks the business, copy it onto your nice stationary paper. NEVER type a letter, your handwriting whether it is good or bad will certainly make a first impression. It will show them you took the time to actually write it.
3. Keep the letter brief, but to the point, mentioning key facts and how your consumer rights have been breached by their company.
4. Conclude by stating what you want and giving a deadline for a reply but don't use threatening words yet.

Sometimes one letter is not enough to get action or results, if you have to write again try and remember these points..

1. Refer to your previous correspondence, restate your rights and say what decisive action you'll take unless you receive full satisfaction.
2. Set a deadline and STICK TO IT. Never intimate or threaten something you are not prepared to do.

I purchased an MP3 player myself back in October 2006 which was on a Special Offer at Currys Digital, this retailed for normally £54.99 but only cost me £24.99. Today it went dead and wouldn't come back to life again.

Luckily for me I still had the receipt in my wallet so I went into the store after work to get it replaced. Note how I said 'to get it replaced' not 'try and get it replaced'.

I had all the ammunition I needed. The player and the receipt. In I went to the mp3 player sales desk. I asked to see either the assistant manager or senior sales assistant before I asked anything else.

The assistant asked why and I told him what was wrong, he said I can help you with that, not having that I said I'd rather speak to someone higher than you (being polite and assertive) this worked, so I was 1-0 up.

Again, keeping eye contact with the senior sales assistant I explained I bought an mp3 player from here in October last year and it is now not working. His first words were "Have you a receipt sir?" Now, I like that because he being polite.

Receipt handed over but it was faded in a section which needed to be scanned. Out came the excuses..

Because it was unscanable it would be difficult to replace it and offered a refund. I said I don't wish for a refund I wish to have the item replaced. I stated that I paid cash for the item, it clearly stated that on the receipt and it was bought from this store on the date shown.

Now the price of the mp3 player in the shop was £54.99 and I got it for £24.99. He wanted me to make up the difference in price if I wanted it replaced because it purchased a while ago

I said it had only been just over 3months from when I bought it, it's not working and I want it replaced please. He then said I may have to speak to the manufacturer if I wanted it replaced. Now, I done my homework here because I know for a fact that the legal contract of the sale of the mp3 player is between the buyer (me) and the seller (currys digital).

I said if the item is not replaced my statutory consumer rights have been breached and I'll report the incident with the Trading Standards Department. On saying this he looked again at me and said, one moment sir, I'm just going to check with my supervisor with this.

On returning he said he will be replacing the mp3 player and no additional fee will be neccessary. Happy with that I accepted the agreement. So, one new mp3 player for me, one non-working mp3 player for them and I saved a whopping £30 !!

These are the common excuses

"We only give credit notes, its' company policy"
A credit note in exchange for faulty goods might be company policy but can never supersede the law. If you've lost your receipt and can't provide proof of purchase, such as a bank statement, then you may have to take a credit note

"Speak to the manufacturer, it's their problem"
WRONG ! - The legal contract of sale is between the buyer and the seller. Any manufacturer's warranty is an addition to, not a replacement of your statutory rights, which will ALWAYS fall against the seller.

"We can't do anything, it's been too long"
Even if your manufacturer's warranty has expired, your statutory consumer rights actually last up to 6yrs!! But depending on how much time has passed, you will need to be fairly realistic in your expectations.

"We don't give refunds"
If goods are faulty and you complain straight away, you are entitled to a refund and should NEVER accept accept anything less. Signs saying 'No Refunds' are illegal and should be reported to the Trading Standards.

The Wizard3, 6/9/08, 9:06
20/1/07, 20:34 Link to this Post Send a PM to this person Blog
 
sasastro Profile
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Registered: 11-2005
Location: LaLa Land
Posts: 57
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Re: Consumer Rights - How to complain and get results


I'm at the stage of writing to the PC makers head office about the service and the item being unfit for it's purpose. I will keep you informed. Thanks for the info Wizard

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20/1/07, 21:09 Link to this Post Send an Email to this person   Send a PM to this person Blog
 
The Wizard3 Profile
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Registered: 06-2006
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Re: Consumer Rights - How to complain and get results


Go get 'em sas emoticon
20/1/07, 21:11 Link to this Post Send a PM to this person Blog
 
sasastro Profile
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Registered: 11-2005
Location: LaLa Land
Posts: 57
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Re: Consumer Rights - How to complain and get results


I am also going to refuse to let them pick it up for repair, I am going to tell them I am seeking legal advice

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20/1/07, 21:12 Link to this Post Send an Email to this person   Send a PM to this person Blog
 
susanababy Profile
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Registered: 05-2005
Posts: 416
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Re: Consumer Rights - How to complain and get results


Good luck Sas, And thanks for this Wiz..


Gooooooo Get em... :gun

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Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its breaking..

21/1/07, 12:18 Link to this Post Send a PM to this person YIM
 
The Wizard3 Profile
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Registered: 06-2006
Location: Castle Belgalor
Posts: 2201
Karma: 3 (+3/-0)
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Re: Consumer Rights - How to complain and get results


*bump*
19/1/09, 1:02 Link to this Post Send a PM to this person Blog
 


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