Ready, steady, moan...how Yorkshire consumers are leading the fight against bad service
A NEW survey has revealed that Yorkshire folk are less likely to put up and shut up when it comes to shoddy goods and services than any other region in the UK.
According to the Ombudsman Services, people in the Yorkshire and Humberside region made more than 7.9m ‘official’ complaints last year, almost two per person.
The South East (7.8m), London (7.6m) and the North West (5.3m) were the other regions with the greatest readiness to seek redress after being dissatisfied in their dealings with companies and shops.
Research in the third annual Consumer Action Monitor shows that 23 per cent of complaints related to issues with retailers, with faulty products the most common cause of dissatisfaction amongst consumers. The next most problematic sectors were telecommunications (16 per cent), energy (13 per cent) and public transport (seven per cent).
Worryingly, the Ombudsman Service found that 66 million problems were not acted upon by the companies who had failed to meet their customers’ expectations in 2015.
When it comes to redress, consumers just want the service they paid for, with three-quarters saying when they complain they want the problem to be put right.
Contrition on the part of the company can also go a long way, with 48 per cent of people saying they would be happy with an apology. Less than a third of people said they expect financial compensation.
Consumers are increasingly likely to use social media to get a complaint or problem addressed - of those that escalated a complaint, more than a third (18 million complaints) used social media to do so.
However, the perceived effort of making a complaint puts consumers off getting an issue solved. Of those who did not take their complaint to the supplier or a third party, 45 per cent said it was too much hassle and (8 per cent said they could not be bothered.
Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “We’re still seeing consumers ignore millions of problems each year because they’d rather suffer in silence than go through the perceived hassle of complaining – but it’s not as complex and time-consuming as they might think.
“At a time when it is becoming more expensive to take court action, alternative dispute resolution, including ombudsmen, is an important and growing part of the civil justice system as a whole.
“Improving access to justice for consumers has been high on the public agenda this year, with the introduction of a new EU directive and the Consumer Rights Act, but there’s still more that can be done.
“Forward-thinking companies are starting to sign up to alternative dispute resolution services, which are free for their customers – with the continued increase of social media, a poorly handled complaint could significantly damage both their brand and reputation.”