How to complain and get results

Which? interviewed over 2,000 people and can now reveal the most popular and most satisfying ways to complain

  • Six in ten (61%) people have made a complaint in the past year and the most popular method of complaining was email or website (36%), followed by phone (28%), letter (14%), face-to-face (12%), Facebook (5%) and Twitter (3%).
  • The most satisfying way of complaining was face-to-face with eight in ten (81%) of those who complained satisfied with this method. The next most satisfying ways of complaining were email or website (65%), phone (60%), Twitter (59%), letter (58%) and Facebook (57%).
  • Complaining was in person was the method that left people most satisfied with the speed of response (85%) with Twitter coming second (67%) despite not being a particularly popular method.
  • In a snapshot investigation, we tested the various methods against some companies which score highly within their sectors for customer service/satisfaction in our surveys and found that complaining in person, by phone and on twitter could lead to a response in under an hour, whereas writing a letter or email to a company could result in a wait of up to 15 working days in some cases.


Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:

“If you’re unhappy with a product or service then don’t suffer in silence, make sure you know your rights and complain. Choose the way to contact the company that’s going to bring your problem to their attention most efficiently for you and don’t be afraid to escalate your complaint to the top.”


Find free advice on how to complain on our Consumer Rights site.


Top tips to get results:

  1. Contact the company- follow any official complaints procedure and keep copies of correspondence.
  2. Use our template letters– Which? experts have written dozens of template letters to help you get results when complaining.
  3. Use an ADR scheme- companies in some sectors, such as telecommunications, are obliged to offer an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service.
  4. Refer to an ombudsman- before you go to an ombudsman, which is a type of ADR, you usually need to have to come to a deadlock with the company.
  5. Use the small claims court- this can be a final solution if you feel a contract has been breached.
  6. Use Which? Legal Service– this service offers its members unlimited access to a team of lawyers who can help you with your problem.


Notes to editors:

1. Populus, on behalf of Which?, interviewed 2,063 UK adults online between 20th and 22nd  December 2013. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules