Are we a nation of complainers now?
This question was asked this morning on the radio, as a new Ombudsman has been appointed for all consumers, now we can take all our complaints to the new website ,and have a champion to fight our cause.
The television and the radio have two powerful consumer oriented shows, Watchdog, has been going strong for many many years,and keeps coming back for a new series and has thousands of followers and contributors. You and Yours is the show on radio 4, they both are very powerful,but obviously there is so much demand that the government has seen fit to appoint an Ombudsman for consumers.
One downside of this is he will charge businesses £45 for the use, which can be quite a lot of money for small businesses who are already struggling.
Listening to the show today,there were some horrendous stories, often businesses not responding at all or just giving lame excuses rather than listening to complaints. One lady talked about her very “expensive British luxury car” , when she had a puncture on the motorway, the company took 9 hours to send their breakdown vehicle , obviously no one else could change a tyre on that car,it must have be really special).
Companies who wouldn’t give a phone number , but just a post box and will never respond to complaints.
On then there were call centre operators,who bemoaned how aggressive we get as consumers ,so obviously there are two sides as usual, to every story.
I think one down side to this is that if businesses are paying to the Ombudsman, they will raise their prices to us the consumers.
Often people are not aggressive, they only want acknowledgement and some kind of resolve.
There is a general belief that we have become more litigious and constantly moan, often not true.
After being a carer (a nurse) in the NHS, I also worked as a complaints officer for a while,most people who complained were not after money, they wanted someone to accept responsibility,listen to them and just say sorry. Most were happy with that. But now there are so many law firms around who specialise in getting you compensation that yes ,perhaps there is a new industry has come into being.
The NHS now does all the possible tests now,which may or may not be necessary , just to safeguard, a kind of defensive medicine. Nurses spend a lot more time ticking boxes and writing details of care,rather than spending that time by the bedside.
So do you welcome a new Ombudsman to deal with every little grievances, or can most disputes be solved by calmly discussing the issue?
And do we give enough praise when we do get good service? irritating though it is ,but every time I use a service/online shop , I immediately get a questionnaire asking for feed back on the transaction/discussion.I do praise good service,irritating though it is to tick boxes.
So do you welcome another consumer champion or you think it will only make things complicated?
Have you complained/have had the reason to complain recently?