How to complain

If you feel aggrieved as either a customer or a trader there are a number of courses of action that you can take.

Confront a misleading practice

If you think that a trader has a misleading practice, then speak to him or her. Given the messy policy of successive governments many traders may be using a practice without being aware that it is detrimental to their customers. Traders who care about their long-term business want to go out of their way to be fair to their customers and will be open to constructive criticism.

Use constructive questions like "have you ever thought of pricing your goods in this way, to make it easier for your customers?", or "do you see how this type of practice could be misleading?"

Complain to Trading Standards

If talking to a retailer does not work you can involve Trading Standards. Britain has regulations to protect the consumer or trader against unfair practices. If regulations are infringed any consumer can go to their local trading standards department with a complaint.

If you do so, make sure that any complaint can be properly substantiated. Documenting the precise details of your complaint is very important.

Further tips are:

  • Be sure that you accurately record the details for your complaint so that they can be substantiated.
  • Take photos if appropriate.
  • Try to complain to the trader before complaining to the authorities – most traders want to keep their customers.
  • Bear in mind that UK regulation has some flaws and that not all consumer issues are adequately covered.