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Customer complaints rise to 1 per second in the UK

11 February 2014

New research in the UK reveals that unhappy customers made a complaint about products and services nearly once a second in 2013.

According to the Ombudsman Services there were 38 million complaints last year, which worked out to a complaint every 1.2 seconds.

Energy, retail and internet telecoms were the most common sectors for complaints, followed by transport and travel.

Consumers in the UK were found to be keen on taking action when they had a problem, with 32 per cent saying they were more likely to complain about poor service now than they were a year ago.

However, according to Ombudsman Services millions of people with legitimate complaints chose not to press the matter, and an estimated 40 million problems were not pursued.

Ombudsman Services, which helps resolve disputes between consumers and the energy, broadband and mobile companies and property sectors operates separately from Financial Ombudsman Service.

Many customers felt making out a complaint was 'not worth the hassle' or had no confidence that companies would do anything to help.

The legal process also discouraged consumers, with only 6 per cent of problems addressed through the small claims courts.

Ombudsman Services, which is free to consumers, said that energy complaints alone had doubled in the last year.

More than 1,805 energy complaints were received in December alone, a 106 per cent rise as against the same month in 2012.

According to the report although 38 million complaints were made last year, 40 million more complaints went unreported as consumers suffered in silence.

The most complaints were received against energy and retail sector with 17 per cent of people complaining about both sectors respectively.

Consumers were not happy with internet telecoms with 14 per cent complaining about a service last year, while holidays (6 per cent ) and transport (5 per cent ) also failed to live up to consumer expectations.

According to Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, although more people were complaining about poor service, too many were still put off, which was the reason they had launched their free consumer rights website full of advice.

He added businesses, needed to improve their complaints procedures but the law also needed to be made simpler and clearer so that consumers who faild to get a satisfactory response to their complaint could take their case to an ombudsman or the small claims court.

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