Is the best way to complain by phone or email?

When it comes to making a complaint, the reality is that many companies have their own official complaints procedure, so it’s important to check this before taking any action. Be sure to follow their instructions carefully, and if you find you need to escalate your complaint to another level at a later date, be sure to refer back to it.  If you can’t find anything about their complaints procedure, then give them a call to find out.

Phone vs. email

When you make complaints via email, sometimes it can feel impersonal, and it’s easy to get impatient waiting for a response (even if they say they’ll get back to you in 24 hours or less). Meanwhile, if you call and speak to someone in person, this can give you a real sense of reassurance that action will be taken (depending on the company and person you speak to, of course).

In short, getting in the habit of using a combination of both methods can prove to be the best way forward. This is because it’s easy to gather your thoughts in an email, and keep a record of your correspondence with the company. Over the phone, you’re more likely to know where you stand  faster, but you may get flustered or ‘fobbed off’ with a less-than-professional response.

Whichever method you plan on using, here are a few top tips for making your complaint a success…

Prepare your case

There’s no point wasting days or weeks moaning to your friends and family if something isn’t right; there’s no time like the present to start getting things sorted.

The first step is to take some time to prepare your case, so you know your rights before you make a complaint and you can be sure you don’t miss anything out. Then, have a think about how you can communicate your problem in the clearest possible terms, whether that’s in writing over on email or in person over the phone. And it can also help to consider what they could do to make things right (be sure to be reasonable)


Make contact ASAP

Once you’ve prepared your case fully, and you have a sound idea of your rights and how to explain your complaint, then you should get in touch with the company as soon as possible. The quicker you get the ball rolling, the faster the problem can be resolved.

You should let them know what your complaint is, explain your problem as fully as you can, and ask what they can do to solve your issues. If you’ve researched your rights and you know what you’re entitled to, feel free to mention this; it could help to show you’re in-the-know.

Whether your first step is contacting them by phone or email, it’s really important to get things moving as soon as you can. Doing it while it’s fresh in your mind will give you momentum, and you should be able to make a much stronger argument. And when you do make contact, it can be useful to keep the full names of the people you deal with on file, in case you need to reference them in future.

Always remain calm

When it comes to speaking to customer service teams by phone or email, you should always stay cool, calm and collected. You should try your best to make sure your tone doesn’t become heated, especially if you’re speaking to someone in person. No matter what your complaint, or how frustrated you are with the process, it’s worth bearing in mind that the person dealing with you will usually be trying their best to help you out.

There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to make a complaint to a company, but you need to give them a change to make things right.

Fight for your rights

It can really pay to do your research before you make a complaint. There are plenty of helpful resources available online (for example, to help you gain a comprehensive understanding of your rights as a consumer, so be sure to make the most of this information.

If you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall during the course of your complaint, don’t give up; just keep trying, and don’t be afraid to take your complaint to a higher level if you believe you have a strong case.