• Restorative Justice Training
How to make a complaint

How to make a complaint? Well, not like him!

There are some things that work well, and some things that don’t. Getty angry or even abusive is definitely in the second of these two categories. For one thing, it can give the person or agency that you are complaining to an excuse not to listen to you. So, what should you do?

Keep great notes

In my experience most people don’t do this. If lots of people are making complaints to the same organisation it becomes a bit of a competition. You need to stand out from the complaining crowd. Keeping an accurate timeline of your communication with whoever you are complaining to will put you ahead of the game. You should be able to say who you spoke to (or emailed, or live chatted with), when and exactly what was said.

It really helps if you let the person you are talking to know that you are taking notes and that you have made a record of their name. The easiest way to do this is to keep using their name in the conversation.


Don’t let the conversation end without summarising your understanding of what has been said and especially what has been agreed. This is important for a few reasons. It helps to make sure that you haven’t missed anything. It can highlight if there have been any misunderstandings. But most importantly of all, it reminds them that you have been taking notes. This makes it very difficult for them to claim later that there has been any misunderstanding.

If at first you don’t succeed … give up!

‘Try, try again’ is loser talk. Do not reinforce failure. If you don’t get a satisfactory outcome at the first point of contact, don’t go there again. You’ve tried. You’ve given them the chance to fix things at the front line. They’ve failed. Now you are fully justified in doing the next bit.

Shout to the top

I can usually hear Paul Weller singing at this point. You’ve tried to resolve things with the customer service team or the contact centre or whatever they are called. But they haven’t fixed the problem like they should have done. So don’t mess around. Go straight to the top guy or gal. https://www.ceoemail.com/ is a site that I use to get CEOs’ email addresses. My experience is that emailing them directly with a short, informal message that explains the issue and what you have done to try to resolve it works. I have made it work with my social landlord, with PayPal and with many other organisations.

So what are you waiting for? Happy complaining!

How to Make a Complaint