What do customers complain about the most?

What product or service do customers complain about the most - and if you need to complain what rights do you have under the law? The charity Citizens Advice received 500,000 calls and 3.6 million website visits in 2019. The most complained about items were as follows:

1. Second Hand Cars
Problems with second hand cars regularly top the list of complaints. During 2019 Citizens Advice received 57,000 enquiries relating to problems with used vehicles. Around 80% of these complaints were about defective or broken vehicles, while 7% of customers said they had been misled when buying the vehicle.
THE LEGAL POSITION - It’s important for customers to remember that they have different rights depending on where they bought the vehicle. Buying a car through a trader provides more protection as the vehicle must be of satisfactory quality, meet its description during the sales process, and be fit for its intended purpose. If you buy from a private seller then they are legally not allowed to lie about the vehicle, but they can ‘omit’ information.

2. Home improvements
In 2019 Citizens Advice received 46,182 requests for help from people who had experienced problems with building work, home improvements or decorating.
THE LEGAL POSITION - If work has not been completed with reasonable care and skill, then the trader should fix it without charge within a reasonable amount of time. This includes putting the plan, price and timeframe in writing before any work begins, and taking photographs before and after the work is done, along with a diary of progress.

3. Furniture
Three-quarters of the 20,000 calls received by Citizens Advice about furniture were relating to items that were not fit for their intended purpose.
THE LEGAL POSITION - If an item is broken, damaged, or unusable when bought then the customer will have substantial rights. However if the customer wants a refund or replacement then the outcome will depend on the circumstances behind that request. If the item was damaged due to wear and tear during use, or if the buyer simply changed their mind after taking the product home, then they can't claim a refund.

4. Technology devices
Most people use technology devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets. Citizens Advice received 19,000 enquiries about such products in 2019, and two-thirds of the complaints were relating to devices that were broken or faulty.
THE LEGAL POSITION - Buyers have a legal right to a refund if they contact the seller within 30 days of unknowingly buying something that doesn't work properly.

5. Clothing and footwear
There were 14,500 calls to Citizens Advice for assistance from people who wanted to know their rights after buying clothes or shoes.
THE LEGAL POSITION - Different shops have different policies regarding the return of unused items when a customer has simply changed their mind about a purchase. However, these rights are stronger when the product is bought online, as the law allows for a 14 day ‘cooling-off’ period with online purchases. When buying online, it is also the responsibility of the seller to ensure the delivery of the merchandise was successful.

If you need information and advice about customer complaints click here or call Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.

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