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Title - Extra Norfolk

Stand your ground and speak out
get  it right.
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By Steve Wiseman,
General Manager Norwich and District
Citizens' Advice Bureau

That’s it - you’re going to have to complain! Sometimes you simply have to stand your ground and speak out.

Whether you are complaining in a shop, to the local bus company or in a restaurant, the trick to effective complaining is to stay calm and follow our 10 top tips:


KNOW WHAT YOU WANT: think about what you want before you begin. For example do you want an apology, a change of policy, compensation or a refund?

SHOW YOU KNOW: it helps if you know your basic rights. If in doubt ask your local Citizens' Advice Bureau or Norfolk County Council Trading Standards for advice.

WHO'S WHO?: make sure you make your initial complaint to the right person. If you are unhappy with the response you receive then consider taking it to someone more senior. You don’t have to go to the top first.

DIG IN: it could take weeks or even months before your complaint is resolved. Be persistent and patient.

PROVE YOUR POINT: you will need to be able to back up what you are saying. Keep a note of all relevant information (dates, times, reference numbers, names and addresses of witnesses - even photographs if necessary).

PUT IT IN WRITING: while a telephone or personal call is often the most effective way of making a complaint, unless this resolves the issue immediately, follow it up in writing. Keep copies of all letters and a note of conversations.

STAY CALM: you don’t want to be seen as a pushover, but losing your temper will never guarantee you get what you want. Be as reasonable as you can.

PHONE A FRIEND: you don’t have to go it alone. Ask a friend, relative or an advice service to help.

DON'T DELAY: make sure you don’t leave it too late before you complain. It’s best to speak up as soon as you realise there is a problem.

THINK IT THROUGH: don’t be rushed into accepting an offer of compensation. If in doubt ask your local Citizens' Advice Bureau for advice.

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