Woman on a mobile phone complaining

New research shows many of us are not fully confident complaining

If you do have any reason for complaint, be sure to raise this with your suppliers.

Research published today by Switcher.ie shows only four in ten telecoms and energy customers who previously complained to their providers felt fully confident doing so.

In the course of any relationship with a service provider, it’s not unusual to have some issues from time-to-time - in fact, the research shows that six in ten telecoms customers and three in ten energy customers have raised complaints with their suppliers in the past. The complaints ranged from things like problems with the service, to issues with billing, or the introduction of a price increase.

So common are complaints that all suppliers have a Code of Practice on Complaints Handling. If you’re not sure where to start when making a complaint, read on to find out the steps you should take…

Making a complaint to your supplier

In the first instance, if you have an issue you should contact your supplier to discuss it with them. You can do so by phone, email or post, and many suppliers also have online help centres now too, so choose whichever method works best for you and get the ball rolling.

When you contact your supplier, outline your complaint clearly, and be sure to include contact details so that they can update you on the status of your complaint.

When will the complaint be resolved?

Your supplier’s code of conduct will outline the timelines within which they aim to respond to complaints, but if you want clarity on it, ask them when you get in touch.

To give you an idea, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) says that generally suppliers will acknowledge and resolve customer complaints within a few days and consumers should have a final answer within two months.

This timeframe may be extended for technical reasons, or if the consumer is not engaging. If the timeframe is extended for any reason the supplier has to communicate the new timeline to you.

What if my complaint isn’t resolved?

Almost six in ten people who had complained in the past said that their complaint was rectified by their supplier, while a further 24% of energy complaints and 20% of telecoms complaints were explained but not rectified.

On top of this, suppliers were pretty prompt in terms of dealing with complaints, with six in ten complaints resolved within a week. In terms of more complex complaints, a quarter of energy and telecoms customers were waiting three weeks or more for their issue to be resolved.

So it seems like the vast majority of complaints are explained or rectified fairly quickly. However, there will always be exceptions to this - but don’t worry if your complaint is one of these, you can:

  • escalate the complaint within your supplier;
  • seek advice from the Citizens Information centre; or
  • escalate the complaint to the relevant regulatory body, such as ComReg or the CRU.

In terms of logging a complaint with ComReg, you’ll need to give them your contact details, the account name number, details of the complaint (including any reference number), and details of any previous dealings with your supplier. You should also be able to give them a clear idea of what you hope to achieve by raising your complaint.

Meanwhile, the CRU has a helpful guide on escalating a complaint, which is a good reference if you’ve already exhausted the complaints process with your supplier and aren’t satisfied.

Should I switch if my complaint is not resolved?

While the majority of complaints are resolved by suppliers, it is possible that occasionally you may have a complaint that can’t be resolved for whatever reason.

If this is the case, and the particular problem is a red-line issue for you, it would definitely be worth seeing if you can move to a supplier that can rectify it for you.

Almost half of people whose broadband, TV, phone and mobile complaints were not resolved said they switched to a new supplier, while four in ten people with unresolved energy complaints switched away.

Switching is quick and easy using Switcher.ie’s broadband deal checker, SIM-only comparison and accredited gas and electricity comparison tool.