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Moan and haveago; THE MONEY DOCTOR WITH FERGUS MUIRHEAD PS; Financial worries or just looking for better value for money? Consumer champion Fergus Muirhead can help; Don't be frightened to complain if you get a raw deal.. just do it properly.

I WANTED to thank you for publishing my complaint about home and contents insurance a couple of weeks ago in the Money Doctor pages.

I'm glad that you agree that the increase in my premium is totally unjustifiable.

Perhaps other readers will take your tips and advice on board, but with the greatest respect will it actually make any difference? After I received my renewal notice, I tried several other companies. But funnily enough, they all quoted almost identical figures to my existing insurers.

I even approached my bank, and their quote was an unbelievable PS300, more than three times last year's figure.

Having said all that, I didn't give up. I wrote to my existing insurers and after a bit of a battle, they offered a reduction of PS50 as a gesture of goodwill.

I accepted this offer and at last my home insurance is renewed. The matter is now closed and both parties are happy.

Once again, thanks for your interest and advice both to me and to other Daily Record readers.John Roach

THANKS very much for your kind words. It's good to know that readers benefit from the advice given here week after week.

I wanted to print your letter because as well as it being good to get positive feedback from readers, you also make a few interesting points that I want to pass on to other readers.

The first is that you should never, as you put it, give up when you are having a problem with a company, whether it's an insurance premium or policy like the one we were discussing above or it's to do with something you've bought in a shop or online.

If you feel that you are not getting a good deal from a company that you are dealing with, you shouldn't let the matter rest.

You won't always get the positive result that John tells us about, one that resulted in a PS50 reduction in his premium for this year. But the more we write to companies we are dealing with and let them know that we are not happy with the service they are providing us, or the way they are trying to increase our costs, then the more positive results we are likely to see. And the better that will be for all consumers.

When you do write to a company to complain, it's really important to set out your case as neatly as you can.

Don't be angry when you write and tell them the problem, as you see it, as clearly and succinctly as possible.

Tell the company why there is a problem and what it is that you want them to do for you.

There's no point just saying that you want compensation. That makes it too easy for them to be vague when they reply to you.

If you want a full refund, tell them that's what you want.

If you paid PS2000 for a holiday and the flights were all fine but you didn't think the hotel was up to scratch, then explain that to the company and ask them for an amount that you think reflects the problems that you faced.

If you think your premium is too high and expect it to be reduced by PS100, tell them that.

You may not always get what you want but it's important to set out at the outset what it is that you expect.

You also need to set a deadline. As well as telling the company you are writing to what you want them to do for you, you also need to tell them when you want it done.

And if you give them a deadline then you need to stick to it. If you say in your letter that you will be involving your solicitor if you don't hear from them within 14 days, you need to be prepared to do just that.

If you say that a lack of reply in two weeks means that you will write to the Ombudsman, then you need to write to the Ombudsman in two weeks if you haven't heard from them.

Before you write to the company, check them out online and find out who you should be writing to.

There are plenty of websites around that list the senior executives of some of the largest companies in the country and that's usually a good place to start.

Top tips When you write to complain, make sure you follow up on any promises you make in your letter.

Annual Percentage Rates allow you to compare loans. The higher the APR, the higher the cost of the loan.


RAGE Don't write your complaint while angry - state your case calmly
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 24, 2017
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