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Consumers report less than a third of complaints to companies

Consumers ignored 78 million issues last year, an increase of three million from 2016, according to the report.

UK consumers experienced 173 million problems with products and services last year – but reported fewer than a third of them back to companies, according to a report.

Consumers ignored 78 million issues last year, an increase of three million from 2016, the Ombudsman Services’ fifth annual Consumer Action Monitor found.

Of all consumers, just 29% believe they can get a problem resolved by raising it, while one in five (20%) did not take the complaint further because they had done so previously and achieved nothing.

Instead, 40% of UK shoppers walked out of a shop or gave up on an online purchase before buying, up from 29% in the previous year, while 30% chose to switch providers or spend less because of disappointing experiences.

A third of shoppers (33%) said they had stopped buying from a specific brand in the past 12 months, with the report noting that “many consumers may feel that ‘protesting’ by withdrawing custom is the only way to hold firms to account”.

Last year, consumers made a total of 47 million complaints to companies across all sectors, down by eight million on the year before.

Lewis Shand Smith, chief ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said: “Consumers are understandably frustrated with poor service and when expectations are not met, the disappointment can lead to anger and frustration.

“Voting with your feet is one way you can show dissatisfaction. However, complaining is the only real way to get issues resolved, so we’d encourage anyone with a complaint to come forward and make their voices heard instead of ending up angry and uncompensated.”

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