People are always asking me how I manage to get my complaints resolved. The answer is so simple it couldn't possibly be classed as a secret. KEEP NOTES. That's it, you didn't miss any big idea, just KEEP NOTES. If I phone about something - for example a utility account or an insurance quote I make a note on the letter of the date and time I called, who I spoke to and a brief description of what was said. If you complete a transaction online keep a notebook and jot down the reference. If you have to complain in the future you've already got one thing on your side - credibility. You are the kind of person who keeps records. There's another thing you can do too - if your complaint is serious ask them to listen to their recording of the call. Regulated companies keep calls for legal reasons and many others keep them for training.
I'm not fanatical about filing, but I'm organised. I do flick back through my notebook every week and see what's outstanding or send myself email reminders. Every so often I flip through my box file of current paperwork. Yesterday I found a letter I had filed away from Direct Line Insurance.
You'll know from my previous entries that I've recently renewed my house insurance. I always get quotes using screen-scraper websites. Sometimes I'll follow up offers which offer a real incentive. Direct Line sent me a personally addressed letter inviting me to obtain a quote in exchange for a £5 Waterstones voucher. That's a fiver I can use and a quote I'm interested in receiving. Filling out the online form took about 5 minutes (£60 an hour if you prefer). I was pretty sceptical about the chances of the voucher arriving if I didn't accept the quote - which was £100 higher than my renewal quote. So, with scepticism in mind I filed the letter away to see what happened.
Of course the voucher didn't arrive. So yesterday I re-read the offer T&C. There were only 20,000 vouchers available and the offer closed 31st January. I completed my quote the day the letter arrived on 16th January. So if Direct Line say all the vouchers were allocated 1. Why were they still sending out invitations? 2. By what date were all the vouchers allocated?
There was a free-phone number for queries so I dialled it. The girl who answered (Denise at 16:58 hrs on 11 March 08 - always KEEP NOTES) said their agency only dealt with 'the pet vouchers'. I pushed her further - this was the number listed in the T&C afterall and Direct Line is heavily regulated. Denise checked with a manager - and confirmed yes they did do the Waterstones vouchers, but I'd have to call Direct Line customer services if I hadn't received one. That was all I needed to speak to her manager (Maureen - always keep notes).
Maureen has promised to speak to Direct Line and respond to me. So let's see what happens. Should be fun.
3pm update! Maureen calls back - the £5 Waterstones voucher is going out to me today. There's a limit how far you can push it with an agency who just mail things out as instructed, but for the record Direct Line didn't originally pass on my details. When I asked if they had verified the quote she said they must have done. Who knows whether they did? If you think you're due a £5 Waterstones voucher the number listed in the T&C for queries about the offer is 0800 923 5902. Do let me know if they verify the online quote you took during January...(If you get Denise you could always ask about the 'pet vouchers' - I don't have one, or want one - a pet that is).