New 66099 Rant & Rave hotline sends complaints direct to offenders

A new service allows you to publicly send complaints or praise directly to companies, but will it have any difference?

Angry customers can now share their complaints through the hotline Rant & Rave, which will be passed on directly to the companies in question.

Unhappy or happy customers can tweet, call or text the hotline on 66099. It will forward complaints onto companies so they can try to rectify the problems.

The hotline is all about real-time engagement and you can see a live stream of messages on the website, which is free to call and costs a standard message rate to text.

Brands can also use it for free to get a better understanding of what their customers are thinking and how they can improve their service.

Rant & Rave
Examples of recent posts, which are listed in chronological order, include one person who text the company and said: "M&S Mother's day flowers were a big let-down this year bought from ASDA instead," and another tweeting: "Bought a packard bell notebook - used twice and it wouldn't shut down, load etc - had a fight to get a refund."

The hotline means customers you don't need to spend hours on hold trying to get through to a company, though there's still no guarantee you'll get a response.

If you do choose to go down more traditional routes, check out How to beat the call centre queues.

How to complain
When something goes wrong, be it a lost package or a faulty product, the complaints procedure can be long and tedious. It normally involves several phone calls and hours on hold which means many people will put up with shoddy service rather than pursuing a complaint.

The best way to complain is to go directly to the company first in writing and depending on the company in question, if it doesn't respond within in a given time, or doesn't respond satisfactorily, take the complaint further – to an organising body or the MD.

Our article - How to complain and fight for your rights – gives step-by-step details on how best to complain.

If it's a financial services complaint, for example, go to The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if you're not getting anywhere with the company. Full details of how to use the FOS can be found in our piece - Financial Ombudsman Service: how to complain to the FOS.

Social media feeds are also a good route, especially as these put you into direct contact with a company. As companies aren't keen on having complaints aired across Twitter they will generally be more willing to sort out the problem with you quickly to stop it escalating across the social network.

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