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Trying to write a a strongly worded letter

(11 Posts)
HexBramble Sun 17-May-15 07:47:06

I'm trying to write a strongly worded letter of complaint to a nationwide garage that's charged me huge prices for a job that didn't sort out the problem. Here's a link to the saga if you're interested.

Everything sounds far too 'nice' in my head and I think it's my pleasant and friendly disposition which has got me royally ripped off, I think. I want my letter to mean business and I'm just not able to do it.

I don't care if it's just a few short sentences, or a few suggestions, I'll take all the advice I can get. Please!


Ashbeeee Sun 17-May-15 08:40:21

Before you write be clear what outcome you want from the letter. Do a rough structure. Keep sentences short and factual. Try to find the name of someone senior in the company and send it to him/her direct, marked PERSONAl, for the attention of x'. Good way to find this is via Google and if that does not bear fruit, try looking at one of their annual reports (about us section on company website usually has this). The CEO often does the intro to annual report. Each CEo office will have staff trained to deal with this stuff and it's much faster/ more effective to go to the top. Copy in the marketing/PR department of you can find even an email address. I ince complained to Tesco CEO and had some minion on the phone sweating , trying to resolve the issue. Nice. grin

Be clear that this is a complaint that you EXPECT to be resolved. Eg I am writing to complain / with a further complaint about x. this situation has been going on for x time, and I insist on a response form you by x date, and remedial action to be taken by x date. I have set out below a short summary of the issue. also attached are previous emails/invoices/cores penance/advertising to assist you in a speedy resolution. Replay their own advertising and slogans back at this point 'x company promises to do this and in my case you did this instead'. (Marketing people hate that).

Middle: set out clearly the grievance. Short sentences, factual, keep emotion out of it. Dates, times, costs you've incurred etc

End: set out the action you REQUIRE and the timeframe you require them to be done ie not begging nicely with washy washy requests. This is also where the threats/ consequences come in. If you do not do xx I will be forced to do yy. Good threats include small claims court, raising your case with the Guardian (or other media outlet) and giving bad publicity, escalation to CEO, Twitter and social media (consider that anyway as it often gets swifter action) or local Trading Standards.

End with a short sentence that shows your reasonableness eg ' I trust that x company will welcome this final chance to rectify it's appalling customer service in this case and start to restore your previously good reputation and brand. I look forward to your written response by [date]

Yours faithfully (if letter starts dear sir/madam)
Sincerely if starts with a named person.

Don't forget your address, customer no etc (put this below address and above the 'dear'
RE: complaint about xxxx cust ref: xxxx invoice no: xxx

Hope this helps. Good luck !

HexBramble Sun 17-May-15 08:48:14

Ashbee, this is more than helpful - fantastic. I cannot thank you enough. You have given my thoughts real structure. thanks in bucket loads.

Could I please ask you another question?

The Manager I spoke to in the garage (when I returned to complain) was a cover manager. He willingly gave the name of the Area Manager as the person I should contact. Should I write to only him? Or should I Cc the CEO office as well?

As for outcome - I'm not sure how to be specific on this. I don't expect to have a full refund - after all, I've unwittingly had new calipers, pads and brakes out of this so I expect to pay for these (even though it didn't sort the problem). I also expect to pay for the shite tyres I was mis-sold, but at a reasonable cost. Like you said, I want to give a specific expected outcome, otherwise it will sound wishy washy and they'll MAYBE fob me off with a token £50. Not sure on this one!

HexBramble Sun 17-May-15 17:19:47

One last bump to maybe catch some wise women for advice.

prism Sun 17-May-15 17:40:45

Did you pay by credit card? In which case you can potentially get all your money back if you complain to the card provider. I did this once with a dodgy plumber who claimed to have done work to my boiler when in fact he had done nothing. It was 100% successful. If you tell your credit card company that the garage didn't do what you asked (ie fix them problem) and can provide no evidence of doing the brakes or that they needed doing (replacing calipers is pretty unusual and they should be able to show you the old ones and what's wrong with them). The card people will give them a chance to respond, but I can't see them being able to do so to their satisfaction.

HexBramble Sun 17-May-15 18:24:29

Prism - no, debit card. Gutted.
I returned to the garage and asked for my scrap metal, and the mechanic retrieved discs that were conveniently covered in rust. I asked how certain he was that they were mine, and he was pretty flippant responding that he wasn't certain at all. So I told him to take them away.

I will NEVER approve of a job until I see the evidence for myself with the vehicle up on the Ramps. Never ever again.

prism Sun 17-May-15 18:43:41

You can do it with debit cards too- on the basis of my experience a friend did it on a credit card purchase and was successful. The process is called chargeback or something. Might be worth talking to the bank. I'm really sorry to hear about this.

prism Sun 17-May-15 18:44:25

Sorry, I meant my friend did it with a DEBIT card purchase. Duh.

HexBramble Sun 17-May-15 19:14:23

Prism, thank you. I'll look into it.

Ashbeeee Mon 18-May-15 09:50:29

If its the chain i'm thinking of they have previous. scour the internet (trust pilot is a good site) to find history and use that - if you can cite that you know that it isn't a one off they will know you are not an idiot.

so this is a negotiation, start high and know what your 'final' position is. I recommend:

start with demanding a full refund - unnecessary works, you were misled, deception, lack of professional conduct all justify this. when/if they say no, get onto Twitter, Trust Pilot etc to rant about their lousy service, lack of professionalism, un-necessary works etc. use hashtag company name hastag lousy service hastag exploiting customers hashtag BBC watchdog will be interested in this one etc but make sure it is all factually correct or you can get into hot water! Use this as further leverage to negotiate. big companies all have social media teams who monitor for these kinds of posts and are keen to get them taken down - they may contact you direct. agree that you will (or post a 'they have finally resolved it' post), once the £ is in your bank account.

be prepared to take an offer at a minimum that covers a) defective/rubbish tyres - they are welcome to have them back if they care to come and fetch at your convenience. b) your costs for inconvenience at c£15 per hour plus any other costs such as travel, phone calls, getting the work re-done (having these itemised shows them that you are in control, organised and not going to roll over easily) c) if you can, google make model of your car and find prices for replacement of those parts with another company - if their price was unreasonably high, quote that as well and ask for the difference back

personally if the company has previous for this type of thing, I'd go straight to the CEO - after all you want to get it over with asap and that's generally the fastest route.

good luck.

Ashbeeee Mon 18-May-15 09:52:53

oh, forgot to say cc the area manager on your correspondence.

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