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  • David Schindler

7 Tips to Help You Win your Customer Complaint Claim

How to win a customer complaint claim

The Customer Complaints Blog

At the ripe old age of 60 I have been through countless customer complaints. So much so my children, all adults now, still get PTSD from hearing hold music. The reason? Mainly to save money but also to fight against the tyranny of the corporation and get one back for the small guy. Big corporations often rely on tedious procedures and a lot of time wasting to rely on the everyday person to not want to put in the effort to claim money that is, more often than not, deservedly there’s.

Costly insurance claims, unjust (or is it?) parking tickets, phone bills which come back with an unexpected charge. The list goes on and on. As I said, I have spent the last 20 odd years fighting these types of claims and coming out with a near 100% success rate, saving tens of thousands of pounds in the process.

This blog is about providing an outline for everyone to follow in order to get results from these sorts of claims. These tips are here to help you save money and escape the tyranny of the corporation call centre. If you adopt all the principles listed below I can guarantee you will have a very good chance of success in winning your claim.

Dave’s 7 Golden Rules

1. You must get the name of the person you are talking with (and their job title)

This is a step which often goes overlooked and is not utilised, yet it is a crucial part of any successful claim. The reason mainly comes from the fact that when dealing with these claims you are building a rapport and relationship with the person on the other line.

The first person you speak to is often not the decision maker and are often advised to try anything they can to not pay out on a claim. So why is it important you get their name? Because of accountability. Although they are not the decision maker they are the person who moves you up the chain of command. Having their name, means they are reluctant to go to rogue ie. hang up the phone, say things that are not true in order to not give you the refund etc.

Having their name ultimately gets you to the person in higher command faster as the non-decision maker wants to shift the accountability to where it counts and not cause any potential risk to themselves.

It also helps when moved up the chain of command to reference the name of the person you had previously spoken to. It shows you know what you are doing and helps build rapport with the person you have been handed over to higher up in the chain.

2. Ask them if you are allowed to call them back if you get cut off for any reason

This step is linked to step 1. You don’t want to waste time explaining your case to a new person if you get cut off for whatever reason. More importantly, you don’t want the rapport you built with a customer service agent to go to waste.

For this step, early on in the call ask them if they are able to call you back if you get cut off for whatever reason and give them their number. If they aren’t allowed then ask if they have a personal number you are able to call if you get cut off.

3. Escalation, escalation, escalation

As soon as the call centre operative is not prepared to proceed with your complaint, ask very politely who is their line manager, and note this name too.

You should stress you are not upset with the first customer service person at all – just upset with the company procedures. I have been told many times there is absolutely no point escalating to their manager as the next manager will just say exactly the same company policy, and then HAVE gone on to be victorious!

So, never ever accept that line of argument - keep insisting you want to be escalated to the next person up. And then keep escalating through stages if the 2nd person is still not prepared to accept your complaint and take the necessary action.

I stress again, always write down the names of all these people and who you are speaking to (and their job title) throughout the entire process.

4. Keep all emails and make notes of every call on a paper pad or word document

This is an important step to take as even small bits of information can be leveraged in later conversations to help support your argument. It is common for these companies to try and pull the wool over your eyes and bamboozle you with company policy to get their way.

If you are able to draw on previous conversations and contradict the point they are trying to make it will massively weigh in your favour. Nowadays most conversations are recorded which will weigh in your favour.

Even if what someone said in a previous email or phone conversation wasn’t true to company policy, they still said it and the fact they said it will help your case. This is again why it is so important to record the names and roles of everyone you speak with.

5. Adopt a good cop / bad cop attitude across conversations

This is a crucial part of winning a case and it comes down to the fact that you need to win over the customer service representatives by being nice to them but really drive home the point you are making and make the company seem in the wrong by playing the bad cop.

Always be calm and polite, especially when building rapport. Ask them how their day has been, if there's a time that they are waiting for a system to load or waiting on an answer from someone, ask a little about the person and build that rapport.

But, with that it's important to be forceful with the point you are making. You need to make them aware that you are angry with the situation or with the company but not with them. When being forceful with your grievance and point you are trying to make, you should still be playing the ‘good cop’ by asking if they can see things from your point of view and such.

6. Look through the terms and conditions

It is worth putting in the time and effort to dig through the terms and conditions. I have had cases where one sentence in the terms and conditions has managed to swing the whole case.

Now, understandably terms and conditions are often lengthy so for the smaller cases you might not want to put in the effort. But for bigger claims, especially with the likes of Insurance companies there are often areas in the terms and conditions that justify your case and are often the only way to win a claim.

7. Go to forums

It’s always worth going to a forum on that particular retailer /company / financial institution. Look out for any similar cases, solutions, key contacts, terms and conditions to support a case etc.

Or stay tuned to this blog series, where I will be outlining the stories and cases I have been successful with. You may be facing a problem with the same company(s).

Bonus Tips

  • In the UK there is also very a very powerful further method that often will gets results as the CEO has a team of experts who specifically deal with complaints direct to the CEO – by using

  • You can also find useful Head of Customer Service key contact names by searching on LinkedIn or forums dedicated to that particular retailer.

  • Always use Paypal as the preferred method for payment if you have it, as that is the best method to get a refund or dispute a case – otherwise use a credit card and NOT a debit card - as credit cards give you much more protection than debit cards.

The key take-away from my golden rules are that putting in the time and effort makes a big difference in winning these cases. It is all too common that putting in the time and effort is perceived as not worth it for the claim, but, this is what the corporations rely on and how they get away with unfair practice.

For most cases, the money you save / redeem the case more than makes up for the time you put into the case.

Over the 20+ years I have had at least 30 cases including 1 x £10k win and 1 x £50k win – when both parties were fighting constantly not to make a pay-out. Many more have been won on the principals above.

So I am starting a monthly blog on providing examples of how Dave’s Golden Rules have helped get the WINS. Hopefully you can take inspiration from some of these examples and use it 8 Golden Rules above to get results yourself.

Your Caped Customer Rights Champion!

Dave 👊



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