Retail is the most complained about sector in the UK and retailers are responsible for more than a quarter (28%) of all complaints.


Complaints made about the retail sector during 2014.

Complaints made about the retail sector during 2014 reached a record high of 18.5m, according to the Ombudsman Services’ annual Consumer Action Monitor.

Complaints regarding retailers are split evenly between in-store (14%) and online transactions (14%) and the increase in overall complaints has been driven by the growth of internet shopping.

The next most complained about sectors are telecoms and energy, receiving 15% and 11% of all consumer complaints respectively.

Chief Ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith said: “Whilst retailers are attracting more sales with impressive post-recession strategies and the continued growth in e-commerce, it is possible for issues to arise, particularly when customers are ordering items at a distance.

 “In addition customers are less willing than ever to stand for poor service and therefore it’s even more important that companies provide a route for customers to see redress.”

Chief grievance is quality

The chief grievance in the retail sector is a poor quality product, which received 30% of complaints, closely followed by poor customer service with 29% of complaints.

The report found that consumers are increasingly complaining to suppliers, sharing the problems online or escalating the issue to a third party.

In 2014 almost half (47 percent) of consumers with a complaint took action by going either to the supplier or third party, compared to just over a third in 2013.