When I ask for compensation, I normally have a valid reason. Service providers need to have done something really bad in order for me to complain as I can tolerate a lot. Also, I normally try to give the provider a chance to rectify the issue.
However, if the issue is ignored or not solved, I will complain.
My first complaint, I had no idea how to go about it, how to formulate my complaint and how much to ask in compensation.
I simply wanted to make someone aware that I was really disappointed and unhappy with the service and/or experience I had and that services as outlined were not met.
If you find yourself in a position similar to mine and you do not know how to effectively claim for compensation, here are a few points you should be aware of and that you need to consider.
Following these points, I managed to claim 150 EUR in flight compensation.
Not bad, right?
1. TRY TO GET THE ISSUE SORTED ON THE SPOT
If you are unsatisfied during your holiday with a particular matter, report this straight away on the spot.
For example, if the air conditioning is not working, go to the reception and tell them. Most of the times they might not be aware that the air conditioning is faulty and unless you tell them, they will never know about it.
You need to give them the chance to either fix it or give you a different room. You cannot expect compensation for this after you have returned home and then complain about the room being too hot.
Also, why would you want to suffer while on holiday? Try to get the issue sorted and enjoy the rest of your holiday.
2. If THE ISSUE CANNOT BE RESOLVED ON THE SPOT
If, for whatever reason, the issue cannot be resolved and you are still unhappy with your situation, make a note of what it is you are unhappy with.
Write down names of the people that you were talking to as well as the date and time. This is especially important when you talk to someone on the phone as you will have a record.
Take pictures to document and build a case. This will come in handy when you send an email to complain so you can show exactly what the issue was.
Talking to other guests might help, too. You can figure out if they have the same problem as you such as cancelled excursions or arranged transfers that never showed up.
3. STATE CLEARLY THAT YOU ARE ASKING FOR COMPENSATION
I once wrote a complaint and received an email notification straight away stating that my email was received and that my complaint will be dealt with between 4 to 6 weeks.
However, after 8 weeks no one had contacted me, so I decided to call the company. I was informed that my email had been received, but because I did not mention that I want to get compensation, it was filed away.
They simply took it as a “thank you for your feedback” email.
Thus, a simple sentence of “I want to get compensation” is needed.
4. BE POLITE
Always be polite when you are calling someone or writing your complaint. You might be angry at the company, but please remember that there is a human being sitting at the other end dealing with your issue.
There is no need to be nasty or abusive. Be direct, firm and to the point, but do not attack or insult members of staff.
They have not given you that horrible room with the nonworking air conditioning unit in 40 degrees Celsius. That was the man at the reception, who you hopefully have reported the issue to. 🙂
Additionally, people are more open to helping you if you are reasonable and friendly.
If you still think you are not getting anywhere, you can always ask for your case to be escalated to a manager. In a polite manner of course.
5. BE PERSISTENT
You send your complaint, and nothing happens. No one contacted you back to discuss the options. Or possibly someone emailed you back, but you are not satisfied with the outcome. Now what?
Many people forget that they have contacted a company and complaint, if it takes a really long time for the company to get back to them.
Sometimes the email can get lost (this happens), but sometimes companies do not email back on purpose as they hope you will forget about the complaint.
And sometimes they email you back, but you do not get the desired outcome. This may be no compensation offered or too little compensation offered.
Either way, do not give up. Email or call back time after time, even when it takes days, weeks or months to get a result.
Why would you give up? What do you have to lose?
6. TAKE IT FURTHER, IF YOU MUST / WANT TO
You had several conversations with the guest relations team and it went back and forth. You explained your case over and over again, but still you are getting nowhere with your complaint?
There are organisations that can support you with your claim and act on your behalf. If you really want to pursue your case, it might be worth looking them up and contacting them.
However, those organisations might charge a fee, take commission of your winnings etc. You need to be fully aware what you are signing up for before you proceed.
I personally used one in the past to claim for flight cancellation compensation and the company only charges commission if they win my case. If not, I do not have to pay a penny.
7. ASK FOR MORE
You kept all the above points in mind and the company is compensating you for the stress, the inconvenience, your cancelled holiday, you name it. Great!
You are more or less happy with the outcome, BUT have you ever considered asking for more or better compensation?
For example, you are being offered a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) that is expiring in one year. The problem is that you already have holiday plans for that period and would not be able to use the offer. Simply ask if the FCC can be extended.
I followed the above steps last year and managed to claim 150 EUR in flight compensation.
First, I emailed my complaint, but was ignored by the company. However, I was persistent and patient. I called them several times, talked to different people, but always stayed polite on the phone.
I kept a record of who I was talking to and emailing so I could say “I spoke to Susi last week Wednesday around 5.35 pm and I was told that she will forward me xyz”.
It took almost 4 months for me to receive the email stating that they will compensate me for what happened, but by that time I was complaining about the bad customer service I had received and asked for higher compensation.
In the end, I did not get 100 EUR back, but 150 EUR! 🙂