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60 seconds Resolver – How to use the free complaints tool

Nick | Edited by Steve N

Updated September 2017

Complaining isn't always easy – companies can ignore you or try to scare you off with legalese. The free online tool Resolver* takes the hassle out of making a complaint by helping you draft a letter, send it, monitor replies and then escalate it to an ombudsman or complaints body if it's not sorted.

It's been over two years since we partnered with Resolver, and we've added the tool to many of our guides, marrying our campaigning know-how with its technology. Here's how it works.

Which companies can I use Resolver to complain to? You can raise pretty much any kind of complaint with over 29,000 firms and public bodies, including shops, restaurants, energy and telecoms firms, banks and insurance providers (find out more below).

For four of our biggest reclaim guides – Flight Delay Compensation, Reclaim Experian CreditExpert ID Fraud Insurance, Reclaim Packaged Bank Account Fees and Reclaim PPI for free – we've specially modified Resolver with bespoke MoneySavingExpert letters. We've done the same for our Vodafone Warning guide to help customers complain about the firm.

How do I complain if the company I want to complain about isn't included? If a company's not listed, you can ask Resolver to add it via a form on its website.

Is it any good? Yes, but you already know we like it, so don't just take our word for it. Here's what MoneySavers have told us (we'd love to hear what you think too – join the forum discussion and let us know):

Contested my packaged back account fee via Resolver at 6.30am, by midday Nat West had deposited a full £798 refund plus interest into my account - Mark

We got back £3,300 from BA for our delayed flight to the USA recently – €600 per person. Thank you so much for the direction to use the Resolver website. So quick and easy. - Deanne

Full refund of £500 from Extra Energy using Resolver – eight months of no help until I used it. - Louisa

How can it have template letters for every single eventuality? The vast majority of complaints are actually about very similar subjects, though the actual issue can differ by sector. So, if you've got a problem, first select the company you want to complain about, then you will see a list of initial options.

For example, with a complaint about an energy firm, your choice is:

  • Account
  • Billing/payment
  • Complaint handling
  • Conduct of staff
  • Meter reading
  • Sales
  • Service disruptions
  • Service set-up
  • Tariffs
  • Website/mobile app
  • Other (none of the above)

Then if you select complaint handling, for example, you can select from:

  • Complaint not accepted
  • Complaint not responded to
  • Insufficient compensation
  • Previous complaint unresolved
  • Other (none of the above)

After that you fill in your details and briefly explain your story and what resolution you want. The letter is drafted for you and then, in many cases, you just click for it to be sent.

OK, I like the sound of that, but how many template letters does it have?
In total, Resolver has over 70,000 variants of template letter, which have been written by the Resolver team and checked by its lawyers.

What happens if my complaint's rejected? One advantage of Resolver is that if your complaint's initially rejected, it'll help you escalate it – within the company first, and then, if necessary, to an ombudsman or regulator.

Several ombudsmen, regulators and other complaints bodies accept submissions directly via Resolver, so you won't have to use their forms as you can fill in a Resolver template.

These include well-known organisations such as the Financial Ombudsman Service, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS), Ombudsman Services Communications, Ombudsman Services Energy, Retail Ombudsman, Ofwat (water and sewerage), Local Government Ombudsman, Transport Focus and Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR, which covers every sector).

Can I complain to the company in question over the phone? Yes, phoning the firm in question may be best if you think you've got a straightforward complaint, but remember you may be charged for the call. If you call via Resolver's free iPhone* or Android* app, your call will be recorded; if you don't have a compatible smartphone, there's a template you can use in the online tool to note down the details of your call and add them to your case file.

Is Resolver effectively a claims management company? No, it's not – firstly, because it's free, and secondly, because while it will guide you, you're in charge of your complaint and responsible for checking it before it's made.

How many cases actually end up being successfully resolved? It's hard to put an exact figure on it, as many users don't log back in to officially close their case, even if they're successful and happy with the outcome.

However, to give an estimate, when Resolver analysed a sample of 450 randomly-selected cases in detail, it found around 60% had reached a 'positive resolution'.

What happens if my complaint isn't resolved after being escalated to an ombudsman? Unfortunately, if it has been deemed your complaint isn't fair, you may have little choice other than to accept the situation. If you want to continue to pursue it, often the final recourse is to take it to court, which is a serious undertaking. See more information about this in our Small Claims Court guide.

While Resolver can't help you with this process (yet), having used Resolver can be a real advantage, as it'll give you a complete record of all the correspondence related to your case.

If it's all free and it has no adverts, how does Resolver make money? Resolver's entirely free to use – and relatively new – but it plans to make money in three ways.

Firstly, it may choose to sell aggregated, anonymous data to companies that want to see how their complaints handling compares to that of others. However, Resolver NEVER sells personal details.

As an oversimplified example, it could tell BT 'you had 1,500 complaints and responded within three days, Virgin Media had 1,200 and responded in eight hours'.

It may also look to make money through affiliate (paid) links – for example, if you're complaining about an energy firm, Resolver could suggest you ditch and switch, providing an affiliated link to a switching site.

Finally, it will use its expertise to provide technical help for various organisations to improve their complaints processes.

The MoneySavingExpert logo is on the Resolver website – what's the relationship between them? For this question, let's hand over to MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis.

"MoneySavingExpert's aim has always been to cut your bills and fight your corner. Part of that is ensuring that when a company doesn't give you the product or service you expect it should be put right. Yet complaining isn't always easy as they often ignore you, or fob you off with legal jargon.

"For the last decade we've used template letters to help – over 10m have been downloaded just on our PPI and bank charges reclaiming campaigns alone. The free technology Resolver provides can take this a leap further. And sorry to do a Victor Kiam (for those of you old enough to remember), but when I saw it I wanted to get involved.

"So we are now committed to working together, marrying Resolver's technology with our campaigning background. In practical terms this means incorporating Resolver into MoneySavingExpert guides, even where previously we haven't focused on 'what to do if it goes wrong'.

"As part of this deal we've taken part-ownership of the company – the exact share depends on quite how much we do for it, both in support and how many MoneySavers go there. As we never like to hide these things, you'll notice the link to Resolver is 'starred', which is our way of indicating we potentially stand to gain from you clicking on it, though as always we never do it unless we believe it's the best route."

So who exactly does Resolver let you complain to? Most of the major companies and bodies you can complain to are listed in the table below. However, Resolver also works with smaller, regional businesses, which are often represented by trade associations, some of which Resolver has added to its tool.

Trustmark, with 15,000 firms, and Buy with Confidence, with 4,700, represent smaller traders such as builders, decorators and plumbers - some may be members of both bodies.

Which firms can I use Resolver to complain to?

Sector

Firms covered Firms / public bodies % of sector (1) Types of complaints covered
Energy* All Big Six firms plus smaller ones, eg, First Utility and Ovo. 68 99% Billing, customer services, meter issues, service issues and fraud.
Finance* Most major banks and building societies, plus lenders such as Wonga and Quick Quid. 225 90% Depends on the product - includes fraud, incorrect transactions and rejected applications.
Insurance* Major insurers, eg, Admiral, AXA, Churchill and Saga. 223 95%

Claims, disputes, quotes and renewals.

Legal* Lawyers or solicitors dealing with mortgages, tax issues, divorce, inheritance and more. 256 90%

Conduct, costs, fraud and services.

Leisure* Leisure facilities and gyms, eg, Virgin Active, David Lloyd. 89 60% Facilities, lost property, membership, payments, staff.
Motoring*

Car dealers, manufacturers and breakdown services.

251 99% of big brands

Costs, repairs, servicing, purchases and warranty.

Property* Housing associations, letting agents and estate agents, eg, Strutt & Parker and Winkworth. 1,334 50% of estate agents, 95% of housing associations. Commission, marketing, sales, valuation, compensation, payments and home purchases.
Public services* Universities and schools, all local councils and central government, eg, the DVLA. 561 100% of local govt, 60% of central govt

Depends on service, eg, for councils it covers complaints re staff, facilities and services.

Restaurants* Chains such as Harvester, Pizza Express and Starbucks. 131 75% of chains Food, reservations, conduct of staff, lost property, prices and restaurant environment.
Shops* Chains such as Argos, B&Q and Ikea. Online retailers like Amazon and Asos. Daily deal sites like Groupon and Wowcher. 658 75% of high street chains, 65% of online retailers Delivery, payment, pricing issues, loyalty schemes, warranties and guarantees.
Telecoms* Major home phone, mobile, broadband and TV providers like EE, Sky and Virgin Media. 61 95% Billing, customer services, network coverage, service issues and roaming.
Travel* Airlines, tour operators, hotels, online booking services and rail companies, plus official bodies such as TfL. 410 85% Booking problems, conduct of staff, delays and cancellations, lost property and luggage.
Water* All water companies across the UK, eg, Southern Water, Thames Water. 32 100% Billing, customer services, meter and supply issues.
You can also use Resolver to contact your local MP*. (1) Resolver's estimate of the % of companies covered.

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