Go Complain Info
Go Complain UK - File a Consumer Complaint against a Company Online: Review
We've been searching for a firm like Go Complain for many years. Over a decade at least. In fact, we started laying the foundations for creating such a service ourselves around 2007 - but then the government waded in with it's size 14s and started blaming every non-solicitor for the trouble the legal industry was in at the time.
The closest service we found to try and promote was the Which? Legal Service. For about £50 a year, you could get legal advice 24/7, 365 days a year. Sounded good with a big brand name behind it. So we signed up, and within a month we had called them three times. After those three times, we demanded a refund from Which?. The problem was that we never spoke to someone with any experience in our legal issue, let alone an actual solicitor. Not once. Every time we would phone up for legal advice, we got some law student that would say "I'll get back to you". They would then go away, read up on our problem on the internet, then phone us up an hour or two later to spout what they'd read. That's not help. That's almost as bad as the Citizen's Advice Bureau ... almost ...
The premise for a consumer complaints service is simple. Sometimes you have a case that requires a bit of legal knowledge and help, but not much. It will often involve a demand for something to be rectified, but not much. It may even require compensation to be paid, but not much. In other words, the kind of cases that a solicitor will say "you have a case", but will quote you £1000 to chase after a £100 refund.
You pay a low flat fee. Go Complain researches the problem. They then take a limited course of action such as writing some letters.
Sometimes all a landlord needs is to see some official letter-headed paper with a well-worded complaint and a threat of action - to nudge them into fixing that dripping tap. We know because we've helped people do that in the past. Go Complain come from the same angle apparently. From their website:
"We hear so often from friends, family or colleagues, at home, work, in a cafe or the local pub about the issues and problems people have to put up with everyday for what is often something simple, such as being overcharged on an energy bill, your broadband not working or a washing machine not being delivered."
The difference between Go Complain and us though, is that Go Complain do this for a living - day in, day out. They are an actual law firm, regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
You choose your industry, fill in your details, upload any evidence, then make your payment. You pay £29.99 for all complaints with a value under £3,000, and £99.99 for complaints under £10,000. GoComplain then evaluate your claim, advise you of the next steps, and start actual action within 7 days. The biggest delay depends on the company you're complaining about. Depending on the industry, they could technically have up to eight weeks to ponder and respond. The ideal outcome is that the evidence is sound, the argument is well made, the third party is reasonable, and the resolution requested is fair.
They quote a few examples on their site, such as:
"If your claim is over £3,000 perhaps for some house renovations like a new bathroom being fitted that went wrong or wasn’t finished to a good standard or as agreed, then the one off fixed fee would be £99.99. So, if you agreed to pay £5,500 for the work you could claim for a refund and any additional compensation for stress and inconvenience e.g. £1,500 if for example you had no bathroom facilities or hot water for a number of days. You would only pay us the £99.99 if the complaint was resolved and a refund or compensation agreed."
Throughout GoComplain's website, though, they constantly remind you that they are an actual law firm. You can check this yourself on The Law Society website, but you need to search for Horsley Holdings Ltd which is the name of Go Complain's parent company. This of means that if the third party does fail to respond, refuses to rectify a situation, or offers considerably less than the amount requested in monetary compensation - GC can take the next step of going to court. This, however, will result in extra costs (see here). But they should advise you if there is any industry Ombudsman to attempt recourse through prior to the last resort of actual court action.
Aside from their general consumer rights work, they also offer help with general compensation work including PPI claims, flight delays, personal injuries, holiday sickness such as food poisoning abroad, and so on. There are links to more information on these services around the site.
As for the site itself, we had mixed responses in the office depending on which browser and/or computer we were using. On my ageing Mac with Firefox I did run into some slow loading, with the site acting like it was built on the old 'frames' layout. On a more modern Windows machine using Internet Explorer, the site ran far more smoothly but still had some niggles with images failing to load. The best experience seemed to be on our mobile devices and tablets. Of course, the estimate of '5 minutes' to fill in the form is probably based on someone with at least good typing skills. Whether you do better with your fingers on a keyboard or your thumbs on a touchscreen - is totally up to you.
The only other things we noticed was a few broken links such as the YouTube button, and we couldn't work out what a legal service provider would need an Instagram account for? However, don't judge too quickly if you see a plethora of social buttons on a site that seem out of place. Often, it's the web designer that gets carried away, insisting that 'everyone is doing it' - rather that it being a direct request from the company owners.
A note on navigation: the official site is the one we've linked to above - www.go-complain.co.uk, not www.gocomplain.co.uk or either of the common variants such as www.go-complain.com or www.gocomplain.com as none of them even seem to be owned by the same company. Always with hyphenated keyword domains (we have nothing against them and use them ourselves) we suggest bookmarking the site when you are on it to ensure you come back to the same place. As we mentioned before, the parent company and registered law firm behind GoComplain's website is Horsley Holdings Ltd but there is no official alternative website under that name.
General Notes: Usually if Legal Aid is possible we've mentioned it above, but you can always ask. We haven't looked in depth at their recruitment program so are unaware of any job vacancies available. For a career with Go Complain it's best to visit the website (www.go-complain.co.uk), check opening hours, and find the correct phone/email contact details. Simply emailing a CV to reception looks lazy. Each law firm's Law Society and/or SRA number should be on their site, usually at the bottom of each page.
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