BRITS tend to keep a stiff upper lip when it comes to complaining – but our self-confessed biggest moaner has made THOUSANDS by doing just that.
Chris Owen, 39, from Buckinghamshire, has made £1,000 a year on average by kicking up a fuss about everything from bad service to dodgy food.
Chris Owen makes around £1,000 a year from complaining[/caption]
The dad-of-one’s crusade began four years ago when he complained about a marble table worth £650 that was delivered and damaged three times. The fourth time the table top was missing.
Chris, who works as a PR director, told The Sun: “I spent four Saturdays waiting for a table to be delivered to my house and each time it was dropped during delivery. I knew I was within my rights to complain.”
In return for his moan Chris received £200 for the inconvenience – almost a third of the price of the table. It was then he realised the extra fuss could be worth cash.
He said: “I don’t pro-actively look for things to complain about, but if I see that something is not right I’ll push for compensation.”
How much can you get from complaining?
ON average Chris makes £1,000 a year – but the amount varies massively.
There are lots of little things that he complains about on a regular basis that all add up. These include:
- Complaining about mayonnaise – £75 a year: If you ask for your food to come without mayonnaise or any other ingredient but your request is not followed through, it’s worth asking if the restaurant can give you a discount or take your meal from the bill entirely.
- Complaing about hygiene standards in coffee shops – £42 a year: If you see a filfthy tray or dirty loos in a coffee shop, it’s worth complaining and asking for a discount.
- Complaining about waiting time – 10 per cent off: Waiting to pay but there’s no one at the till? Ask if you can get a 10 per cent discount for the inconvenience.
- Complaining about rude staff – £68 a year: If you feel like you’ve been badly treated by staff at bank or retailer ask if you can see a manager. They might give you a discount for poor customer service.
“We now compete with my dad to see who can get the most rewards out of bad service.”
In total, over three years Chris has made £2,900 – almost £1,000 a year on average.
But the amount that he earns from making a fuss varies, depending on how much time he has to dedicate to moaning, as well as how generous the companies feel.
For example, in 2015, Chris got about £637 in refunds, freebies and vouchers. The next year he nearly doubled his winnings to £1,194.
His most lucrative rewards come from two things – dodgy, cold or late food as well as poor customer service.
Chris made back about £70 alone moaning about mayonnaise in burgers – one of his personal challenges.
He said: “I hate mayonnaise. So, I always ask for my sandwich or burger to come without it. It’s not an impossible request.”
“Most of the time waiters get it wrong, which means I have to send it back to the kitchen and I end up waiting for my food.
“When it’s time to pay it’s then fairly easy to ask for a discount or ask for your meal to be taken out of the bill entirely for the inconvenience and the wait.”
A popular pizza chain also invited Chris and his three friends back for a free dinner after it took them 90 minutes to bring a jug of water to the table the first time around.
Between them the friends had three bottles of wine and two desserts each.
Chris said: “We ate for £200 in a place where it’s genuinely difficult to spend more than £25.”
The self-confessed moaner also gets about £40 a year complaining about poor hygiene standards in coffee shops.
HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT
HERE's some advice from Chris on how to make your complaints heard:
- Stand your ground but don’t be aggressive: Be firm but don’t be rude. People are more likely to listen to you if you’re polite to them.
- Know your consumer rights: It’s not necessary but it does help. If it’s a serious issue do let them know that you’ll raise it with the relevant ombudsman or Citizen Advice.
- Compare them to a competitor: Tell them that next time you’ll go to their competitor because the service is better.
- Don’t settle: If you think what they’ve given you back is not enough, check your rights, stand your ground and ask for more.
But there have also been more serious issues.
A kitchen installation at Chris’s house managed to melt the junction box it was plugged into just weeks after being installed.
The £80 installation charge was quickly refunded but by arguing for more the savvy dad eventually got the full £480 back.
He told The Sun: “Sometimes you need to be very firm with a company. My kitchen could have been burnt to the ground.
“I emailed the firm and copied in the media team from BBC watchdog. The £480 refund came quickly after that.
“It’s not always about the extra cash, it’s about your safety and how you’re treated as a customer.”
More about how to make some extra cash
There are plenty of ways to supplement your income and make some extra cash.
If you’ve got long hair and you’re thinking about taking the plunge and getting a pixie crop, here’s how you can make £250 from the cuttings.
Meanwhile, a mum-of-two has bagged £28k worth of prizes by entering 150 competitions a day.
The Sun has also revealed how a dad-of-six made nearly £4,000 flogging old CDs and DVDs.
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