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E-commerce growth is making consumers complain more regularly

10 February 2015 - 13:24 by David Aiken

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The rise of safe shopping online is bringing with it a parallel increase in the number of complaints that are being levelled at retailers by consumers in the UK, according to a report from the Consumer Action Monitor.

Sixty six million complaints were filed over the course of 2014, twice the number seen in the previous year. And these were distributed among 18.5 million consumers, indicating that although British shoppers were relatively reserved in a time before e-commerce sites, the internet is emboldening them to speak out when service is bad or goods are of an unsatisfactory quality.

The report found that online shopping was the single most complained-about sector in the UK, beating out other key causes for complaint, including telecoms, broadband connectivity and energy suppliers.

Although retailers are getting better at offering shopping online, there are still unavoidable kinks in the system, that can rear their head and get in the way of consumers having a satisfactory experience.

Aside from the way that retail websites are designed, consumers can take issue with a range of other things, including the delivery process, the price and the state of the products they have ordered when they arrive.

The anonymity which is afforded by dealing with retailers online is cited as being one of the likely causes of the increase in complaints, according to The Drum. But of course, the other element in play is the fact that high street retail leaves less room to flourish for the kinds of complaints that modern consumers are making.

The areas of the industry that are out of control of retailers may be tougher to tighten up and improve to help lower the number of complaints, but there are things that can be done to streamline the online shopping process itself.