Thankfully most service providers offer very good value for money and excellent workmanship. Unfortunately the reputations of many professions are damaged by a small minority who grossly overcharge or demand payment for work that is clearly substandard.
To rub salt into the wounds you then see the cowboy operator advertising their services. You can just imagine the misery he or she is going to inflict upon others if unchallenged.
The big question is; can you publicly name and shame? Yes you can but problems can arise if you go about it the wrong way. Doing it the correct way has the positive effect of driving up standards whilst helping your newspaper to offer a higher standard of advertising service.
When we asked lawyer Maria Luisa de Castro of costaluzlawyers.es if it was risky to name and shame rogue traders her reply was clear-cut. “The way to go about it is to describe your experience as objectively as possible without resorting to abuse or insult.”
Many aggrieved clients use public forums to vent their frustration. These are of course public forums and the owners of them, like newspaper proprietors, have to work within the law. Be factual, stick to the point and avoid prejudging. Your mission is to get satisfaction, not revenge.
Remember the KISS principle. This is an acronym for ‘keep it simple, senor.’ If your complaint is more that 200 words long it is too lengthy. Be objective; write as you might place your case before a lawyer or magistrate. Avoid passion, anger, insult and threat.
If work has been carried out, which in your opinion is unsatisfactory, take photographs of the completed work from all angles. Politely request the matter be resolved having set out your complaint objectively. Always send a letter by recorded delivery and give the service provider an opportunity to put matters right.
Those who profit from charging for incompetent workmanship are encouraged by the false belief that the courts will defend them if they are publicly identified. This is not true but you do need to set your case out calmly without expressing anger or insult. Every good business knows the importance of the maxim: “If I get it right, tell the world. If I get it wrong, tell me.”
Sent in by Michael Walsh, Freelance Journalist and Ghost Writer