The 12,000 complaints of Christmas

2 min read
January 06, 2021

Christmas may be a time for goodwill (traditionally) but that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to complain. In fact, on Christmas day itself we saw almost 600 complaints at Resolver.  

Online shopping and takeaways were among the services with the largest growth in complaints over Christmas week 2020, with online shopping complaints up 50% compared to last year and complaints to takeaway providers more than doubling compared to Christmas 2019, to almost 700. 

Across the week starting Christmas Eve to 30 December 2020 there were 11,600 complaints made through Resolver. This was 10% down from the same time in 2019 – perhaps because as a country we predictably had other concerns – but some areas saw a significant rise compared to last year. 

Complaints over the week were most prolific on 29 December this year – with the 2,571 complaints on the day showing a 41% rise on the same day in 2019.

Resolver also found among the close to 12,000 complaints over the Christmas week 2020:

  • Complaints concerning flights more than halved during Christmas 2020, but those towards travel agents saw a 45% increase compared to 2019. Over half of these concerned charges, fees and cancellations. 
  • Complaints were more concentrated in the southern areas of the country, with 42% of those coming from customers in London, the South East, the South West and East of England.
  • Broadband complaints were down 38% compared to last Christmas.
  • Despite many closures across the country in the run-up to Christmas, complaints towards ‘bricks and mortar’ shops hit more than 1,200 over Christmas 2020, mainly due to product or customer service issues.
  • Surprisingly, the UK’s supermarket chains saw complaints fall by almost one-third this year between them.

What caused Christmas complaining? 

More than one in 10 of all complaints over the week concerned customer service issues, with the majority of these accounted for by shops. Delivery issues were still top of the pile however, accounting for more than a quarter of all complaints over Christmas week 2020, perhaps accounting for the sharp rise in both online shopping and takeaway complaints this year. 

Sector-wise, shops took the lion’s share of complaints over Christmas week – accounting for almost six in 10 of those we saw. The chief issue for the sector was package deliveries (40% of shops complaints), but 20% related to product issues. 

Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of the almost 700 complaints to takeaway providers concerned delivery and collection or payment issues, but customer service problems caused more than accounted for a quarter.

Across heavily regulated sectors, such as finance, energy and telecoms, complaints were 12% down on Christmas 2020 compared to the same week in 2019. Complaints towards energy providers were up by more than 50%, though they accounted for just 2.5% of all the complaints over Christmas, compared to the 10% made up by the finance sector.

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