DISGRUNTLED Scottish consumers threw in the towel over more than eight million complaints last year, according to new figures.
A total of 5.3 million complaints were made about shoddy service north of the border last year – up 4% on the previous 12 months.
But a further 8.1 million problems relating to poor goods, services and other issues were not pursued by Scots consumers.
Instead, shoppers simply took their business elsewhere, costing firms an estimated £3.2bn in lost sales.
The figures were revealed today (Wed) by Ombudsman Services, a not-for-profit group which helps resolve consumer concerns.
Launching its third Consumer Action Monitor for Scotland, the organisation revealed that 69% of Scots are resigned to poor service in at least one sector.
Retail was the most complained about sector, responsible for more than a quarter of grievances – 27%.
This was closely followed by telecoms industries at 14% and energy companies at 12%.
Transport also moved ahead of banking to take the fourth spot, with 10% of complaints.
Ombudsman Services identified consumers in the north east of Scotland as the most active when it came to complaining, making a quarter of total complaints.
Those in the south of Scotland were the least likely to take issue with poor service.
Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services said: “Scots are showing good awareness of their consumer rights, but this research shows that a lot more needs to be done to encourage disgruntled customers to make their voices heard.
“Even though businesses are taking steps to improve their customer service, many consumers feel disillusioned and no longer trust them to do the right thing.
“This research has shown that Scots aren’t afraid to vote with their feet, so it is in businesses’ best interests to put customers at the heart of what they do, or face the costly consequences.’’
Lack of trust in businesses to put things right is one of the key factors discouraging consumers from raising their issues.
Instead of complaining, it appears that consumers are voting with their feet, according to Ombudsman Services.
22% cent of Scots have taken their custom elsewhere and a similar number have reduced their spending as a result of bad service, at an estimated cost of £3.2bn to companies across Scotland last year.