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HMRC internal manual

Complaints and Remedy Guidance

Broad principles: Bouquets of Flowers

Sometimes we can’t put a price on the impacts of our mistake and a simple ‘sorry’ doesn’t seem enough; in those cases, sending some flowers might be the best way of putting things right.  This is not a way of avoiding paying financial redress but gives us another way of responding to a complaint that genuinely tries to satisfy the customer.  Sending flowers can show real empathy when used appropriately.


If we have caused worry and distress, we would normally recognise this with a consolatory payment.  Sending flowers should be the exception rather than the norm; such as when we have insensitively handled a deceased customer’s affairs, or have caused distress to the elderly. If you think that flowers may be more appropriate than a payment, do speak to your manager first.


If you do decide to send flowers to a complainant you must do so by following a set procedure using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). If you need a copy of the step by step guide for this procedure please contact CCAST (DL-CCAST Team).


Making an objective judgement can be difficult but it may be useful to stand back and consider how you feel when you are on the receiving end of a mistake. This is all part of the process of putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. Surveys confirm that complainants’ prime concern is to have things put right and to receive an apology. They do not automatically seek financial payment, but are more inclined to do so when the mistake has affected them particularly badly, is repeated, or their complaints about it are ignored.