How to Complain in Portugal: On-site or Online

Are looking for a way to complain in Portugal? I’m guessing you just had an unpleasant situation in Portugal?

Maybe a public servant who refused to solve your problem? Or a waiter that had absolutely no manners?

Since you are in a new country with a different culture you will, most certainly, find yourself in some unpleasant situations. You should never accept to eat bad food in a restaurant or to be served by someone who is unfriendly.

Below, we will give you some tools that can help you to deal with these kinds of situations.

How to complain in Portugal

Portugal is a country of peaceful people. As you know, the Portuguese used carnations instead of guns to rebel against the dictatorship (25th April of 1975).

25 Abril Portugal

This historical fact serves as an example of what we believe to be the ideal complaint behavior: in most of the situations that you are not happy with the supplied service or the product you should start by trying to solve the situation diplomatically.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Portugal History, it might be worth knowing and visiting the top 15 museums in Lisbon.

Benefits of complaining in Portugal

The Portuguese usually do not appreciate to complain or to receive complaints.

Portuguese people tend to be very concerned with a bad reputation or ill comments. Additionally, there is the mindset of the importance of keeping your job because of the economic country situation and other ancient cultural values.

Therefore, the employees are not interested in receiving complains about their job or the product they sell.

See also: Typical Portuguese Food – The best things to order while in Portugal.

Complaining is a good thing

If you make a bad comment you will probably be compensated in some way (use this knowledge wisely!)

However, it is very important that you express your opinion because we are sure that it will be a huge contribution to the improvement of the involved services/products.

Pssst. If you find this advice useful and unique, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get some insider tips!

What should I do if this approach does not work?

Use different on-site and online ways to complain in Portugal.

If you can’t solve your problem using only dialogue or if you feel that the error, mistake or any other situation is too egregious to leave it be, there are some alternatives available.

We’ll start by giving some advice on how to complain directly to the company and then list some practical tools you can use to complain in Portugal.

1. Complain directly at the company’s website

Following the dialogue attempt and if you want to make your complaint more formal, you should search for the company’s website.

Many times the websites have a proper form to complain and give improvement suggestions or an email where to send your complaint.

This is a good way to expose your problem to the right person inside the company.

Complain Tap Portugal

For instance, in Tap Portugal (Portugal national airline company) it’s possible to expose your complaint, which will then be handled by a back office team to solve it as quickly as possible.

Fast-tracking to where it matters

We all know that most times, the person who is in contact with the customer is not to blame for our displeasure and/or doesn’t have the power to solve our problem or to help us. (Talk about killing the messenger, right?)

Communicate with the support or complaint department

Most companies have specific departments and a quality management system that ensures the treatment of the complaints, reporting them to the “decision-making” team inside the company.

This is a plan B that shows high effectiveness in Portugal because your voice gets fast-carried to the boss – who definitely does not want a bad reputation and/or negative consequences for his company and will probably make whatever it takes to make you happy.

Complain to the Company’s Facebook Page

Another solution is to complain directly to the company’s Facebook page. Because of the high impact of social media, companies are very keen to solve social complaints. 

2. Report to Deco Proteste or to Portal da Queixa

If you still didn’t get a proper reply in a sensible time, you have to resort to other ways of showing your dissatisfaction.
In Portugal, we have two main platforms which help the consumers with their complaints.

Deco Proteste

Deco Proteste is an organization that represents and defends the Portuguese consumers.

You should write your complaint in the “Reclamar” platform in Deco website. (Portuguese only)

You can send the complaint directly to the company or ask for juridical help.

If you choose this tool, you make your case visible on a list of public complaints. Frequently, it increases the pressure on the company and helps consumers with similar situations. In many cases, the situations are solved faster when the complaint is published.


Empowering your complaint at Deco Proteste

Deco advises the consumers to add their name to the complaint to give more weight to the complaint so that the company knows that Deco is with you and that it can intervene in the case at any time.

You should describe the situation very well with all your arguments, and if you want, you can add a file to support the case. The better you can explain the incident, the more chances you have to solve your problem.

Deco also has competent lawyers and a specialized team who clarifies the doubts of the consumers in any area (such as telecommunications, public services, condominium, credit, tax, labor, and more.) and that can help you solve these kinds of problems by telephone and e-mail:

  • +351 211 215 750 (to directly complain about a company)
  • [email protected] (for contacting Lisbon headquarters)

Portal da Queixa

Portal da Queixa is the consumer’s social network where you can share your experiences and follow the other consumers’ complaints.

You will need to register your data and have a log in so that you can submit your complaint for free; it will then become public for everyone who visits the site.

As in Deco Proteste’s platform, the companies will feel pressured to solve the complaint, making this a very effective tool.

3. Using the complaint book (or Red Book)

This is probably the most useful tool you have at your disposal.

Complaints book Portugal

If you have a situation that you cannot solve with dialogue, you should ask for the complaint book. All of commercial places or services suppliers must have one in their facilities, and it is mandatory to report each page/ complaint to the Portuguese competent authorities.

The access to the book must not be negated to you.

If it happens, you should call the police immediately.

If it is a well-substantiated complaint, the supplier could have to deal with very serious consequences, like penalties or even being forced to close the establishment.

We advise you to fulfill the complaint form on site but you can also do it online (both ways are available in English). Tip: Look for the “Frequently asked questions/ current legislation” section, to find useful information.

Asking for the complaint book might just be enough

Curiously, in my experience, the simple fact of asking for the “complaint book” was enough for the employee/servant/business owner to offer a solution to me.

I’m not saying it was the best solution, but in the end, the process of complaining stopped there.

I guess they’re really afraid of inspections!

But in the case they aren’t, see below the instructions to fill out your complaint.

How do I fill my complaint in the complaint book?

To fulfill the complaint form, you should follow the steps below:

  • Read the instructions of use;
  • Use a pen and write in capital letters;
  • Fill all of the fields properly;
  • Keep in mind that the complaint will be analyzed by the competent authorities;
  • Fulfill the passport/ identification number because without it you cannot search your complaint in the RTIC website.
  • Be objective and clear in the description of the complaint. You should only use the available space in “the cause of complaint” field;
  • Use only a page;
  • Date and sign the form.

What happens next?

The pages of the form are in triplicate:

    • The original must be submitted by the company to the competent authority until 10 working days after the complaint.
    • You should keep the duplicated or send it to the competent authority by yourself (e.a INFARMED, ASAE)
      The triplicate must remain in the book.
    • It is the responsibility of the regulatory authority to receive complaints and to implement proper procedures, if applicable.

Transportations are one of the services with the highest number of complaints. Take a look at how good (or bad) transportation in Portugal is.

Is it worth complaining in Portugal?

It is always worth to complain in Portugal

Whenever you give constructive criticism regarding anything, you are contributing to the improvement of the service/product and have a chance of receiving some compensation for your damages.

It might be hard to complain in Portugal against public service

In some cases, maybe you cannot solve your problem, or it can take a while to have your answer, mainly if your complaint is against a public service (because the management of this situations involves bureaucracy that elongates the process).

Complaining is very effective against private companies

However, in our day-to-day lives, when problems with private services like hotels, restaurants, insurances companies, supermarkets, pharmacies, etc. manifest, we are sure you can solve the situation with the aforementioned tips.

Keep in mind that the first option is always the diplomatic way. The Portuguese are hospitable people, they love to please others so, for the most part, if they can help you in some way, they will!

Did you find this information about how to complain in Portugal useful? Feel free to leave a comment or a question below.