A third of Brits have posted negative feedback online, in the form of a review of a company, product or service, says Fasthosts.

Research of 1,300 web users by the hosting firm revealed younger Brits are more likely to post negative comments with 52 percent of under 24 year-olds admitting to the practice compared to 39 percent of those aged 25 to 34 and 38 percent of those aged 45 to 54. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as online forums are the most common outlets for these negative posts.

Furthermore, 84 percent said they'd forgive a company for mistakes and be willing to use it again if the firm engaged with their negative online review and discussed the issues with them. However, only 12 percent of small firms said they engage with online complaints.

According to Internet Psychologist Graham Jones Brits get a sense of freedom and power from complaining on social networks.

"As a result, this is a growing problem for companies and is something they must do as a matter of routine. Interestingly, several studies show that when people have their complaints positively responded to they are more supportive of the business than they were before the complaint was made. Psychological research shows this is linked to the fact that when the complaint is responded to well, people feel as though they are being cared for, which produces positive emotional responses".

Stephen Holford, Fasthosts' marketing director, added: "Addressing negative online material enables a company to learn about their customer experience as well as improve their customer retention and online reputation".