The Spirit of Christmas… Jaded and Black

Posted by @ 1:36 pm on Saturday 29th December, 2012.

When I was in industry the adage was "When times are hard, the first thing to suffer is Quality".

It's fairly obvious that in retailing the first thing to suffer is Customer Service...

 

Retailer 1: Reader's Digest.

  • 16/12/2012 - order for Christmas presents - items shown as in-stock on website - order raised online.
  • 16/12/2012 - email from R.D. - order confirmed.
  • 19/12/2012 - package arrived from R.D. - the paperwork was correct but the wrong item was in the package.
  • 19/12/2012 - I called R.D.'s customer services department and spoke with Mel, a very pleasant and professional woman who checked the order and the stock, apologised, confirmed that the correct item was still in stock and said that she would arrange an exchange via courier.
  • 20/12/2012 - no courier.
  • 21/12/2012 - no courier. I called R.D.'s customer services department again and spoke with a different woman. She was rude and uncooperative, she told me that she didn't know which courier service was being used but a few minutes later told me the name of the courier service, she couldn't be bothered to trace my consignment (she told me that the computer system couldn't trace items, which was a bare-faced lie and I told her so... the paperwork accompanying the first package was generated by R.D. and clearly states "C-round 4049, Drop 49, Van 16"), and she refused point-blank to let me speak to her supervisor or to anyone else there. After I'd ensured that she was recording the conversation I allowed myself to use, rather than lose, my temper. Despite me having to prove my identity by providing my full name, my address and my postcode, she refused to give me her full name. She did tell me that her first name is Jade. Fed up of being stone-walled by this awful woman, I had to hang up the phone before I really lost my rag and said something that I would have regretted later. This was, by far, the rudest customer service experience I've ever had to endure, and that's saying a lot - some readers may recollect my run-ins with F***d & T**k and with G**r Z**e... well, those experiences pale into insignificance compared to having to deal with the bile and bullshit spouted by the less-than-wonderful Jade.
  • 21/12/2012 - phoned my bank to cancel the payment, was told that it was pending and would have to complete before any action could be taken by the bank or by Visa.
  • 24/12/2012 - payment now showing on my bank statement, payment date 21/12/2012
  • 24/12/2012 - the courier arrived to collect the item that had been sent in error, R.D. hadn't given her anything to give me in exchange.
  • 29/12/2012 - still no reply from R.D. No replacement item, no apology, no refund. I phoned R.D.'s customer services again a few minutes ago and spoke with Brian who was very polite, professional and apologetic. He reviewed the situation and told me to expect the item within the next few days. Time will tell. Either way, one of my relatives is still waiting for a Christmas present.

 

Retailer 2: Blacks.

  • 16/12/2012 - order for Christmas presents - items shown as in-stock on website - order raised online.
  • 16/12/2012 - email from Blacks - order confirmed.
  • 17/12/2012 - payment taken, in contradiction of this statement in their FAQ: "Q: Am I charged for the items as soon as I order them? A: No - we will only charge you once your order is despatched."
  • 19/12/2012 - order inexplicably cancelled by Blacks. No explanation, no apology, no mention of a refund.
  • 19/12/2012 - items no longer showing on website.
  • 19/12/2012 - email from me to Blacks asking for an explanation.
  • 19/12/2012 - automated email reply from Blacks, "Thank you for contacting us. Our Customer Care team has received your email safely. Your personal customer reference number is listed in the email header. We aim to respond to all emails within 48 hours although some emails may take a little longer."
  • 29/12/2012 - ten days later and still no refund or response from Blacks.
  • 29/12/2012 - another email from me to Blacks, asking for an explanation, an apology and a refund.
  • 29/12/2012 - automated email reply from Blacks... yes, you guessed it... "Thank you for contacting us. Our Customer Care team has received your email safely. Your personal customer reference number is listed in the email header. We aim to respond to all emails within 48 hours although some emails may take a little longer."
  • I'll give them those 48 hours, if they still can't resolve the problem during that time I'll have to get the Visa folk to sort it out. Meanwhile, two more relatives are short of their Christmas presents.

 

The good news is that all items ordered from Amazon, Play and eBay etc. arrived in good order and in good time.

Happy New Year!

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6 Responses to “The Spirit of Christmas… Jaded and Black”

  1. BG! says:

    Update: Laura at Blacks Customer Services has responded by email, offering an apology and confirming that a refund has been issued.
    A consequence of the power of (negative publicity on) the Internet, perhaps?

  2. George says:

    Good customer service is hard to find nowadays. At least with your issues, you had a human to talk to. Try sorting out a problem with Giffgaff. I spent two weeks trying to find out why I had no credit on my phone when I'd paid out £15 for the month.

    This all had to be done by email and only getting replies after 24 hours and no reason given why or what the problem was.

    Needless to say I'm not with thm anymore and wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

  3. BG! says:

    I've heard many bad things about giffgaff's aftercare processes, George.

    The idea that it's a "mobile network run by you" is fine in principle, but if that means that it's up to you to sort out the problems then it's not such a good thing after all.

    Of the many hundreds of people that the four of us here know, only one is on giffgaff.

  4. AlanR says:

    My word stef you do seem to get the thin edge of the wedge. I hope all your windows still have glass in and the computer is still in one piece.
    On the contrary i have an entirely different story to tell about customer service but the reveal will have to wait until the transaction is complete and gear tested.
    I hope your relatives understand the empty sock on the fireplace.
    Happy new year.

  5. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By AlanR
    My word stef you do seem to get the thin edge of the wedge.

    Sometimes I think I get both ends of the shitty stick and the bit in-between, Alan.
    I look forward to reading your tale, sounds like it'll be worth the wait.
    Hope your New Year's fine too.

  6. BG! says:

    @BG! - Another update: the refund from Blacks has now gone through, transaction date 30/12/2012.

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