This week I have experienced two very different extremes when it comes to customer service. Unfortunately, and as you might expect, the worst experience has a lasting effect, and indeed is very much ongoing as I write this post. I feel so passionate about this that I simply have to vent, to write it down, to get the words out of my head and into the wider world.
First, the good experience. I finally got round to ordering a new double mattress, and I ordered it from Argos. They are to me a good, family oriented company, and one I have even worked for in the past, albeit briefly. My parents used to shop at Argos when I was a child, and although I don’t shop there very often myself, I decided to order a new mattress from them. I found the item online, and then went to a local store armed with shopping vouchers to place the order. It was all done very swiftly and easily, and the mattress was even £10 cheaper in store than quoted online, bonus!
Shortly after leaving the store I received a text message confirming my order, and advising me of the delivery date just one week later. Again I was impressed, because the online quote told me it might take up to three weeks. In fact it took just seven days. I received another text message the day before, giving me a time frame covering two hours in which to expect delivery. On the day the item arrived ahead of schedule, and the couriers were very patient when I didn’t hear them banging on my door, and when I left my phone somewhere and didn’t get their messages. Whoops! Anyway, suffice to say I am very happy with Argos, and will continue to shop with them.
Now for the bad experience. I have been sold a tablet computer that developed a fault with the lithium battery. I bought the item from online retailer Very.co.uk for a Christmas present for my husband. About a month ago the plastic backing started to come away from the casing, and when I contacted customer service, I was directed to the manufacturer, Prestigio. After an initial email exchange where I sent photos of the tablet, I was informed that it was a fault with the battery. It has expanded inside the tablet case, and it could be dangerous and is even at risk of exploding. Apparently this has happened on other similar tablets, but I was not told how many.
I would have been happy to have it collected and replaced, but as it turns out Prestigio booked a courier, they refused to collect the hazardous item on the grounds of health and safety, and the customer service team neglected to phone or email and inform me of this. I had to phone them 3 times in as many days, spend 20 minutes on hold each time, and was eventually told why the courier never came. Now Prestigio have asked me to dispose of the tablet (they vaguely suggested I contact my local council for advice), and they will send a replacement tablet “sometime in the next 2 weeks.”
How is that for terrible customer service eh? Now as you have probably guessed, I will not let this pass. I have already contacted my local newspapers, and I sent a contact form online to BBC Watchdog (well, people need to be told!). It’s not so much the faulty item I am upset about. It is the complete lack of care and attention from the customer service department. And the fact that I now have a faulty electrical item sitting in a box on my dining room table, and I can’t simply take it to my local recycling centre because it is classed as hazardous waste. Updates to follow later…