Smart Car Taunton Not Smart Enough for this Cow!

Mooooooooving on

Last year this mob annoyed me. Why? Because they annoyed my mother. You know how it is, it’s bad enough when someone annoys you but when they start on your family, well that’s it isn’t it really? So, after listening to my mother moan about it for two minutes (so therefore two minutes too long, you know how it is) I told her to give me the details in an email and I would deal with it. I knew this was going to be a hard one. Cars are a difficult one, it’s very hard to prove faults and well, it’s hard! But I’m The Complaining Cow, so I complained.

Earlier that year she had bought a Smart car. A couple of months later my brother noticed that the front near side tyre was flat. (The car hadn’t been driven for a while because my father had been seriously ill). She therefore called Smart Assistance who sent someone out for recovery. A garage repaired what appeared to have been a slow puncture. The repair had cost £12.00.

A couple of months later my mother went to drive the car and the battery (original battery) was flat. Again, she telephoned Smart Assistance. The battery was put on charge and she was told that everything was fine and to leave the engine running for 20 minutes. She then went out in the car to a local garden centre. She went back to her parked car after three quarters of an hour to find the battery flat. She ‘phoned Smart Assistance once again who again sent out a recovery vehicle. The man said luckily he had a smart battery that was suitable in the van. So he replaced the battery and charged her £53.00. (I know, disgraceful huh?) She then telephoned Mercedes Taunton and explained what had happened and asked if it was under the warranty I don’t much care much for warranties. I prefer the Law. My mother was entitled to a full refund as the car was sold as satisfactory and in good running order. It was not. I believed that Mercedes was therefore in breach of the Sale of Goods Act 1994 again so a full refund is what she would get!

Later they phoned back to say that Head Office, as a goodwill gesture would give her back half of the amount, they refunded £26.50.

Since then the car had been running well until a month later. My mother drove the car 6 days previously, but then the battery was flat. She ‘phoned Smart Assistance yet again. (Oh poo, only just realised that I should have been claiming for ‘phone calls!) He found the battery to be faulty. He tested everything including the alternator etc. He said she would have to take the car back to Exeter which was ridiculous. (It’s about an hour away from Taunton). He then drove her to Mercedes Taunton after charging the battery. She spoke to someone and they said they’d call the following day. They didn’t and she had to ‘phone them. I know, dreadful! Anyway, she was told that there had been a problem and that the battery was not only faulty but their suppliers had sent a wrong battery to replace it, and could she should ‘phone the following day.

My mother was told that they hoped the right battery would be in by Monday 21st and that it would cost her £147.00 and she could come and pick the car up.

No smart customer service at Smart car!

It was at this point I stuck my hoof in….

So I complained. A lot. I didn’t want her to; have to go and get the car, pay for the puncture repair, pay for the faulty battery, pay for the new battery and I wanted her to be refunded fully for the first one, oh and something for the inconvenience of course! We wanted to return the vehicle for a full refund. I knew this was never going to happen, but here’s a tip, always always go for more than you want. That way they can come down thinking they have won something and you get what you want!

The Manager offered to return the car when the battery was done at just the cost she had had refunded! i.e. she would still have to pay the full cost of the battery! So she would, in effect have a new battery which I didn’t think she should have needed and be out of pocket by £53.00. I thought this wasn’t good enough personally.

So, off went an email to the MD pointing out a few legal facts, quotes from their publicity and the like. Few more emails backwards and forwards. He seemed to think that we had no grounds for returning the car and couldn’t prove anything regarding the car being faulty at time of purchase. However, I am pleased to say that my powers of persuasion convinced him to pay:

£12 puncture repair refund
£53.00 battery refund
£100 goodwill gesture (I do so love these goodwill gestures)
(She had the £26.50 on top of this already paid by the other people!)

Evaluation

It took a while but I refuse to accept the first response if I don’t like it! I was particularly pleased that garages in Taunton were impressed saying that Mercedez are notoriously bad with their customer service!

Customer Service 4 out of 10
MD 7 out of 10
Prize £191.50 plus a battery

Rating – Churned out ok

Why did @jamieoliver Ignore a Perfectly Reasonable Question?

 Offal huh?

Well, I think Jamie has been doing a good job trying to get food improved in schools and all that stuff! But was curious as to why, the Jamie Oliver fish fingers in Sainsbury’s have more fat and carbohydrates than Sainsbury’s own.  Sold as having natural breadcrumbs, great. I tweeted @JamieOliver why do your fish fingers have more carbs and fat in them than Sainsbury’s own? Now don’t you think that’s a perfectly reasonable question? You’d think that Jamie’s fish fingers would be more healthy wouldn’t you? Perhaps they are?! But I think he could have told me why. Well I won’t be buying his products in future! (Although I’ll still keep using the recipes from his books, particularly the yummy pork one, anyway I digress…)

A variety of fish fingers what's the best and why?
A variety of fish fingers available to the consumer but what’s the best and why?

If Martin Lewis (that man is brilliant) can respond to more than one question from me on Twitter so can Jamie Oliver. Don’t you think?

Perhaps this post will get tweeted a few times and we’ll see a response from him?! I’ll certainly let you know if I do!

 

Shopping Yesterday

What cheesed me off?

Nothing enough to actually write a letter of complaint to anyone but after 3 hours at the Lakeside outlet here is my little list

1) M & S didn’t have a coat discounted from £68 to £14  in my size
2) Home and Sense in Romford had a vase, I went to get it at Lakeside they didn’t have it
3) Next didn’t have my size (I’m a 10/12!) in hardly anything I liked in their outlet
4) Boots only had self service checkouts going, really hate them!
Then here comes the one that will have irritated many of you I’m sure..
5) Long queue at Asda outlet. THREE people all standing on the shop floor doing nothing but watching the queue and talking to each other. They weren’t helping any customers because they were all in the queue.
Oh and another common irritant;
6) Discount price cards tagged through t shirts. Cut it off and there’s not one but 2 holes. Idiotic.

Now, you could say that there isn’t anything stores can do about the above. But there is actually. You know what sizes go first, make more of them! Have an order in service from other stores in the chain. Put at least one member of staff on a checkout, we know you are saving money but actually it’s easy to go somewhere else when just buying snacks so it backfires. Manage staff properly and encourage them to use their initiative such dealing with long queues and staff not doing anything! Have a written procedure for attaching cards to clothes! You’d think it was common sense but the ridiculous amount of times it happens it just supports my belief that common sense is a skill and a difficult one to teach at that. Encourage them to use their initiative! See here for more tips!

Got some bargains though so can’t complain too much….

But should you need to email the CEOs of the above here they are:

Contact Marks and Spencer CEO
Contact Asda CEO
Contact Next CEO
Contact Boots CEO and
Contact Home Sense

 

 

Tesco – Phillip Clarke is no Sir Terry Leahy

And a few years on we have Dave Lewis as the new group CEO and Matt Davies as the UK CEO being interviewed by me! (Although Tesco had full editorial control):

For links to lots more recent stories about Tesco and me including taking them to court and winning see Complaining Cow history with Tesco.

Tesco UK CEO email address

Tesco Group CEO email address

The post below is from 2012.

I had a right beef with Tesco! 

Tesco Service Omnishambles!

Diabolical! It was my latest dealings with Tesco Customer Service that gave me the final nudge to get this Blog started!

Update January 2015– I have realised that when you put “Tesco Complaints” into Google that this post comes up. Hilarious really. Since writing this post I have had more dealings with Tesco, including taking them to Court. Please see links to all these posts here.

Also people will insist on assuming that they can complain to me as if I were a Tesco employee. Rather foolish and obviously shows that they haven’t even read this post! Also, gives some indication perhaps as to why their complaint is being ignored by Tesco if they  don’t actually read things or are simply rude!

Tesco contacts for complaints
I also keep being asked for contact details for Tesco so here you are:

Tesco contact details:
email for customer services: customer.services@tesco.co.uk
email for CEO here
All Tesco departments contact details here. ‘phone numbers and addresses.

If you are looking for how to complain to Tesco, see the links are above and you might also be interested in using the book How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

Tesco – Phillip Clarke is no Sir Terry Leahy

Years ago I complained to Tesco when Tesco was doing well and when Sir Terry Leahy was CEO there. I got a personal response that was signed by him. One can assume that as the new incumbent Phillip Clarke  ignored several emails from me and the customer service is shambolic, that contempt for the customer is creeping in, perhaps a very good reason why Tesco has slipped from its top position.

Summary (all correspondence available on request!):

4th June took items ordered from Tesco Clothing online back to the store for refund. Had used double up vouchers. Customer Services representative did not know what to do and had to telephone Tesco. I was told that he needed to “…give [me] a few pennies and that somewhere between £5 and £10 will be credited to [my] account.” Told him not acceptable! More confusion and went back after shopping and was given misinformation and nothing in writing although I requested it.
4th June wrote to Clubcard no reply
12th June forwarded email to Customer Services requesting something done, pointing out that doubling up vouchers offer ended on the 13th June and £5 was still in the Clothing website account incorrectly, it should be on the Clubcard or £10 in Clothing otherwise it was a credit note and not a full refund
13th June forwarded email to Phillip Clarke Tesco CEO requesting something done
14th June Tweeted to Tesco and after several Tweets sent details on
15th June and got a reply that did not relate to the complaint but a previous one and made no sense!
15th June Tweeted as such to Tesco and emailed back. Told back in touch as soon as possible
15th June – received email stating that she was unable to work out what complaint to respond to (despite the actual email being in the body of the email and nothing else in the original email!) Offered £20
17th June – wrote back attaching the relevant email again and pointing out that I had now missed website offers due to their delay in responding
18th June – still no response
19th June in the evening – Tweeted that still not had response
19th June – Tesco told me email was in the queue. Reminded them that my original email was dated 4th June! Told that the manager could ‘phone but couldn’t email! Asked for that bizarre state of affairs to be added to the list of complaints! (Was never explained why she could ‘phone but not email!)
19th June – told would get a response by email soon as possible
21st June – still no response. Told would get that one that morning
21st June PM – got an email from the Executive team offered £40 Tesco Moneycard apologised but did not address all complaints, I emailed back as did he no further forward.
26th June – received an email from the Customer Relations Manager at Tesco apologising and saying that the CEO office had responded. I emailed back pointing out the 2 issues regarding not being able to take advantage of offers on the website due to the delay in responding had not been addressed
28th June – received email from Executive Office stating surprise that I had said 2 issues were not addressed and I had copied and pasted a paragraph from previous email which did not address them!
3rd July  – sent a clarification email, I also asked if he would like a link when my Blog was up and running!
6th July – agreed in part with what I said (he had no choice, I was left with money in my Clothing account against their own policy!) that’s the end of this matter at last. Would have been at the £40 but he went and wrote to me suggesting I was wrong and he certainly wasn’t going to get away with THAT!

I asked if they would like to pay me for my knowledge and experience of customer service and how they could improve. They declined my offer! How very silly!

Evaluation

This was a sorry state of customer service. So many people wasting so much of my time! So many not given the right tools. It reflects badly on Tesco too when you think this is how the CEO of Sainsbury’s responds to a complaint. A different league in CEOs from a customer’s point of view I’m sure you’ll agree?!

As you can see, it wasn’t about gaining money it was about the principle of the thing. Annoyingly I went to Tesco to use the Moneycard so I could then take my custom in future to Sainsbury’s and forgot to use the card! Dozy cow! But the next time I went I bought just over £40 of shopping had a £4 off voucher used a £10 Tesco gift card (I have forgotten what I complained about to get that!!) and the £40 card. £13 left. £40 worth of shopping and get £13 change! Amooooosed me!

Seriously though, in May of this year Which? published a Customer Service survey of 11,000 people. Tesco came 4th worst!  A change in focus from the new CEO at Apple from customer to revenue (remember Steve Jobs’ legacy Good enough is not good enough) is not helping their profits either!

Customer Service 2 out of 10
CEO 0 out of 10
Executive Office 6 out of 10
Prize £40

Update to this post. Do have a look at the other Tesco posts some are more amusing 🙂

 

 

 

To Complain or not Complain

Which herd are you in?

Complaining effectively and not just for complaining’s sake all started here for me. Then some months ago, whilst successfully task avoiding and hunting through threads on LinkedIn, I came across Steve Clarke’s thread.  He challenged people not to complain for 7 days.

You can see where he is coming from. Not focussing on rubbish instead of the job in hand, positive thinking and all that. Of course there were the sheep who followed Steve and did all that “cow” towing about how it completely changed their lives! But being the argumentative soul that I am, I waded in with the fact that sometimes complaining is necessary. You gain redress, bring about change and can bring in funds!

John Towers posted this: “Would it be valid to draw a distinction between moaning and complaining? I would suggest that a complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction which the person voicing it would expect to result in some sort of positive remedial action (probably by somebody else!), whereas a moan is a negative and apathetic response by someone who is not prepared to take responsibility for a situation”

Now that is probably a more eloquent way of explaining the difference between moaning and complaining than mine in the “About” page! We also agreed that where services for vulnerable people are concerned complaining is not only good it is essential! We work in businesses where we have to be ready to make and deal objectively and fairly with complaints, not least because it is stipulated in relevant regulations. That in turn makes improvements in services, why wouldn’t you want to have that approach and make a difference in any other kind of service?

Steve did concede though that “Yes there’s an art to effective complaining – where you see a positive outcome”. Hey I’m an artist! He also wrote how he didn’t complain when an organisation contacted him while he was on holiday when it was clearly at fault. Steve was satisfied with not complaining and just confusing them. Me, I would complain and gain redress from them for inconveniencing me with their errors!

Steve and I were possibly arguing semantics at times, but in essence you are looking at not complaining and just getting on with the task in hand or complaining effectively and getting a positive result. To be fair they probably both have their place, but I’m a Change Manager, I want to affect change, have fun and if I make a bit of money for others and myself where applicable all the better. I had to stop arguing with Steve on Facebook and LinkedIn when I found out that he was using my posts in a seminar as how he got someone using one social network to engage on another. Someone called me a stalker because of the length of my post! NO! It was a long post because I used lots of evidence to back up my argument! Interestingly Steve did not engage in the debate. Perhaps more sensible than engaging in debate with me maybe…?!

I disagreed with Steve’s “Good enough is good enough” stance arguing that “Good enough is not good enough” (Steve Jobs’ legacy!)   I also disagreed with him when he said that an email sent with grammatical errors didn’t matter. So I do hope that this Blog is good enough and there aren’t any errors!!!

The 7 Day Challenge thread was probably one of the main inspirations for writing a Blog! (Cheers Steve!) Firstly there was no way I was rising to the challenge! Secondly, because I’ll use any tool available to me to prove my point, I decided to use a Blog!

Do share – which herd are you in?