Not such an Easylife customer service

I often get asked about the last complaint I made and I always say  it is about the principle of complaining however much the amount.  I complained about less than a fiver on behalf of my mother. Here’s the story!

The order

On the 12th January she ordered from Easylife: gloves at £14.99, boots at £14.99 and a wallet for £9.99, making the total £39.97

She had a voucher for free P & P if spending over £30. However! After ordering and payment taken, she received an email with only the boots and wallet with p and p added totalling £29.97. When she queried this on the 12th January she received a response 4 days later on the 16th January at the end of the day to say that the order did not include the gloves because they were temporarily out of stock. However, there was no explanation for why my mother was not informed of this before submitting the order. Breach of Consumer Rights Act 2015. Easylife is not allowed to make changes to an order without agreement by the customer.

Processing payments

On the 12th January £9.99 plus a further payment of £19.98 total £29.97 was taken from my mother’s account. On the 23rd January my mother emailed Easylife to say that she had been to her account where it said that the items should be dispatched within 5 days. It had been 11 and that the tracking system was not working. On the 24th January my mother received a reply to say that the wallet was out of stock and the items would be despatched together. Interesting that Easylife could process an order for one item that was out of stock and not another. Breach of Consumer Rights Act 2015 for not providing services with reasonable skill and care. This was demonstrated further as on the 5th February my mother emailed to say that she had actually received the wallet but not the boots! She requested a refund for the postage and packing and clarity regarding the other item given that Easylife incorrectly said that the wallet had not been dispatched.  On the 6th February a further £9.99 was taken from the account, making a total of £39.96. In effect Easylife has charged my mother for all three items but not sent them. This is a breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and is fraud if Easylife has no intention of actually sending the items as it would appear it doesn’t. Easylife has not provided services with reasonable skill and care. Easylife did not have the courtesy of even sending a standard response to my mother’s email of the 6th February. On the 8th February she found that £14.99 had been put back on her card. No-one at Easylife has had the manners or common sense to send any correspondence as to what this referred.

Still with me?

So after advising her on how to complain I had some fun.

The Complaining Cow complains

Ok, ’twas time for me to step in, ‘cos….

The administrative errors, lack of undertaking services with reasonable skill and care and the absolutely dire communication which was downright rude, annoyed me. Won’t have my mum receiving treatment like that thank you very much.  So I wrote to the CEO, addresses at – In short, I requested that my mother received all her items within 5 days. I also expected something for the inconvenience and stress that they had caused.

I forgot to add my mother’s account details and so actually sent another email straight after. (That’s important to remember!)

hands in gloves Easylife making customer service difficult

Two weeks later, I’m not sure how or why I waited that long, was very busy! I had had enough and sent an email with “Email before action” in the subject line. I told the CEO  that I had not received an acknowledgement never mind a satisfactory response. Told him that I was on BBC Breakfast, ITV News and Channel 5 News the previous week regarding customer service and complaints. I was asked in one of these programmes about the importance of complaining and I mentioned this story. I informed him of legal action and that he may like to resolve the matter and provide a comment for my article on the issues. It was also likely that the story would feature in the next book “The Worst Customer Service Known to Man”, in addition to a couple of conferences I would be speaking at the following month.

That is the first and only time I have ever used my persona The Complaining Cow. Too near the “Do you know who I am?” kind of rubbish. But here it was good to mention that I had actually used the story in the media because their service was so bad!

The response

Two hours 35 mins later I got a response from Customer Services! A useless one but a response. I was told by, let’s call her Sarah, that she had written to my mother and that if I had any further questions to contact her. I did, so I did. Meanwhile my mother told her to deal with me!

Sarah said that she had checked with their bank and could see that my mum had been charged and refunded and then charged again for the Boots, but the item has not been dispatched. She had checked with the warehouse and the item was no longer available. Therefore, she cancelled the order and refunded her for the item. They were hoping to source the boots and send them to her free of charge. (To date this has not been successful). The gloves were removed from the order as they had run out of stock and they had no date for replenishment. However, this should not have been done without my mother’s authorisation, so they sent these out to her free of charge.

Sarah refunded the postage cost of £4.99 and additionally a generous £10 for the inconvenience caused.

I noted that she blamed most of the errors on systems. However, she did not say that my mother should not have been charged the postage and made no reference to the human who told her that the amount was correctly charged. Why would a member of staff give the reason that they did? Although I put this to Sarah I did not get a response. I also asked why, when I emailed the CEO, Mr Caplan two weeks previously, twice I got no response but this time I got a reply within 3 hours. Was it the mention of court? The media? Conferences? Next book?

The chase

I didn’t get a reply so a few days later I emailed again. I told Sarah that I gave a short presentation at an awards ceremony on complaint handling and included this story. I was discussing how, if a company can’t even get these basics right, the CEO ignores correspondence regarding breach of consumer law, provides appalling service and it takes threats of legal action to get anything done (albeit a response lacking in substance) how can it possibly do things right for more vulnerable customers as that is where the challenge is for most decent companies, ensuring that they respond to all not the most damaging. I said “They are here tonight….” that got a good laugh round the room. So thanked her for providing me with material for future conferences.

I gave her until 9.00am on the Monday to provide a comment.

The next response

Despite specifically saying only correspond in writing, they tried to phone me. The Head of Customer Service, let’s call him Jarvis, emailed after I refused to answer the phone. I told him that I would only deal in email and please could he have the courtesy of answering my queries. The response was almost comical. It included the following:

“The order was received via an order form and owing to it containing credit card information was securely shredded immediately upon completion, therefore I accept in good faith that the order was requested for 3 items:

5921 gloves £14.99

9566 boots £14.99

6535 wallet £9.99”

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? They don’t keep records of orders? Who believes that? Anyone?

Women's feet with black ankle chunky heeled boots

“It would appear that the agent” (“Agent”?  A secret one perhaps?) processing the order saw that the arthritis gloves were out of stock with no restock date and, in the agent’s belief of enhanced service, removed the gloves as they believed these would never be fulfilled. As already acknowledged, this was an error on the agent’s behalf and this has been addressed with the agent and the entire order form placement team.

This resulted then in the order falling below the free postage & packing offer, hence an additional £4.99 was charged. Unfortunately, our order processing system was not updated with the arthritis gloves and to anyone subsequently looking at the order it would appear that £4.99 was indeed chargeable for delivery as there is no reference to the gloves that would have taken the order above £30.

I acknowledge and apologise for the delay in response you received from your original email, that would be due to Mr Caplan being on holiday since 3rd Feb. However, even then he does forward (and believed he had in this instance) all necessary communications to relevant parties to handle. In this instance it appears that forwarding failed” (twice remember) “and hence no response was received by yourself. As to why [Sarah] was handling your query is quite simple: she is the most experienced within the head office team across all aspects of account management and hence does the investigations where errors occur and responded directly as neither Mr Caplan nor I were available.” (Remember she ignored many queries).

“With regard to payments made and received:

  • Your mother has been charged and refunded for snow boots twice
  • Has been charged and refunded for postage
  • Has been charged for aluma wallet
  • Been credited a goodwill payment of £10

= net £0.01 in [her] favour.”

Yup he’s actually pointing to the fact that she is 1p in credit. How generous. In addition if they can get the boots they will send them to her. Still not arrived. She actually received the gloves so she is in credit for more than 1p but honestly how bad is this company?

There was no comment provided for the blog post, so make your own mind up!

Not such an Easylife huh?

If you are struggling getting redress for faulty goods, poor service etc. see Top 20 tips for complaining effectively.

Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!


For more advice, laws, stories and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!





Ryanair in fresh misleading information claims

Ryanair is continuing to misinform its passengers about their legal rights.

In continued problems for Ryanair, the airline announced that 150 out of the 400 flights scheduled to fly to and from Germany would be cancelled on 12 September 2018, due to a 24-hour strike by pilots and cabin crew.

Ryanair appears to be sticking to its position on not paying compensation to its beleagured passengers.  A spokesperson for the airline said “Ryanair complies fully with EU261 legislation, under which no compensation is payable to customers when the (strike) delay/cancellation is beyond the airline’s control. If these strikes, by a tiny minority of Ryanair pilots, were within Ryanair’s control, there would have been no strikes and no cancellations.”

Ryanair’s position runs contrary to a ruling by the European Court of Justice from April 2018. The case of Helga Krüsemann and Others v TUIfly GmbH  found that a strike by an airline company’s employees are not “extraordinary circumstances” for the purposes of compensation.

Ryanair aeroplanes on runway text Ryanair misinformation continues

Back in August I, spotted more irregularity regarding Ryanair and compensation. As a general rule of thumb, travellers are due EU compensation if a flight is cancelled or arrives more than 3 hours late. However… for flights up to 3,500km in length, there are varying amounts of compensation when travellers are bumped from a flight due to overbooking and are delayed by UPTO 3 hours. This is also the case for flights where travellers have been given fewer than 14 days’ notice of a cancellation.  (Travellers are not entitled to a full refund plus compensation, the compensation can only be claimed if you experienced the delay as part of your journey not sitting in your departure airport. If you didn’t travel, then you are not entitled to compensation.)

As of today (17 September 2018) the Ryanair EU Compensation claim form still provided the following misinformation:

“Delayed refers to flight delays over three hours. Claims will not be accepted for delays less than three hours”.

So, it appears that, in addition to Ryanair telling passengers they are not entitled to compensation due to pilot strikes, it is also denying them further rights for shorter journeys.

In August of this year I brought this to the attention of the CAA for action by the regulator. A spokesperson for the CAA said:

“We thank ‘The Complaining Cow website’ for highlighting this issue with Ryanair.  The UK Civil Aviation Authority will be asking the airline to review the way it displays information to ensure consumers are fully aware of their rights.”

As of (insert date and time of posting this!) The site still says 3 hours. Be wary of being denied their rights by airlines such as Ryanair. It really is about time the CAA took control of the situation with Ryanair. Last year it took enforcement action for persistently misleading passengers with inaccurate information about their rights in respect of cancellations. The same is happening again, and although the CAA has issued a statement saying that Ryanair should be paying compensation, it has so far fallen short of taking enforcement action.

For more information about the Ryanair story, how you CAN claim, what you should quote to increase your chances of being successful and the issues around further action and ADR, see Landing in court with Ryanair.