BHS Customer Care Mistakes Which Made It Look Like It Didn’t Care!

Faulty Product Faulty Customer Care at BHS!

I purchased an ice hockey game for a Christmas present last year for brothers who were obviously disappointed when they found that everything other than the table was missing! Seriously!

I took the item back (oh so you would have looked inside the box before buying would you? Yes well I didn’t, I didn’t think BHS was like well known DIY stores with missing pieces in their kits did I?!)

So, I wrote to BHS. Why didn’t I take the item back to the shop? Why should I? More inconvenience! It was no use to anyone, wasn’t like they could sell it to anyone! I wanted a replacement though so would have done if it was for a replacement. But the service got worse so consequently did my willingness to be accommodating. Okay so there wasn’t much tolerance there in the first place and your point is? I was told that I would need to return the item to where I bought it and they could pull up the invoice so long as I bought it within a month. I informed them that it was not within the month. I then received an email saying that it was difficult to comment on whether the item was faulty. D’oh! I think it’s quite obvious if an air hockey set has all the pieces other than the table missing that the product is faulty? The actual table wasn’t faulty though, that much was true.

So, I wrote again spelling out the “fault”! They responded again. Their response ignored the point that I no longer had the receipt, (the item was reduced significantly after Christmas) so if I took the item back I wouldn’t get a full refund. I also requested payment for the diesel used in driving to take the item back, I didn’t request money for my time in doing so though, which was an error on my part but I did ask for redress for the inconvenience! They didn’t offer to source a replacement from another store which I requested either.

So I wrote again. I basically repeated myself and was told that I could contact my local store and see if they had any in their warehouses. Given the circumstances I would have expected the Customer Services staff to do this. You wouldn’t? Well perhaps you need to expect better service!

So… I wrote again (are you keeping up? This is the 4th time of writing to them. I said that I didn’t have the receipt. Yes, I did say that before.

I was told “if it is a manufacturing fault…” casting doubt on half the product missing being faulty and/or insinuating that I was not telling the truth! The first assumption would be stupid but not the first time staff questioned whether a box missing all the pieces was faulty, the second, well let’s just say that’s when I see red.

So, I wrote again saying I expected to be compensated for the travel and inconvenience and offered to post the item back if they provided me with postage. Guess what I got in the email response? A blank email. Yep, blank.

BHS repeatedly told the same thing

So… I emailed again. Okay I’ve lost count now. On the 6th time? This time I emailed the CEO though. I pointed out that my points regarding redress for the inconvenience had been ignored as had my suggestion of posting the item and the final question as to why I was sent a blank email. I also informed him that the unnecessarily long protracted correspondence had been with various staff which in itself is poor service, communication should be with one person to keep continuity. Bullet pointed the list of correspondence and the failure of staff to deal with the matter.

 

I received an email back from the CEO’s department. I got £30 refund and £15 BHS voucher. They said I could keep the table and do what I liked with it. Ideas on a comment? I sent a cheque for £30 to the boys (yep I think that went down better than the original present fully complete would have done!)

Evaluation

Very poor customer service! Repeatedly not answering simple queries. Begs the questions “What part about the parts are missing don’t you understand?” and “What part of “No” don’t you understand?” and (well you get the picture). It’s not good to have different people respond to a customer either. It’s rude, disrespectful and shows that they don’t care enough to see the problem through. Their customer care could do with reading this.

Customer Service 0 out of 10
CEO 5 out of 10
CEO Office 9 out of 10
Prize £30 refund plus £15 voucher

Rating BHS needs to take stock in more ways than one!

Can We Really Trust the BBC to Bring us Real Experts?

The BBC recently used male “experts” to discuss breast cancer and teenage pregnancy. Just read this article courtesy of the Guardian.  So, they asked women who had breast cancer, survivors, people who had been through treatment, women who had advised on treatment? Sort of, for anecdotal evidence. The report on breast cancer being discussed was on distress and impact. On whom? Women! Yet a man was interviewed about it? For the teenage pregnancy piece it asked a young woman who had a child when a teenager, a mother of a pregnant teenager, a woman at least? Nope. A man. So of course they had great insight. NOT.  Caroline Criado-Perez writes a really interesting article here about the BBC’s messages it gives out on experience and expertise.

Stop making excuses BBC
BBC makes excuses for not having female experts. Ludicrous

How on EARTH can a man know what it is like to be a woman? Never mind one with breast cancer. How on EARTH can a man put himself in the position of a teenage girl never mind one who is pregnant? Any sensible man asked to do that would laugh in the questioner’s face and say “Don’t be so ridiculous”.  Now, I am a great believer in the arts and the use of drama to teach just about anything (and that’s another worry for anyone who cares about education taking the arts out of the Ebacc) and so believe role play is very important in getting people to empathise and all that. But seriously, that’s not what is going on here is it?! The opinion is being asked for by a so called expert in the field. It isn’t a lesson aimed at people sharing and learning from each other and seeing other people’s points of views is it?!

I don’t think there is any discussion to be had! It is quite simple. If you want an expert in a certain field, particularly one that requires experience and/or ability to empathise you don’t ask someone unable to do that however much knowledge they may have. It is insulting to all concerned.  It is quite ludicrous for the BBC to say that they were unable to find women. Criado-Perez and her co-founder, Catherine Smith founded The Women ‘s Room UK a site for women to register as experts for the media. Within 48 hours they had 40 people register. So the BBC couldn’t even put out a single Tweet? Rubbish. Why couldn’t they do that? Laziness? Stupidity? Apathy?  It’s not rocket science (bet they’d get a man to speak on that though!) Get me in that BBC on the Board I’d soon sort them all out I can tell you!

But seriously, it’s like my saying (point 8) that if you are a company selling to children/young people/families and you aren’t involving them in feedback and development then you are missing a trick and what about the people you don’t know you aren’t getting feedback from? (point 7) Similarly “Points of View” and focus groups have their limitations. The BBC needs to get ahead and involve its viewers more. The customers. If only the BBC was more innovative involving their customers! Is that too scary a thought for them? Perhaps we the customers know best and the BBC Powers That Be might be surprised by how much expert advice it gets.

I asked the question on a LinkedIn Q & A and someone thought that my saying that you need a female to answer questions on how a female feels about having breast cancer or be a female to understand being pregnant as a teenager made me prejudiced and offensive. I like to think of myself as unprejudiced and well I can certainly be offensive but I don’t believe that this point of view is either of those things!

What do you think are the reasons for such a shortage of female experts on the BBC?

So, if you are a woman or know a woman who is an expert in her field get them to register on The Women’s Room UK or indeed Find a TV Expert

May 2014 update. Well, given that I have appeared on the BBC a few times now regarding complaining and consumer rights I’m not sure whether that is an improvement or not?!

Scare the Trick or Treaters The Complaining Cow Way!

I put in “Ideas for really frightening children at Halloween” into Google images. Up came a picture of Amy Childs and one of Boris Johnson. So look out for them trick or treating and make sure you scare them away so they don’t come back!

Dress your dog up for Halloween to scare the kids away

Right, I don’t care if you think Halloween is great fun and a good opportunity to go round to people’s houses and let your kids annoy, inconvenience and scare people they don’t know. It’s begging okay? If you have friends with whom you have agreed for your child/ren to trick or treat with that is not. That is agreeing a game. Going round to people’s houses and asking for sweets and money is begging and that’s illegal did you know? Simples. So many of the kids that do go begging don’t even make an effort with their costume, so they are lazy as well. How many collect for charity? You do? Really? Where’s your ID and paperwork?

The kids round our way know that the witch lives at our house so don’t bother! The bull accidentally did a trick a few years ago. He told them to come back later when I was in. They did and I sent them away with “A don’t come begging at my door” still ringing in their ears as they went along their merry way. Good trick eh?

On a cautionary note joking aside don’t let your kids go to doors of people they don’t know because it is rude frankly. But if you must do it please please please go with them. 1) To stop them actually getting into trouble and 2) It’s not actually safe to let kids roam streets knocking on random doors you know! Some people won’t be told though… I used to run open access play schemes and children as young as five would be sent out on their own to play…

Link to a poster to say no to trick or treating if you want to be a bit more polite than me at The Diary of a Frugal Family blog.

On Facebook I asked for some ideas for frightening children. Here are some tame and less tame ones should you need some inspiration.

1) Worm jelly
2) Push scary plastic hand through letterbox (with one finger missing optional)
3) Open door foaming at the mouth (milk shake or soap if you are feeling brave and shout “I have rabies”
4) Lie at the door under dark sheet and sit up and shout as the kids approach the door
5) Brussels wrapped up in foil and put in jelly
6) Race out of door dressed in white coat covered in fake blood and chainsaw in hand (blade not in there please!)
7) Let off fire extinguisher
8) Dress as the Black Reaper hidden in the darkness then just slowly appear as they walk towards the door
9) Dress your dog up like the picture
10) Cover onions in chocolate and put them on sticks
11) Put a sign up on the door saying “The Vagrancy Act 1824 (section 3) Enables the arrest of anybody who is begging”.
Or perhaps the most frightening of all….
12) Get The Complaining Cow to open the door…

Please add to the list here!

 

Flowers Direct Didn’t Direct Flowers!

No Friesians here!

A few months ago I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my husband’s sister. Now I have to say I’ve used Flowers Direct a lot over the years and never had a problem until now…!

Luckily my husband asked his sister if she liked the flowers and she said she hadn’t received them. As you would expect if you have read anything on this Blog I complained. I emailed on the 30th April to say that they hadn’t been delivered. I got a stunning email in return. I received a confirmation on the 1st May that the delivery on the 30th April would be made. Good eh? I emailed again and got a response to say that they were looking into it. Days later I emailed again but heard nothing. So on the 11th May I emailed the CEO quoting the relevant Laws that they were breaking. (Supply of Goods and Service Act 1982 and Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994) (For goods and services after October 1st 2015 use the Consumer Rights Act 2015). No response. So what does one do then? You can always do something! I drafted a letter to the Credit Card company as Flowers Direct had not delivered anything for the money. I sent them a copy and guess what? Yes, I got a reply!

The amount was under £100 and so it was therefore not protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Card Act . However it would be fraud if a company takes money and doesn’t provide anything for it!

Evaluation
Flowers Direct was involved in some business buying out another and so emails were getting lost I was told. So often it’s poor internal communication that results in the non delivery of goods/service. The Customer Services Representative gave a full refund and asked if I would like a bouquet sent to the recipient or myself. I told her both (and got them!)

Customer Service 7 out of 10
CEO 0 out of 10
Prize £40 refund plus two bouquets

 

Rating – on the turn?

A New Programme Format! People on Their Own Gaining Redress from Companies!

Yesterday Martin Lewis asked for people who have had successes with gaining money back using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Obviously I have! More than once! Having good stories to tell I got in contact with Laura. She wanted me to come in to be interviewed this morning. I couldn’t because I wouldn’t have been able to get there in time (despite her kind offers of help). She told me that for the rest of the series they will be looking at people that need Martin’s help on various topics. This is the only segment where they needed to find people to talk about their success stories. For example, they’d be looking for someone who has had a private parking ticket further down the line, but not someone who has already successfully appealed against it. (Of course I have had success appealing a parking ticket!)

The excellent Watchdog, and charismatic Dominic Littlewood etc. all focus on people who need help in gaining redress. How about a programme showing people who are doing it without help?  Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a place for these informative programmes (even threatening to take matters to Watchdog is often enough to get what you want!) and they do cover the more difficult ones where often I would simply be taking the company to Court. (Yes done that and won too more than once!) However, in addition to this style of programme wouldn’t it be good to see normal people challenging CEOs on their customer service? Or simply gaining redress on simple matters? Wouldn’t that make for a different kind of programme? It would be just as helpful as the other types. Sometimes people watch Watchdog and think that there’s no point in trying to gain redress from companies because it’s too difficult, takes too long or they don’t have the knowledge. I would love to see (be part of even!) a programme where average people assert their legal rights and indeed are part of improving customer service with their feedback. This might encourage people to fight too! I’d give Anne Robinson a run for her money if I could speak with Phillip Clarke  CEO of Tesco who ignored me! More than once. Perhaps some more women on there too BBC?!

Would you like to see a programme where you see people fight back at companies treating them inappropriately? Find it interesting, useful, and/or helpful? Who wants to put the TV series proposal together?!