Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Customer is always right... or not?!

  Is it me or has customer service just gone downhill in most companies? I was up last night just thinking of how few times I have been pleased with the level of service my husband and I have received over the last year from various companies. It seems that the days when companies actually cared if you came back to them in the future are gone. All they appear to care about is a quick buck.

  The main thing that annoys me these days is the way companies feel they can get out of treating you badly by simply covering every eventuality within their terms and conditions and then just handing you a copy of that once you have made a purchase. The worst case of this I have experienced was last year when me and Neil decided to treat ourselves and buy a new sofa. We had one small one and an armchair and felt that seeing as we had the space and some money available it would be nice to buy a beautiful, soft, purple corner sofa from Harvey's. Sounds lovely? Well it was lovely and reduced too. Needless to say we paid upfront and ordered it, before being told it would take 10 weeks to be made and delivered. OK, not great, but hey it could be worse.

  Anyway, a couple of weeks later I had some terrible news that I would not longer be receiving my research bursary (which makes up around half our income every money), so we were suddenly in a serious situation financially. After thinking everything through we decided to cancel the order for the sofa and get the money back. So we called the Harvey's store and explained and were then told we would lose a large amount of the total cost including the delivery (despite the fact they wouldn't be delivering it). We were shocked as no one had told us that this might be the case. What was really bad though was that when we asked to speak to someone about it and hear an explanation the manager was extremely rude to Neil and basically said 'tough, it's not our problem and now you've cancelled you can't even have the sofa uncancelled'. After talking to several people they simple said they would send a copy of the terms and conditions which we were given so we could read this. They insisted we had been given this at the time and signed after reading it; which is nonsense!

 After looking into the situation it seems that companies are allowed to do what they like as long as they have a 'terms and conditions' which explains it, whether you sign it or not. There is also apparently nothing that can be done about such rude service. It makes me depressed to be honest as when I used to work for a retailer 8 years ago, the focus was on making the customer feel valued and happy with the service offered so they would come back! It worked, and I always saw regular customers returning to the store because they liked the friendly staff and quality products. Needless to say I will not be purchasing anything from Harvey's in future, no matter how reduced and beautiful it is!!