Does shopping from a large online retailer mean it’s better equipped to deal with customer service issues? Our community member, Ian, shares a recent experience.
This is a guest post by Ian. All views expressed are Ian’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?.
Some people complain that huge online retailers, such as Amazon, are dominating the market at the expense of smaller retailers. But is that a fair assessment?
Recently, while searching for a quality chess set and board, I decided to look outside Amazon and instead to a smaller, independent business. It was an interesting journey.
I placed an order with a smaller company on 5 September, and I received an email by return promising me that I’d be advised when the set was dispatched.
Okay so far, I thought, but that’s when things started to go wrong.
On 10 September, I found the dreaded missed delivery card through the door. The card advised us they’d tried to deliver without success and we could either collect it from the post office (three miles away) or we could rearrange delivery.
I chose the latter, gained confirmation from the delivery company that it would be delivered the following day, and waited in all day. It failed to arrive.
Things were becoming irritating at this stage – we’d had no promised email from the retailer and had lost an entire day waiting for the delivery company.
I followed up with two emails to the retailer. It told me that the delivery company said it had made two attempts to deliver.
This wasn’t the case, and could be proved by the security cameras I have covering the front and rear entrances.
The delivery company went on to argue that there was no trace of a rearranged delivery time… but I had a screenshot saved of that, too.
Dealing with disputes
I gave them 24 hours to contact the delivery company again to arrange a second delivery, or I would exercise my right to cancel the purchase.
The response I received was very disappointing and didn’t fully comply with the responsibilities a retailer has when selling products online.
Would any of this had happened if I’d shopped at a large company?
I believe that responses to escalating queries like this are why the likes of Amazon have done well.
Why would you want to put yourself through protracted wrangling and arguing with a business when you can order and know – with cast-iron certainly – that they’ll keep you informed as to the delivery date every step of the way and refund without question if anything goes wrong?
I eventually ended up placing my order with one of the largest chess set suppliers in Europe – I received outstanding service.
Could problems with customer service like mine be contributing to the decline of the highstreet?
This was a guest post by Ian. All views expressed were Ian’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?.