/ Shopping

Why can’t Argos send us what we order?

Argos sign

Rose bowls instead of fish bowls, hair straighteners in place of a hairdryer… just some of Argos’s crazy substitutions. So should they be doing more to give us what we ask for?

If you order a hairdryer, you expect to get… umm, a hairdryer.

Even the most pessimistic customers would surely only expect it to be delayed, not look quite like the picture, or at worst, be substituted by a nearly-identical model?

What you wouldn’t expect is a set of hair straighteners. After all, hairdryers blow hot air and hair straighteners… well, I’m a bloke so my knowledge is limited here, but I have established that they don’t blow hot air. But that’s exactly what happened here at Which? HQ when we tried to buy a hairdryer from Argos for testing.

Search for alternative suppliers

When you test approximately 2,000 items a year – as we have in the last year – it’s a disaster to not get what you ordered on a regular basis. And it has been happening with such regularity that for the last 18 months we’ve avoided buying from Argos where there’s an alternative supplier.

Despite that, here’s a list of the types of item where we haven’t got what we ordered over that period. Deep breath now:

  • Washing machines
  • Fridges
  • TVs
  • Sewing machines
  • DVD players
  • Shredders
  • Kettles
  • Cordless phones
  • Set-top boxes

These were all times when – either online or in store – we didn’t get what we ordered, and weren’t told about it either.

Sometimes the differences have been relatively small – a kettle with an extra knob. Sometimes they’ve been different models – as with washing machines. Sometimes, as with the hairdryer, it’s a different item altogether.

Is it just us? Have you ever had this happen to you with Argos or other retailers?

All in the smallprint?

Argos pointed us to its terms and conditions: ‘Sometimes the product specifications from the manufacturer may change, in which case we will do our best to offer you a similar alternative. We may experience problems with the supply of certain products and may therefore supply a substitute of the same or better quality at the same price’.

Leaving aside the issue that we weren’t told we’d be getting something different, in some cases we didn’t get items of the same or better quality, or a similar alternative. In others, they weren’t even the same type of product, nevermind the same product.

The Sale of Goods Act says goods must be ‘as described’. If they aren’t then the supplier is in breach of contract and the consumer can reject the goods if they act promptly.

Meanwhile, BBC Watchdog found, among other things, a rose bowl being sold by Argos as a fish bowl and a CD wallet illustrated as holding one CD per level actually holding four.

So what’s been your experience? Is Argos blowing more hot air than that hairdryer we never got?


I can only say that last year I ordered – to be collected – an electric drill – It waiting for me and was exactly as ordered – A couple of months later They asked me how I liked it – It was and is superb and cheap.

Sophie Gilbert says:
7 October 2010

I have ordered good from Argos about half a dozen times over the year and all were delivered on time and at the right shop near me and the goods were what I ordered, in good nick. The only problem I’ve had with them was the last time: I ordered a single futon bed and was given a specific date to have it delivered to my place. A couple of days before that date I received a phone call saying that there was a problem with my order because only the frame had “arrived” (at their warehouse presumably) but not the mattress. About a month passed before I finally got both items delivered. Fortunately I wasn’t in a hurry for them, but if ever I need something quickly I doubt I will turn to Argos.

Fearless Goat says:
13 December 2010

I tryed Argos online for the first and last time.
Anyhow I ordered a few presents for **********, online. Order didnt go threw, the secure part just didnt load up. So I figured the order didnt go threw.
Decided to call into the shop to order the goods instead and that was fine.
Few days later the order that failed online arrived. I had no confirmation by email, not a thing to suggest the order was put threw. Plus the 3d secure page didnt load up so I couldnt confir anything. Is that even legal for them to send and take payment without my consent?

On a lighter side, I phoned up there returns and they will pick up the goods in a few days time, but after this I am not so sure they will.

Avoid buying online from these guys, I wont use there site again and when my goods are refunded I will delete the online account.

David says:
11 January 2011

I bought a acer aspire laptop with dedicated graphics card
I got an acer aspire laptop with intergrated graphics card.
The difference being about £100 in price.

Problem was as im not the most compute lit person I didnt notice for 6 months.
Atm im in court with them over this

Reminds me a little of my first PC – a BBC B in 1981 from Dixons. It was the only one in the shop and the demonstration model.- but I wanted it. Took it home – switched it on – and found it wasn’t as ordered. It contained the optional floppy drive hardware (the standard was tape cassette) – The add-on was worth £100 in 1981 say around £800 now – bought a floppy drive and never had to use slow cassette tape loading!!! 🙂

I didn’t bother to tell them!!

Julia says:
1 February 2011

I purchased a Samsung N130 notebook recently at Argos, reserving it on line and collecting from my local store. The laptop was faulty, the keys were stiff and didn’t type all of the letters. I thought that this may just be because it was new and used it for a while. It became apparent that there was a definite fault with the keyboard, and due to snow, Christmas, new year and illness I was unable to return the computer until 2 days over the 30 day back money guarantee, although this item was exempt from this. I was told, when returning the item back to the store that the computer would have to be sent off to be repaired. I explained that I need the use of a computer daily and that having it repaired was unacceptable, I wanted a replacement that matched the description of a working computer. The sales assistant, claiming to be acting manager, was very rude and I felt so patronised when she would point out the Argos policy, asking me if I’d like her to read it to me again!
I also pointed out to her that the 30 day money back guarantee does not include my statutory rights, and that included that the customer not be inconvenienced when an item is faulty, or that any replacement or repair be of any cost to the customer, which it would be if I was to be without a computer while the faulty one was being repaired. The assistant didn’t know what my statutory rights were and would not accept my explanation, claiming that Argos has it’s own policy and what I was asking was for her to change it.
To cut a long and annoying story short, I was eventually given a replacement of a dearer model, to which I was required to pay the difference as the original computer was not in stock. I was told that they only replaced this as I had been ill! It took me two journeys to the store, a speeding fine, and letters, telephone calls and e-mails complaining about the service.
I would not shop at Argos again, that’s for sure!!

This isn’t really on the subject, but it’s the only place on the Which website I can find to make this comment about Argos’s online service. If you cancel an online purchase within the 7 days cooling-off period, beware of them not refunding your postage charge. This happened to me. They said they’d refund the purchase price. I said, what about the postage. They said, no, we don’t refund that. I then found out that under the Distance Selling Regulation you’re supposed to get any postage charge you’ve paid refunded as well as the purchase price. I also saw that in Argos’s small print they say you have to tell them you’re cancelling your purchase under the DSR so they can refund your postage. I rang them and said I didn’t know I had to say that. They said you don’t have to – it should have been refunded automatically. They then refunded the postage charge. Incidentally, I couldn’t find any info on DSR and the refund of postage charges on the Which website.

Petraa' Amponsah says:
26 June 2014

I got given the wrong product from Argos. I wanted a 60 piece dinner set but instead I got given a 12 piece set. Actually disappointed! I have complained about it. How can you get a order wrong?! Common sense I think not.

andy oshea says:
27 November 2014

after recently suffering a fire at my home from a 10 month old tumble dryer bought from argos i was wondering if this appears to be as common as the fire brigade say it is.

Nigel says:
30 November 2014

Just ordered an i pad and had a charm bracelet delivered! Been in a queue for 30 mins and counting to try and get it resolved.

i ordered an xbox one was aiting for it got excited then when delivery arrives oh and its a philips headset have no clue how they can make the mistake between an xbox one and a headphone 🙁

Helen says:
4 January 2015

I’ve just complained about my online order with Argos. I ordered a bunch of toys and received a lamp!! To make the situation worse talking to customer services is like talking to a brick!! Never again will I order online with them.

hafza says:
22 February 2015

I ordered a table 3 days ago on-line, I confirmed for it to be delivered in 2 days time, I was told I was going to get an email confirming order number and everything, now I never got the confirmation email my order hasn’t been delivered, I don’t know whether it went through or not and how long do I have to wait till the email comes through? if I didn’t need it urgently and could collect it i would have but I assumed the delivery process would be quicker and easier.

Lynn Worthington says:
23 April 2015

I ordered on line a swan retro fridge freezer colour cream. when ordering I informed Argos I lived up a steep narrow hill. The delivery arrived two days later in a seven ton lorry. I walked down to meet the delivery guys, they told me their was no way they could wheel it up the hill and they could not deliver anything more than 20meters away from the lorry. I then spent half an hour preparing my car to fit the fridge freezer in the back, after a lot of pushing and shoving we managed . my car was then reversed up the hill causing considerable clutch damage, the delivery men then carried the fridge freezer to my front door and left. You can imagine how relived I was that it was all over…….NOT!!! The coding on the box said it was black, not cream which I ordered, this all happened on the 10th April 2015. I have phoned nearly every single day to ask when they will replace it. I have had promises of return phone calls that have never happened, no emails no response what so ever. This large fridge freezer is still boxed and standing in my hallway, I have had an empty space waiting in my kitchen for two weeks now. The customer service is a nightmare the staff seem to show nothing but contempt towards the situation. its pretty obvious to me that I will have to take this to the ombudsman.

Claire says:
24 April 2015

I ordered some Christmas presents in November last year. I ordered a few items however one which was a childs doll was substituted for a pink kingsize duvet set?? On calling the customer service team they didn’t seem too surprised and arranged for the original item to be sent out. Before the customer service lady was about to end the call I queried what was to happen with the duvet set to somy be told the delivery driver would take it on delivery of the replacement item! The delivery driver knew nothing so I still have an unwanted pink duvet set! Very random substituting of items!

Violet says:
20 July 2015

I ordered a retro cream fridge freezer, and Argos have sent me the wrong one three times now. They keep sending me the older model, which is no longer advertised, and when it was in the catalogue, it was advertised as half the price as the one I paid for.

I’m now told it’s going to be two weeks before they ‘attempt’ a fourth delivery. It’s been a month since I placed the order, and a promised delivery of my item within five days.

I just hope they get it right this time. I do wonder how many people have received the older model and haven’t checked the model number; they’ll be out of pocket and not even know it. It’s not just by a few pounds either.

Tayyeba batool naqvi says:
10 September 2015

I order hotpoint deshwashers they delevery wrong model not like my order

i ordered a fridge online.it came.only when i looked at paperwork inside i realised the fridge was 15 litres LESS than it should of been and freezer compartment 1 litre lass.I tried to locate original advert…IT had gone the day after i ordered it Instead a different deal was on offer for a different fridge.The one I got I cannot find online anywhere with anyone.Argos want me to have a frrefund but all i want is what i ordered.They said they are having an internal investigation.I think they just messed up adverts.The one i wanted is now online for 20 MORE than i paid for it.I have a too small fridge that is useless for us,lost money and Argos are silent.ARRGGHH

Well i ordered a samsung note 4 smart phone and a samsung stereo unit yesterday and paid for the nest day Saturday delivery, i have now received my brand new corby trouser press 3300, yes a trouser press, i admit i havent opened it up to see if it makes calls or texts, maybe it has built in speakers also for the sound i require.

The worse thing is i have been on the phone 2 hours now waiting and still havent spoke to a single person, i had to redial just now as the call cuts on my phone at 120 minutes – this is a rip off surely, who pack these orders, children who cant read? i am shocked and very annoyed – all they say is if you cant hold please call us back – arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh cant really say what i want to here but Argos i will never use again and infact i dont know why i did use them in the first place

Trisha says:
23 November 2015

Not sure if mine counts. Technically I didn’t get what I paid for. I paid for phone and got zero (lol).
I ordered a telephone last week and paid for home delivery. I waited..at home…..and it didn’t arrive.
I rang and complained and they gave me another home delivery slot. Again i waited over 3 hrs. No show.
I rang again but V.M said they were only dealing with emergencies.
still no phone- still no refund.

UnhappyCustomer says:
2 December 2015

I ordered an advanced type of Oral B toothbrush from the website of Argos. But what they actually have is a low end one. I reported this to their customer service but they did not change the product information on their website at all and still they promote it around on the internet. It is practically a fraud! Also when I tried to return the low end one the staff and the manager kept telling me the low end one is the same as the advanced one. “According to the manual they are exactly the same”- their original words. But it is written in a bold font on the packages that the advanced one has five modes while the low end one has only four… I insisted on returning the wrong product and the staff showed very very very bad attitude towards me.

James says:
12 June 2016

Same here, I have ordered Sony MDR10RBT Wireless Headphones, and I received some other, cheap headphones from them. Cheap trick, I will never buy from Argos again.