We’d had bad experiences with PC World in the past, but finding ourselves in an emergency after our router packed in two weeks ago, we thought we’d give them another go.
Hot-footing it into their Tottenham Court Road store in central London, we handed over £129.99 for a top of the range modem router.
We’ve been conned!
On the tube journey home, we thought we’d take a look inside the packaging and have a flick through the manual only to find a sticker inside informing us that the item was in fact second hand.
We’d been sold used goods as new!
As soon as we got home, we fired off an email via their website stressing our disappointment with the company and the urgency of the matter.
Paste it in
A leisurely three days later, we received this response from a Glen Frost from the PC World Customer Support Team.
(We could be wrong, but we suspect that Mr Frost is partial to the odd bit of copy and paste)
Please be assured that providing a high level of customer service is of paramount importance to Dixons and on this occasion, the service you received, does not reflect the high standards we are normally able to deliver. Details of this matter will be fed back to the store, so that the service offered can be assessed and changes implemented where necessary. To resolve this matter, please return the product to the store, where they will replace it or offer a partial refund.
I apologise for your recent experience, but to also thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to us. Whilst it is always disappointing to hear from a dissatisfied customer, it is by receiving correspondence such as yours that we can effectively address ourselves to customer care issues, and improve our level of service
It was good to hear Glen being so keen about hearing feedback from customers, but perhaps his commitment might be called into question seeing as he writes from this address: no_reply <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The fact that he seems to think we bought the item from Dixons wasn’t too encouraging either, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt, although we never did find out what was meant by a ‘partial refund.’
Desperately seeking Glen
With no means of replying directly to Glen, we were forced to write back via their website.
We asked if they might consider at least compensating us something for their dodgy antics and our inconvenience, and requested a reassurance that they would have a bona fide new router in stock before we set off into town all over again.
It seems Glen was too busy to respond to that one, and with nine days drifting by and our inbox still untroubled by an email, we thought we’d give them a call.
On the phone
We spoke to an Abby Armitage who really showed us what customer service was all about.
Did they have the router in stock after all? No. So Glen’s advice was useless.
Suitably annoyed, we asked what the company might offer us after (illegally) flogging us second hand goods as new, ignoring our emails and generally being, well, useless, and leaving us without a router that we’d repeatedly told them was required urgently.
It seems PC World feels that selling used goods as new should be treated as no worse than a minor inconvenience for customers, and would only offer us a straight refund. And that was it. Oh, and 25p per mile travelled to return it the dodgy item.
As for an apology or compensation for the inconvenience and dreadful customer service received? Forgeddaboutit.
We try and play fair with customer call centres, so at the beginning of the call we asked to be put through to a supervisor (request ignored) and while we were still talking, we told Ms Armitage that we would be writing about our experiences on this website.
Perhaps she could she put us through to their PR department so they could have their say? Nope.
So there you have it: PC World sold us second hand goods as new, have a Customer Support Team that despatches bad advice and refuses email dialogues, and the company officially expects customers to foot the bill for their own cock ups.
PC World. Never, ever again. EVER.
We reluctantly travelled back to their Tottenham Court Road store on the weekend to get our money back on the used router.
Despite there being no less than six purple-shirted staff sat behind the repair/returns counter, we had to wait for over 20 minutes as the single till was permanently “in use” with one customer returning an iPad – a process that seemed to involve an inordinate amount of paper work.
When we were eventually served, the assistant was courteous and apologetic. Perhaps their head office staff could learn from him?
We’ve now written to their heads of public relations inviting them to comment on our experience. We’ll post up their responses here.