A reason not to LookAgain ‘cos the country’s fucked

It’s been a while since I’ve had anything to add to my blog, I’m still not working, and I don’t have anything new to report on my health.  Generally it seems to be getting a bit worse, I have been refered to The headache clinic again, and am on the waiting list to be seen by a specialist again, but after my visit with them last summer I’m not terribly optimistic that it’ll give me any answers, but I need to let the doctors do what they do.

The new guitar is ordered, fortunately this was bought and paid for before I joined the ranks of the great unwashed (horrible expression, I shower daily y’know), and I’ll be collecting it in November, so I’m looking forward to that.

On to the subject of today’s post – and possibly an insight into why a good friend of mine once described our home town, possibly our country, as the world centre of apathy.

My long-suffering girlfriend recently had a major domestic appliance break down, her washing machine.  “These things happen…” you may say, and you’d be right, and it never happens at a good time, ‘cos there never is a good time.  so a few days ago she asked if I’d mind waiting at her house for the new one to be delivered.  The delivery time frame was 4 hours, so I armed my self with a book and a couple of DVDs and I was set.

The new washing machine was ordered from the LookAgain catalogue, not the cheapest way to do it, but they had more convenient payment options, and they would fit it, and take the old one away too – for a price.  All I had to do was let them in, and lock up when they were done.

Too good to be true?  it was.  I won’t go in to too much detail straight away, but she has asked me write brief letter explaining everything that happened to accompany her complaint.  The content of the letter is below, I’ve tried to keep everything factual, but I think my opinions are pretty obvious throughout.  I’ve removed any personal details except my own, my partner will be refered to as Miss Smith.

I don’t personally have any catalogues, but if that’s how you like to shop, fair enough, but this experience has left a particularly bad taste in my mouth, and I wasn’t even the customer.

Her is the letter, exactly as I sent it to be included with the complaint, including the part about making it public:

Dear Sir or Madam

I’m writing this letter to accompany the letter of complaint written by my partner Miss Smith regarding the delivery of her new washing machine on August 30th 2011.  I feel it very unfortunate that any complaint has had to be made, however it’s unacceptable that I was referred to as a “fuckin’ wanker” by a one of your employees at 8:10 on a Monday morning.

I agreed to wait for the delivery on the above date as Miss Smith was working, and I had no commitments.  I’ll attempt to document my recollection of the events as they happened, you’ll appreciate this account may be slightly biased.

I received an SMS text message just after 9pm on August 29th to tell me that the machine would be delivered between 7- 11am, I checked that Miss Smith would be in the property until around 7:45, so I made sure I was there before she left, I arrived around 7:35, and received a phone call from the delivery driver at 7:41 advising he would arrive before 8:30.

My understanding was that the new machine was to be delivered and installed, and the old machine taken away for disposal, and that Miss Smith had paid a premium for this service.  What happened is that the new machine arrived a little after 8:00am, the old machine was removed, of the two men involved in the delivery, the fellow who appeared to be in charge took a look at the plumbing under the kitchen sink, and made a call on his mobile phone, at the same time mumbled something to me about not being able to carry out the installation.  After speaking to a female where he described the plumbing as being “in pieces”, then handed the phone to me.  I explained the plumbing was not “in pieces”, and that it could easily be rectified (I have asked that photos be included with this letter), however I understood that the delivery drivers were not plumbers, but I believed Miss Smith may wish to take the matter further.

I attempted to explain that the drain pipe for the old washing machine was removed so the sink could still be used without flooding the area under the sink, but could easily be reinstalled, and I could arrange this if he would do the rest of the installation as agreed.  Apparently not- It seems since one part of the installation involved more (or in this case, less) than just lifting the machine & swapping some pipes (I do actually know what’s involved in swapping one washing machine for another), the whole job is untouchable.

In the spirit of keeping the whole situation civil, I suggested getting the new machine unwrapped, and the transportation bolts removed from the drum so I could get the rest of the installation done myself, I was told in no uncertain, and slightly aggressive, terms “we’re no touchin’ it!”.  At this point, I admit, I became a little exasperated and said “you’re taking the piss.”  While I appreciate when written down this might be seen as profanity, in the west of Scotland this is a colloquialism, casual language meaning “you’re having a laugh” or “you’re taking the mick”.  Within a few seconds it became abundantly clear that the chap was not having a laugh, and taking neither the mick nor the piss.  His reply was to raise his voice and say “naw, you’re takin’ the piss!”  As I felt the service provided was substandard I told him I was not happy to sign for the goods.

I should explain that when I sign for delivery of goods of this nature, my understanding is that I’m also signing for the quality and my satisfaction of any work carried out, in this instance it would include the delivery of the appliance to the property without any damage to either, and the installation as agreed.

At this point the delivery man said he would take the machine away, and stormed out the property, shouting on his colleague, presumably to help him remove the new machine.  Since this struck me as rather pointless, I closed the door behind him, thinking, perhaps, he needed a minute to calm down and gather his thoughts.  A few moments later there was a knock at the door, and in the time it took me to walk from the kitchen to the door (about 6 steps) he’d decided I wasn’t answering and shouted from the close (tenement) door to his colleague “he’s no answerin’ the door!  He’s a fuckin’ wanker!”  It was at this point he realised I had answered the door, probably prompted by my questioning tone and use of the word “Pardon?”

He declined to repeat his comment, but did threaten to call the police! I don’t know what he thought that would achieve, but I’d suggest if you allow you drivers this kind of discretion in carrying out their duties (I don’t doubt there are times when it’s called for), you may want to acquaint them with the laws regarding breach of the peace (it’s an offence for which one can be arrested), and perhaps some training in good manners and customer service wouldn’t go amiss either.  I grudgingly agreed to sign for the delivery, but not before I took note of the chap’s name, which, after some prompting, he told me was “P***”, and after some waiting, was appended with “W*****”.  I don’t know if this is his real name, he did seem to give it rather a lot of thought, but I’m sure it could be confirmed, he did call me from this mobile number: 07*********.  He also gave me the number of his van, a note of which I left with Miss Smith.

While I appreciate that I am not your customer, so my opinion is probably of little importance to you, I feel I should point out you were paid for a service that you have failed to provide, and as soul witness, it is my view that you representative(s) entered the property with an agenda, that being to look for any excuse not to provide the prepaid service, and to leave to property as quickly as possible, doing as little actual work as possible.  The only advantage to Miss Smith is that the old washing machine has been removed; a service that would have been provided by the local council for a cost of £0.00, or it could have been loaded into my vehicle and driven to the local recycling facility, also at a cost to Miss Smith of £0.00.

My suggestion at this point is that you refund the installation charge to Miss Smith as a gesture of good will, and a fitting one, since no installation was carried out, and any other benefit could have been achieved by other means at no cost.

I know Miss Smith has been a customer of yours for a number of years, and has encouraged others to use your service, going forward I’d imagine she’ll be less likely to recommend you to others, and I’ll make a personal point of publicising my experience to the best of my ability (which will likely include making the content of this letter public, minus any personal details of course), this will include steps you take to compensate Miss Smith for your employees’ behaviour and all round piss poor service in this instance.

Should you wish to discuss this further, you already have my number, if you can’t find it; it should be in “P***’s” phone as he called me at 7:41 this morning.

While I doubt you’ll reply to me, I’m sure Miss Smith would appreciate a prompt response.

Yours Faithfully

Stephen Gallacher

I don’t doubt that when the complaint is received the people at LookAgain will make some token effort to rectify the situation, and I will note it on this blog when/if that happens, but what bothers me is that these companies take your money by offering a service, then look for any excuse not to provide that service, and when you call them on it, they have the audacity to accuse you of being in the wrong.  To be fair in this situation I was in someone else’s home, but it was someone I’m very close to, and it could easily have been my appliance being delivered to my house, and while I understand the waste pipe wasn’t set up the way they wanted it, any effort at compromise I offered, they declined, and when I became frustrated, they got angry and called me names.

Yes, the country is fucked!!!


One thought on “A reason not to LookAgain ‘cos the country’s fucked

  1. Pingback: LookAgain – The (Token) Response | stephengallacher

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