Dealing with large companies - a lesson in frustration

I hate having to contact any large (over about 20 staff) company to discuss a problem.

I hate it because I know it's going to be a terrible experience. At best, I feel I may actually get the problem resolved after varying degrees of hassle, at worst, I'll probably finish the contact feeling worse than when I started.

Case in point. We bought a new oven from Currys a couple of weeks back. The old one was gas and obviously needed to be removed and the old gas connection sealed. The new oven is electric. So the guy in the shop helpfully said no problem, we'll make sure both fitters are on site when we deliver on Saturday. We paid the extra £100 for installation, removal of the old oven etc.

I actually said to my wife as we were leaving the shop that it seemed to go too smoothly and, of course, I was right.

Saturday arrives. Oven arrives. Two blokes arrive. We're in the lounge and I hear one of them say "Oh, it's gas!". I said to my wife "Here we go"...

One of the guys came in to the lounge and said he couldn't install it as it needed a gas fitter. I said I knew that was the case and that one was booked. He phoned them and they said they knew nothing about it. When would we like them to come out? I'd like them to come out today, as booked. They can't do that. Tuesday any good? Reluctantly, yes, but it'll have to be after 1:30 pm. That's fine, no problem, all booked for Tuesday afternoon, then.

I phoned Monday night - the night before they were due to come out - to check the delivery time. They said I had to check their web site after 9 pm and he gave me a reference number to enter to check it. At 9:15 pm, I checked it and it didn't recognise the reference number and stated that there was a problem and I should contact them. The phone lines had shut at 6pm.

Got a text Tuesday morning saying they'd deliver between 8:45 and 12:45. Phoned them again to reiterate nobody would be in the house before 1:30 pm as previously advised. They said they'd try and contact the fitters to see if they could get an afternoon appointment.

Whilst waiting, I get a call from the guy outside our empty house. I tried to phone back when I got the message, but it went straight back to their Unhelp Line. I asked them why they'd agreed to send someone after 1:30 pm and now the guy is stood outside my house at 11 am. He told me they couldn't specify a time of arrival. I asked why they had then agreed to make it after 1:30 pm in the first place. He had no answer for that.

So, now it's re-re-re-booked for this Saturday.

Why does stuff like this have to be so complicated and frustrating? It's almost as if the process has been specifically designed to antagonise the customer at every possible opportunity. If that's truly the case, then hats off to them, as they've got it down to perfection.

Meanwhile, back to microwave meals and salad for the rest of the week for the family. And we'll see what (if anything) happens on Saturday.

P.S. There are some good companies out there - see my post here. But unfortunately, they're the exception. I like to post about the good ones, as a positive experience makes me feel nice and fuzzy and I want to share that. I like to post about the bad ones as it makes my blood boil and I need to get it off my chest.

[Update: 20/06/2015]

The guys arrived on Saturday. Without the gas fitter. Again, they knew nothing about there being anything to do with gas with this job.

I felt kinda sorry for them. They clearly thought we were going to be somewhat annoyed. I think we were incredulous more than anything. It's not their fault.

They said there are a lot of problems like this with the shop not sending the correct details over. He did his best to re-book, so we did, for Tuesday afternoon. He also suggested we go and complain to the shop.

They left sheepishly, shook my hand, and wished us luck.

We went to the shop, ready for a big battle. The manager instantly offered the installation fee back (£100), as if that was the 5th time that week. Maybe it was. But he said he'd have to issue it after it was fitted, otherwise it'd cancel the job!

According to one of the guys who came around today, it's probably cost about £50 a visit, so that'll be a total of £200, plus the £100 we're getting back. That's £31 more than we paid for the cooker and installation, so their efficiency drive is working a treat, isn't it?

[Update: 23/06/2015]


At last, on visit number 4, we have a new cooker! And an installed one, not one sitting in the hallway.

Pizza time!

Then off to pick up that refund.