Monday, 12 November 2012

Follow up on @Amazon #FAIL and now @CurrysPCWorldUK wasted a really good opportunity to shine

Thank you to all of you who took the time to read and comment on my last post with the Amazon on-line "support" conversation. So here is the update to that story.

After getting hacked off by the shoddy treatment, I decided to email Jeff Bezos, CEO of Inc - his email is not difficult to find on-line. 

If you can't get help on the front line: I always suggest to start at the top of the corporate pyramid and work your way down, rather than spending months in a complaints procedure system that is purely designed to get you, the complainant to give up.

Baptiste, Amazon Executive Customer Relations, did reply on behalf of Jeff Bezos. And as much as he is well trained in giving out corporate apologies to a level that they come across as being insincere. It only took a couple of emails back and forth before he agreed that their description was confusing and he came to this conclusion:

"The reason why our Express Delivery option remains available after the deadline for next-day delivery has passed is to allow our customers to start placing their orders for delivery on the following day. I understand that you find the wording of this delivery method confusing. Your comments have been forwarded to our relevant department for consideration. Customer feedback such as yours helps us to continue improving the service we provide. We appreciate the time you've taken to write to us." 
(In all fairness this is taken by me out of context as a summary of those emails - nevertheless, it does confirm that next-day delivery has nothing to do with Amazon getting you the goods the next day)

Baptiste has also recommended internally that additional training should be provided to the people involved with my initial contact.

However, this didn't solve my problem of needing a USB 3.0 1TB Hard Disk by Friday the second of November (Next day). As luck would have it, I was going to St. Albans, which has the Abbey View Retail Park, which has a Currys (PC World). As luck would have it Currys website showed that a Western Digital Mypassport 1TB in stock. And only at £10.00 more expensive than Amazon, excluding delivery, but not the cheaper Samsung that I had originally wanted. Beggars can't be choosers...
On the train up to St Albans I used the Currys web-portal to reserve the drive and have it made ready for collection. This is a really cool feature that the likes of Argos is also using in order to compete on delivery times with the likes of Amazon.

Good News is that I have got the drive! However, I am not going to rush back to Currys; On arrival at about 16.35, there was 5 Currys employees on the shop floor and 1 customer + me. Not a single person of the 4 people doing nothing approached me to ask if they could be of help. Tired of waiting, I interrupted a person on the sales desk. He must have been doing something far more important than serving customers... 

Haven got the reference number and identified the on-line order, he went in search of the reserved Hard Disk. This took him to the back office, where it should have been, but wasn't. Then to the person with the keys for shop cupboard, and finally he located the drive next to all the other drives. Follow on, there was no realattempt to up-sell for a carry cases etc. It was a transaction that took four times longer than it should have done. The whole process made a total mockery out of Currys PC-Worlds advantage over the likes of Amazon and other web only stores.

Must apologise here, but I really don't get it: How on the same day that Comet went down into administration, can the competition can be so complacent?

For those retailers who are interested in improving I am a great fan of "Smart Retail:Practical Winning Ideas and Strategies from the Most Successful Retailers in the World" by Richard Hammond - a real bible for retailers:

Smart Retail: Practical Winning Ideas and Strategies from the Most Successful Retailers in the World

Following back onto the story with Amazon customer service; it later transpired that as much as they have in writing promises not to take the money out of the bank account, they were three days later still having my money in a "holding" position. Whether on purpose or not, Amazon had "forgotten" to tell my UK bank that the transaction had been voided. As a direct result I was not able to access the money on my bank account.

The questions are now: 
Do I vote with my feet and close the Amazon account?
Is there a UK retailer (store or on-line) who can compete with Amazon in price and service?

Please do tell


  1. I have also recently used the reserve instore facility at Currys/PC World when I purchased an ASUS Tablet. From my experience it's pretty obvious the word 'reserved' is a total misleading. Surely, if a product is reserved for your collection, it would be taken out of in-store stock and made unavailable for others to purchase? In this instance, the reservation consisted of a sheet of A4 paper that had to be taken from the 'reservations desk' to a staff member on the shop floor. He then spent 15 minutes trying to actually find the product and then another 5 minutes trying to find the case that had been reserved with it. The tablet was in a shop floor locker and the case (of which there were few) was still hung on display.

    Once again, no up-sell apart from the obligatory 'extended' warranty. The dis-interest and complete lack of appreciation of their environment was shocking.

  2. Not really had any problems with Amazon, but personally for hardware i do prefer So far, they have great delivery (you do have to pay for it= and the support was really good when I had an issue with a firmware update on a router that had gone wrong.

    But Currys/PCWorld are on my "no buy list", I bought a mouse with Saturday delivery and it turned up Monday. Not good.