Furious David King was left with nothing to sit on for seven weeks after online retailer Groupon made a complete hash of delivering a lounge sofa.
David moved into his unfurnished flat in North End, Portsmouth in mid-July and started to look around for items of furniture to match the newly-laid carpet and décor.
A tour of local furniture stores turned up nothing that was even remotely compatible.
Despite being a reluctant online shopper, David decided to do a little surfing for inspiration. To his surprise, he found just what he was looking for.
A sofa from Groupon, the top online international store, caught his eye. Groupon proudly boasts that it’s the place to start when people want to buy just about anything, anytime and anywhere.
Just the right size and colour, David settled for a £500 corner unit from the Dino range.
The only remaining problem was delivery. It was essential the sofa was delivered before he and his girlfriend jetted off for three weeks in the sun, otherwise they’d still have nothing to sit on when they got back.
When Groupon sent him an e-mail confirmation that it could be delivered within seven working days, David had no hesitation placing an immediate order.
But the initial euphoria soon wore off when the five days came and went and no-one from Groupon customer services could confirm just precisely when the furniture would arrive.
The 26-year-old Sainsbury’s duty manager said: ‘It was a nightmare. I just kept phoning them to find out what was happening and all they kept saying to me was to keep an eye on my e-mails.
‘Every time I phoned I got put through to an Asian call centre and we couldn’t really understand one another. They kept saying the same thing over and over again like they were reading off a script or something.’
He added: ‘I spoke to seven or eight different people who said they were processing the order as urgent, but they’d already flagged it up as urgent previously. It just became an annoyance phoning them.’
David’s concern moved up a notch when he subsequently received an e-mail to say an ‘issue’ had arisen and it had gone into a 10-day investigation.
His confidence took another nosedive when around two weeks later he received a letter from the firm saying exactly the same thing word for word, but signed by a different person.
David was beginning to feel narked and frustrated. He’d just moved into the empty flat after paying a month’s deposit and rent, plus the cost of the holiday and all the hassle of organising the move. His tolerance was wearing thin and he was in no mood to be messed around.
Just before he was due to fly off to Bali he decided he’d had enough. He sent Groupon an e-mail ultimatum to either deliver the sofa immediately or cancel the order and refund his money. He also phoned the company, but nothing happened.
He alerted his mum Louise to the problem and asked her to monitor the situation about the refund in his absence.
She immediately attempted to get some answers from Groupon, but ended up going around in circles so thought it high time to call in Streetwise.
We were surprised to learn that Groupon had fallen down on its proven commitment to service excellence. The firm was known to us as being way up there with all the top retailers for customer care and had never once featured on our radar.
We got on to the firm and explained David’s exasperation, pointing out it was in breach of contract for not delivering the furniture within the promised seven working days.
Groupon promptly responded with a profuse apology and immediate arrangements were made to refund David.
True to its word, the money was back in his bank account two days later.
In the meantime, mum Louise went to the flat with some camping chairs she’d fished out from her shed.
To her astonishment, a neighbour told her a card had been left for David to say an attempt had been made to deliver the sofa.
Back from the three-week holiday with only the camping chairs to sit on, a desperate David decided to give Groupon another chance to provide the sofa he’d originally ordered.
Streetwise got back on to the company, which agreed it had badly bungled the entire order process.
A spokesperson said: ‘We’re letting the customer know today he can keep the sofa when it arrives, in addition to keeping the refund. We’re still speaking to the delivery company to find out what happened but want to make sure that we’re putting the customer first and doing everything we can to make it right.’
Shortly afterwards, David received an e-mail to say the sofa had been re-despatched.
A grateful David said: ‘Without the help of Streetwise I wouldn’t have had either my money back or the sofa.’
‘I’m just pleased we contacted you as we couldn’t get Groupon to take the matter seriously. I just kept being told to watch my e-mails.
‘The best e-mail I had was from Streetwise to say my money was back in my account. Fantastic service.’