Consumer feature: ‘We asked firm to repair our fridge but they left it in a worse state...’

John Hayes and his wife Frances''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151821-8398)
John Hayes and his wife Frances''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151821-8398)

LETTER OF THE DAY: Housing - more needs to be done

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A furious Fareham couple who called out a service engineer to repair their fridge-freezer were left out in the cold when they complained about a bungled job.

Frances and John Hayes swear by Beko appliances so when they bought their appliance from Currys about six years ago they bought a peace of mind breakdown insurance cover.

Retired 66-year-old Frances explained that towards the end of last month she called the Currys ‘Know How’ number for an engineer to attend because the machine’s fridge door seal needed renewing.

The engineer duly turned up but Frances was not impressed.

She says he spent most of his time on the phone trying to sort out a private matter instead of concentrating on the job in hand.

‘He was ages trying to do the seal while still on the phone,’ she said, ‘and my husband overheard him speak to someone to say he was trying to change a seal one-handed and it was not going all that well.’

‘Then he said he’d done it but the fridge wasn’t closing so he taped it up with Sellotape. He told us it would be all right until he came back on the Friday.’

After the engineer left Francis became concerned when she noticed that their well-stocked fridge was getting warm.

She spoke to her husband about it who promptly phoned Currys Know How the following day.

John complained to Currys about the botched repair and way the engineer appeared to be floundering while doing the job. He was told they’d call him back, but the promised call never came.

Determined not to be given the brush off he phoned again and asked whether they were going to be compensated for the spoilt food. The request drew a frosty response.

Despite the appliance being in working order before the engineer’s visit, the ruined food was all down to them.

Incredibly they were advised to set about consuming it before it went off.

But worse was yet to come. Francis re-examined the appliance and noticed the freezer door had also been extensively damaged.

A number of what looked distinctly like knee indentations stood out like a sore thumb and had completely ruined the machine’s appearance.

A fuming Frances got on the phone and after a verbal run-in with the firm about the dented fridge door they agreed to either replace it, or if it wasn’t possible, the entire appliance.

Currys sent them a voucher to buy a replacement machine, but Frances said another war of words broke out in the Portsmouth store when staff tried to fob them off with an alternative cheaper model.

She said: ‘The chap told us it had been agreed to replace it with a Kenwood, but I wanted a like for like because the fridge freezer was working and it was their engineer who mucked it up. They wanted us to accept an appliance with a large fridge, but a tiny freezer, but our original one was 50-50.

‘I wouldn’t have minded paying the difference if it had been our problem, but I didn’t see why we should pay for the engineer’s incompetence.’

‘He was here nearly the whole morning and couldn’t fix it. Everything in my kitchen is Beko and I didn’t want to accept anything different when they were at fault.’

After a thoroughly disgruntled Frances left the store empty handed, she contacted Streetwise to ask if we could help her sort the problem out.

At the end of her tether she told us she was fed up with the hassle and stress they could well do without. They were getting precisely nowhere with the Know How service who were not listening to them.

We contacted Currys and put them in the picture. Without hesitation they agreed to look into what had happened and get it sorted. Soon things started to move.

Frances added: ‘Shortly after you made contact we received a phone call from head office to say they’d had the press on.

‘I said we’d had a week of hassle from them but were told if we went to Currys at Park Gate where we bought the original Beko from, they’d have the authority to let us have what we want.’

‘He also said they’d sent us a £100 cheque for the loss of our food, and the inconvenience.’

A very grateful and relieved Frances got back in touch and was over the moon.

She said: ‘It was only after you intervened they decided they would do something. Before that we’d had battle after battle with them. People said they were going to ring us back, but they didn’t want to know. It took a fight but if it hadn’t been for you we’d still be trying to get it sorted.

‘You were absolutely brilliant.’

Streetwise

This story appeared in the Streetwise section of The News, edited by Richard Thomson.

Have you got a problem or do you need advice about a consumer issue?

Richard Thomson has worked for leading UK and European companies as a market research analyst, and in consumer education and protection with trading standards.

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