To most of us a comfortable bed is a must.
With this in mind reader Karin Cooper from Gosport decided to do a bit of research on the web to track down a guest bed for her spare room.
It wasn’t long before she came across the impressive website of online bed specialists Bedworld, based at Castleford in West Yorkshire.
Karin, a local government officer from Gosport, wanted prompt delivery at a reasonable price and was impressed by the firm’s promise that customer satisfaction was their top priority.
So back in May she took the plunge and placed an order.
When the bed arrived Karin noticed that the construction was somewhat unconventional. It consisted of a wooden surround concealing a metal frame and side rails with removable slot in slats.
But when the £153 bed was assembled, much to her consternation the she found that the slats wouldn’t stay in place and kept popping out of the frame.
Try as she might it was impossible to position them securely without the mattress falling through the frame and ending up on the floor.
She immediately contacted the firm and asked them to come and collect the bed as it wasn’t up to the job.
But far from the promised customer satisfaction, to her mounting anger she met a wall of resistance to taking the defective bed back and refunding her.
First they insisted on sending her two sets of replacement slats, but that turned out to be no solution.
A furious Karin tried phoning and emailing their customer services but was unable to get an answer.
She said: ‘They just ignored me and insisted that I take photographs of the bed frame and email them which took me ages because I’m not very IT-technical.’
‘What they hoped to get from that I don’t know quite frankly as it couldn’t show me falling through it.
‘Then finally they said it’s the bed frame not working properly and I’d bent it by using it, to which I reminded them I’d not been able to use it since the day it was delivered.
‘Eventually I was told I needed to get some wood and nails and hammer the frame together, which would have immediately invalidated the guarantee for something that was faulty in the first place.
‘All in all it was a complete farce from start to finish.’
To avoid totally losing her cool Karin decided it was time to contact Streetwise for a little help and advice.
We took the view that by insisting on a refund within 30 days of receiving the bed she had rejected it within the accepted statutory timeframe.
After several abortive attempts to raise Bedworld’s customer services, we emailed the firm’s chief executive officer about it.
Within 24 hours Karin was relieved her three-month collapsing bed saga was finally over.
Bedworld’s customer care manager told us a date would be arranged to uplift the bed and a refund of Karin’s card account was in the pipeline.
A relieved Karin told us that she’d learned her lesson.
‘There are some things you can buy online,’ she said, ‘but beds aren’t one of them. Once these firms have got your money they aren’t interested.
‘Without your support I would have got absolutely nowhere. I’d have to chase up the credit card company and get involved in form-filling to stand any chance of getting my money back.
‘I’d just like to thank Streetwise very much. You are literally champions and I don’t know what customers would do without you and all the effort you put in on their behalf.’
Streetwise asked Bedworld for a comment on two separate occasions but it failed to respond.
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.
E-mail him with your question at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Streetwise, 1000 Lakeside, Western Road, PO6 3EN. Briefly outline the details, and include your name, address and phone number, and include any reference or order numbers.
Answers to questions are for guidance only, and must not be taken as a complete statement of law. Richard also attends some sessions at the News reporter’s surgery at the Gosport Discovery Centre. This is every Tuesday between 9am and 1pm and Richard is there on the first two Tuesdays of the month.