CONSUMER: The perils of using Groupon - missing bed causes Helen sleepless nights
Helen Burch was delighted with the bed she ordered from online retailer Groupon, but her joy soon turned to anger when they failed to deliver it to her Southsea home and it vanished without trace.
Helen turned to Groupon for inspiration while in the middle of a bedroom makeover.
Groupon operates from more than 500 cities worldwide, and has a well-deserved reputation of sourcing goods at competitive prices from around the globe.
Having shopped with the international online marketplace before, she was on the lookout for a bed that would put the finishing touch to the room.
A quick glance around the Groupon site flagged up just the furniture she was looking for. Moreover, a ‘Crushed Velvet Sleigh Bed’ was an unbeatable one-time bargain with the price tag dramatically slashed from £1,699.99 to just £259.
But weeks later Helen, 49, was still left staring at an empty bedroom space following a protracted and frustrating battle with their customer service department trying to get the bed delivered.
She said the frustrating saga started shortly after she saw the bed advertised on their site and placed an order.
‘It came up as an initial seven days delivery when I bought it,’ she explained, ‘and I got a confirmation message from DX, their delivery company, to say they’d make a delivery immediately after Easter.
‘As I was still in Wales I asked them to text me back and confirm it could be delivered a day later. They said it was no problem and the request was duly booked in on the tracking.
‘Confident how things were going, I waited in all day but the bed didn’t turn up.
‘Because I’d not had a delivery I had no delivery or contact numbers so I just couldn’t trace anything or contact anyone.
‘Then the fun really started when I discovered there was no way DX could be contacted. I tried ringing only to be cut off, then online chat a number of times, but unbelievably a message just kept coming back to say no one was currently available.
‘I then tried checking the delivery status online as suggested, which just said ‘out on delivery’.
‘On checking again the next morning I was dumbfounded to discover the delivery status then came up was marked ‘refused at 11.15am because the bed was damaged.’
Annoyed that she couldn’t find out where the bed was and how it was rejected as damaged when it hadn’t even darkened her doorstep, she decided it was high time she got onto Groupon for an explanation.
But Helen’s annoyance turned to disillusionment when she was soon to discover her woes had only just started.
Contacting Groupon’s customer services department to speak to someone was a carbon copy of her experience with their delivery company.
She just couldn’t get hold of anyone to speak to and take the problem on board.
All she could do was to use an online chat facility, where she extracted a promise that they’d investigate.
A further week down the line and several emails later, an update of the situation was about as elusive as the bed which still hadn’t materialised.
What finally caused her frustration to boil over was Groupon’s response when she made it crystal clear she was thoroughly fed up with the poor standard of customer service.
As it was as plain as a pikestaff the company’s right hand didn’t know what the left was doing, she cancelled the order and asked for a refund.
A service agent then emailed with the preposterous claim that they couldn’t authorise a refund because the bed was still out for delivery.
An exasperated Helen’s patience finally snapped so she decided it was high time to call in Streetwise for some help.
We got onto Groupon and expressed the view that Helen’s bizarre experience didn’t reflect their published claim to be a global leader in local commerce.
By insisting on a firm delivery date, the contract to supply the bed had been breached when she made it clear she wasn’t prepared to put up with the endless muddle and confusion.
Following our intervention the company immediately instigated an investigation, and a few days later admitted Helen’s order had been badly bungled.
A spokesperson said: ‘On receipt of Mrs Burch’s complaint, our team investigated the situation and were assured the order would be delivered shortly. It seems this has not been the case.
‘In line with our policy, we have refunded her the full cost of the item plus a small gesture of goodwill which, whilst we appreciate doesn’t make up for the disappointment, we hope goes someway to aid our apology.
‘We are continuing to investigate with the delivery company used to prevent this issue from occurring in the future.
‘We want all our customers to have the very best experience buying through Groupon and we apologise for the inconvenience caused.’
A relieved Helen said: ‘Thank you so much for your help. The thing that just tipped me over the edge was the abysmal customer service and the way I was being treated.
‘The reason I got such a quick solution in the end was because of your input which was fantastic.’