The Range customer service: Former Portsmouth nurse angry at wrangle over gazebo

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Jean Goodson was led up the garden path and left struggling for a resolution when she complained about a faulty gazebo she bought online from The Range which ended up in a twisted buckled heap just two weeks after delivery.

The former Portsmouth NHS nurse is glad to see the back of a stressful frustrating wrangle with the national consumer goods chain that had dragged on for months.

In August last year Jean decided it was time to replace the original piece of garden furniture which she inherited from the original homeowner when she bought the property in 2018.

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Ametal-frame gazebo, similar to one sold by The Range
Picture: Adobe StockAmetal-frame gazebo, similar to one sold by The Range
Picture: Adobe Stock
Ametal-frame gazebo, similar to one sold by The Range Picture: Adobe Stock

‘We agreed a price for much of the garden equipment, one of which was a Arosa metal frame gazebo,’ she explained.

‘Already set up, it had stayed in place for four plus years through rain, winds et cetera, until we had hurricane weather earlier in the year when the gazebo did suffer damage and buckled in places.

‘I waited a couple of months then decided as the gazebo left by the previous owners was so good, I’d buy a replacement from The Range and if it lasted me for four years I’d be a happy bunny. The product reviews told of buyers who’d had them up for three and four years and I loved sitting out in the garden in it.’

When the £98 product arrived in mid-August, she engaged the services of her daughter and son-in-law to assemble it over the holiday weekend in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

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What with all the nuts and bolts it took them about two hours to put it together, but Jean was relieved at the prospect of spending more time in her garden in one of the hottest summers on record.

‘Two weeks passed and one morning I got up only to find the gazebo was in a heap, buckled in most of the joints of the stand,’ said Jean.

‘I was horrified with the thought it wasn’t what should have happened after only two weeks of it just standing in my garden, especially as we were enjoying such really good weather, no winds or rain at that time.

‘When I explained several times to The Range customer services that I’d had the first inherited one up for four years with no problems, just taking the canopy off during the winter months they didn’t want to know.

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‘They insisted the defect was my fault because I’d had it up too long and ignored it had turned into a heap of metal, totally unfit for purpose.’

Jean wasn’t prepared to be implausibly sold short but determined to stand her ground.

She first tried calling customer services and after registering her complaint was kept waiting on the line for 30 minutes before being cut off. When she recalled she was promptly told the lines had been closed.

Week after week followed with no response to her complaint emails and photographs of the Gazebo’s twisted metal, so she went over customer services’ head to the company directors.

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She was finally contacted by the head office escalations team trying to justify why she wasn’t entitled to a refund because she’d misused the product by not taking it down every time after using it.

Baffled by the curt brush-off and feeling she was going around in circles, Jean emailed Streetwise for advice, and we asked The Range CEO to investigate the issue.

We confirmed that goods were required by the 2015 Consumer Rights Act to be of satisfactory quality, durable, and fit for purpose.

As she had rejected the faulty gazebo around 14 days of receipt she was fully entitled to a full refund. The store protested the timescale was wrong and they were not liable’.

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Following our intervention, the company finally conceded she was a victim of a raw deal. They refused to refund her but offered a replacement.

A company spokesperson said: ‘Regarding Mrs Goodson’s complaint concerning the Arosa Gazebo. we have looked into the detail you and Mrs Goodson have provided, discussed the circumstances with the customer service and other departments at head office. After reviewing the complaint, The Range is prepared to offer Mrs Goodson an exchange.’

However, we were concerned there was no apology or explanation for the shambolic pretence of customer service as they initially blamed her for the defective goods.

Instead of promptly putting things right, she had been left wrestling for months with a situation that led her up a blind alley.

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But The Range is not the most complained-about company for poor customer service.

Trustpilot lists the company as average, with customers well satisfied with the product range, but littered with scathing reviews about customer services when they get let down and their complaints are ignored or not promptly resolved for months on end.

Streetwise credits Jean for standing her ground and refusing to be left in the lurch with faulty goods.

The extent of consumer rights for faulty goods is a useful thing to be aware of as retailers and manufacturers may provide misleading or unclear information.

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The Consumer Rights Act entitles buyers to a full refund on faulty items within 30 days of purchase or delivery.

Faulty items returned within six months of purchase are subject to one attempt to repair them or a replacement.

Jean said: ‘I just can’t thank Streetwise enough for helping me with this. I’m not up on consumer rights legal side of it all, but I just don’t know what I would have done without your support.’

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