For Holly Williams, moving home and kitting out her new kitchen turned out to be an especially stressful life-challenging event.
Together with partner Mark she ordered a washing machine, cooker, and fridge freezer totalling more than £1,000 of new kitchen appliances from the Portsmouth Currys store.
They chose Currys because they wanted to browse and select their new appliances from the store’s extensive range of stock, rather than just place an order online.
But numerous abortive delivery promises left the couple embroiled in a furious chaotic stand-off with the firm’s customer care services, when five weeks after they placed the order no one could tell them when it would be delivered.
Holly said their battle with the company began in mid-August at the height of summer, when delivery was agreed for the day after they moved in to their new home during the first week of September.
She explained their initial experience with the firm didn’t get off to an auspicious start.
‘I took a day off work’, the 35-year-old cleaner said,’ and waited in after a call from Currys confirmed the delivery.
‘When it got to early afternoon I phoned them again to ask for an estimate when they’d be arriving. I was then told by customer service we weren’t getting the goods because they weren’t on the routing system, but couldn’t tell me why.
‘They said what they could do was deliver them the following week. I told my boss about the situation so I was given another day off.
‘I looked online to try to track the order which still indicated it was in progress. I reasoned something wasn’t right because it should have been ready for dispatch or on their way.
‘When I called them back again for an explanation they repeated it wasn’t on the routing system, and insisted the problem was down to back orders. They were trying to catch up.’
Holly tried putting in a complaint about the elusive appliances with customer services, but ended up confused and none the wiser when told they were stuck in a warehouse.
She added: ‘How I got treated by customer service so called support team was quite disgusting. They need retraining.
‘Every time I asked to speak to a manager they wouldn’t put me through. I was told it wouldn’t make any difference. I got the phone put down on me a couple of times and they refused to answer why the order was never on their routing system.
‘I just couldn’t find out what was going on and nothing was done in response to my complaint.’
Determined to get to the bottom of the situation once and for all the angry couple went to the Portsmouth store to get some face-to-face answers.
Despite Holly making it crystal clear she was at the end of her tether it became obvious no one was able to help because they didn’t have a clue where the order was.
Staff put in a number of tense calls to various departments who embarrassingly confirmed the firm’s catchline ‘We Help You Get It Right’ was not to be taken literally.
They blamed each other for the mega-shambles which only bolstered Holly’s worst fears.
First they were told their order had been traced to Sheffield, which was then contradicted by another call claiming it was at Basingstoke.
A stressed-out Holly had got the message that time had no meaning for the electrical giant so challenged them to either deliver their appliances without delay or she’d cancel the order.
Together with their two young children, they were fed up being left in the lurch and living on takeaway meals and getting relatives to do their washing.
The ultimatum resulted in yet another promise to deliver the order the following day. As it was the first day of the family holiday Holly arranged with her mother-in-law to be at home to take delivery.
But after agreeing a suitable time slot, a check on the order tracking system came back with information that although the order was in progress no delivery had been allocated.
To an incandescent Holly yet another delivery cock-up was the final straw. She cancelled the order and requested a refund.
She set about laying it on the line. Nothing less than her money back plus compensation for lost wages and all the hassle the family had been put through would be acceptable.
To their credit, Currys wasted no time in issuing a refund, but made it clear compensation was off the table because she’d cancelled the order.
Holly decided it was high time to call in Streetwise for some help and find out where she stood.
We challenged Currys’ decision and made it clear they were in breach of contract. We were of the view that when she had specifically and finally insisted on delivery of the order she had, to use the legal jargon, ‘made time the essence’ of the contract.’
This meant that failure to comply brought the contract to an immediate end. Not only was a refund due but also compensation for loss of wages and the subsequent weeks of inconvenience.
Shortly after our intervention Currys generously relented and gave Holly a fulsome apology.
A spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry to hear that Ms Williams has experienced issues with the delivery of her white goods.
‘We have reimbursed her for additional waiting time and have also offered a £50 voucher as a gesture of goodwill. Ms Williams’ has accepted this offer and is happy with the outcome.’
A grateful and relieved Holly confirmed that the settlement included her loss of wages as well as a goodwill payment for the weeks of frustration and stress.
She said: ‘We ended up re-ordering the kitchen appliances from Argos who delivered it right on time a week later.
‘Thank you for your help. No one from Currys seemed interested in putting things right but when Streetwise got involved it soon got sorted.’