Nothing is more annoying and inconvenient than discovering you’ve been sold a faulty domestic appliance that keeps breaking down.
It was precisely this problem that caused Southsea reader Matt Hoy to lose his cool after he decided it was high time to buy a replacement fridge freezer from top shop John Lewis.
When he got on to John Lewis about it, a right royal battle of words and e-mails started flying backwards and forwards
Without a moment’s hesitation, on Boxing Day 2012 he decided to snap up an online bargain Zanussi machine from them for £320 complete with a two-year guarantee.
Matt says his decision to buy it from John Lewis was influenced by its reputation for outstanding dedication to no-quibble customer service and the extended guarantee.
But it wasn’t long before his confidence was dented when only eight months down the line the appliance unexpectedly broke down.
The busy 40-year-old project manager explained that when he got on to John Lewis he was surprised to find it was down to him to make all the arrangements with a local Zanussi service agent to get the machine fixed.
‘Basically,’ he said ‘the fridge freezer stopped working and wouldn’t chill or freeze any more, but all they did was provide a phone number.’
Convinced it was just bad luck and any faults with the appliance had been fixed, Matt thought no more about it. But to his annoyance, only seven months later exactly the same thing happened again.
He said: ‘John Lewis again insisted I made the repair arrangements, but I asked for a replacement as I’d lost confidence in it.
‘Apparently it was a different part that failed and they required the same part or a replaced part to fail twice before they’ll agree to exchange a product.’
‘This time I had to wait around two weeks after the engineer visited to diagnose the fault because the replacement part wasn’t in stock.’
As if to add insult to injury, on both occasions he’d also lost £25 in spoilt food, but the firm made no offer to compensate him.
Matt was resigned to the fact he’d have to write off his experience of poor service with the Zanussi fridge freezer as an unavoidable annoying episode, but events were about to take another frustrating turn.
Back in May, just five months after the guarantee expired, to his exasperation the appliance stopped working for a third time.
When he got on to John Lewis about it, a right royal battle of words and e-mails started flying backwards and forwards.
Matt says he collected a fistful of negative responses from five or six different technicians and got precisely nowhere with the firm’s customer service agents.
They adamantly insisted that now the appliance was out of guarantee it was all down to him to cover the cost of repairing the recurring defects.
But standing his ground, he was finally made an offer of £100 towards the cost of yet another repair, or the same amount off the cost of a replacement appliance.
After all the problems he’d experienced with it during the guarantee period he considered the proposed compensation only added insult to injury.
Fed up to the back teeth, Matt contacted Streetwise to see if we could help.
We got in touch with John Lewis and pointed out that as a matter of law repairs should have been carried out promptly with minimum inconvenience.
Matt had legitimate cause to complain because he’d been kept hanging around for weeks waiting to get the appliance repaired which was quite unacceptable.
We would have expected it to have been replaced as a matter of course and good practice after it had packed up for a second time, and invited the firm to consider a more generous settlement.
Once John Lewis received the full picture about where they’d fallen down on their exceptional and proud record for customer service, they moved promptly to put things right.
A spokesperson told Streetwise: ‘We were very sorry to hear of Mr Hoy’s problems with his fridge freezer and in the circumstances we have made him an offer of a full refund or a replacement which he has accepted.’
An assuaged Matt said: ‘Many thanks for getting this matter resolved.
‘Without your intervention I don’t believe I would have been offered a refund or a new fridge freezer.
‘It was really appreciated.’