Settle back dear reader and listen to my tale of woe. Yes woe, the sort of woe that comes across the face of a man as he is sucked every slowly but irrevocably into a black hole.
It all started so well; I got promoted to manager at work. Which basically means I have twice the work to do and I don’t have to fetch the coffee and biscuits any more as I have peons to do it for me (For any of my peons reading this, I am of course joking as you know I don’t take biscuits with my coffee).
To celebrate this largess I decided to invest in a new computer. A BRAND new computer. Well, it happens to us all eventually and I knew that I would one day, theoretically, earn enough cash to be able to afford a new one and not just upgrade what I have. That day had finally come. Being a geek at heart I asked a 22 year old what was the best one to buy and was promptly pointed towards the hearty fellows at Watford Electronics under the sinister pseudonym of Saverstore.com
No fool I. I read all the reviews. Perused all the feedback. Even phoned them up and checked the specs and finally decided on the Carrera Octan Ultimate 7800 that had the most heart staggeringly good specifications that I could hardly begin to believe it.
# AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
# 2x512MB Dual DDR Memory
# 256MB NVIDIA 7800GT PCIX Graphics
# 250GB ATA Hard Disk
# 16X Dual Layer DVD+/-RW
# 19″ TFT Flat Panel Monitor
Credit card in hand I ordered over the web safe in the knowledge that the man on the phone has assured me that they do a late night delivery to my area so that I don’t have to take time away from my aforementioned high powered job to pick it up. I was also told that a mere 6 days would pass before I would have in my hands the Ultimate PC!
Swipe that card baby!
So, here it all started to go wrong. The point that they had my cash. Firstly, 6 days was a little on the misleading side and it was more like two weeks before I heard anything at all. Finally, after 13 working days I see on the Savastore website order tracking that the PC is taking shape and looking good. Then I get an email that it has been dispatched. Oh joy of joys! Wonder upon wonder! Soon I will be delighting to my new monolithic dream computer!
Will I hell.
I eagerly log on to the delivery companies tracking system to find it is not listed. So I call them and find they don’t have an option on their system for customer service so I choose sales and get through after 2 hours on hold. “Don’t worry”, they say “It is so hot off the press that it hasn’t shown up on our system yet, you will probably get it the day after they said”. Ah, problem. My mother is staring in a play that night and I have top tickets. Bugger, ok ok I reschedule the play (much to my wife’s chagrin) and sit in waiting the door bell and my night delivery.
Perturbed but not angry I call the delivery company. Perhaps they could not find my address, or got lost finding my street, or delivered it to someone else? I mean, I am easy to miss; being the flat between the number after mine and the one preceding. I can see how that would throw them off!
After 2 hours on hold I get through. “We don’t do night deliveries”, the lady says.
“What? But I have paid extra for one!”
“Tough.”, came the reply.
“Will you deliver tomorrow (Saturday)?”
“Only with Watford electronics customer services authorization via fax” she retorts.
Fine thinks I. I will get that authorization quick smart. Being an IT manager, I am used to dealing with suppliers and know all the tricks on the phone. Yes, I would soon hit them with the right combination of indignation and scorn and they would fall over themselves to help me if only to get me off the line. I look up the customer services phone number.
They don’t have one.
They do have an email address! No worries, I once did an email that got Dell so flustered that the head of UK services called personally to apologize and gave my entire department free PDA’s! So I put together a short but effective message, pointing out that I would call Trading Standards, Watchdog, the Small Claims Court, and offer a sacrifice to Satan himself if I didn’t get my PC Saturday.
I get no reply at all. Total ignore. And, of course, it doesn’t arrive.
So on Monday, I roll up my sleeves, gird my loins and sit down for action. I email, Fax and use their online feedback form 3 times each.
They ignore me again and still the PC is somewhere between them and I (Mars probably). I start to have visions of the delivery drivers son getting a very nice early Christmas present.
Wednesday, I decide to go for the throat and Fax them 21 times, email them twice and feedback till the cows come home. We all laugh about it at work, but the jokes on us. They persist in ignoring me still. What has happened at Watford? I wonder. Has it been hit by a nuclear missile, or an asteroid strike? Are they even now in fallout shelters because Gabriel has sounded his trumpet? Had I missed something about Watford the town? Are the poor wretches of the Saverstore.com Customer Services Department even now being herded into the wicker-man?
Thursday, and by now I am a little stressed to say the least, I hold on the delivery company phone number for another 2 hours (and remember this is their sales department option!) and finally get through to The Voice Of Sanity. This, young, eager sounding guy says “Yes! I can see it right here” and “It must have fallen through the net ”. Ha Ha goes I. He goes on for another ten minutes about how their internal company procedures work (or in this case don’t work), how faxes are needed, how he will handle it all for me and how I should 90% get the package this very night, most sorry sir.
Great! I rush home giddy as a school boy. However, the night ticks around to 9pm and the package is obtuse in its absence. I have a very restless night wondering if I will ever see the package or my £1300.00 again.
The next day (today) I hold for 3 hours at the delivery company sales department and then give up.
But wait! It appears that since the day before they have updated their hold music, it now mentions a FAX number! Resigned to failure I fax them, taking 8 times to get through. I list every possible number, fax and email address they can call me on including my mothers home and work numbers and the numbers of all the pubs I visit. I point out that if they don’t phone me back then they are really trying hard to ignore my plight. 10 minutes (!) later they call me on my mobile. It is the women I spoke to the first time. “We don’t do night deliveries”, the lady says.
“But I was told yesterday…”
“We don’t do night deliveries”, she says again sticking firmly to what she knows.
“Look lady… ”
“We don’t do weekend deliveries either without authorization and Watford are ignoring our faxes”
You and me both!
“Look, can we just agree a delivery time and I will take the time off work?”
So here we are. Lessons learned. If you want something ordered, kill Watford Electronics before you start.
Will it arrive? Will I get rescued from this hall of mirrors? Will Watford stop hiding behind the sofa? Watch this space and see!
This happened to anyone else?