Lousy Customer Service

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

I’d just like to congratulate Internet Cameras Direct on some of the worst customer service I’ve experienced in a long time. To be fair, my Mum experienced it, not myself. The firm left her sitting at home waiting for a camera delivery for three days, while their phone representatives proved magnificently unhelpful.

Mum e-mailed them suggesting that they might make some compensation for her lost time. This was the response:

Unfortunately we cannot offer any compensation as the goods were dispatched from us on time.
Sorry for any inconvenience

Katie Hollingworth
Sales Supervisor

Now, this is clearly arrant nonsense. Our contract was with the web retailer for delivery of the camera, not their subcontractors. It doesn’t matter if they use a delivery firm, particularly beefy pigeons, trained burrowing voles, or drive the camera to the delivery point themselves, it’s the retailer’s responsibility.

This dismissive, rude treatment from Ms Hollingworth contrasts sharply with the apologies and assistance I had from Apple last year when they had problems with their delivery sub-contractors. Thus, I am forced to the major recourse left for a dissatisfied consumer: not buying from them again. Of course, that’s useless unless they know I’m not buying from them again. So:

Dear Ms. Hollingworth,

Thank you for your reply to my mother, copied below. Thank you for embarrassing me, who paid for 50% of the order under discussion, and who recommended the service to my mother.

Thank you for showing a total lack of concern for the days of my mother’s life
wasted by your inability to manage sub-contractors correctly. Thank you for being almost entirely incorrect in your reply below. You’ll find our contract for next day delivery was with yourselves, not your delivery sub-contractors, and thus it was you who failed to perform to that contract. It doesn’t matter if you use a legion of trained burrowing voles or a bunch of incompetent deliverymen in Norwich to get the cameras to us, as long as it arrives when promised. When it doesn’t, that’s your problem, not ours. Thank you so much for making it ours.

Most of all, though, thank you for making it perfectly clear that my intended order for a Fuji F700 (http://www.internetcamerasdirect.co.uk/Fuji-FinePix-F700-digital-camera-deals.htm)
and a Canon EOS30D (http://www.internetcamerasdirect.co.uk/canon-eos-300d-digital-camera-deals.htm) to replace my aging SLR system should go to a retailer with some interest in customer service, rather than yourselves.

For that, I am extremely grateful.

Adam Tinworth

Oh, and I copied in the managing director.

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.