You may remember that recently my daughter managed to smash the new TV that we bought from Currys PC World after only having it for four months. I remained calm because I had taken out the protection plan. This plan covered breakdown and accidental damage. Phew!
They collected the TV the day after, how good was that? Then a week and a half later I decided to call them because I’d heard nothing. They then informed me that they couldn’t source the replacement part for to the TV and therefore couldn’t repair it. The TV is four months old – do we really live in such a throwaway world now?
They told me I would be receiving a voucher code. I could then go into a store and pick a replacement. Great news. I remembered when I bought the TV that the sales assistant had said it was a like-for-like plan, therefore, I fully expected to be able to pick up another 43-inch LG smart TV.
My expectations became very different from the reality that came about.
To the value of
On Saturday morning I received a text message with my voucher code. Super, a wasted Saturday trailing to Currys PC World in York – a journey of 50 minutes. But, I thought that I may as well get it over with.
Upon giving the sales assistant took my voucher code and advised I could choose a TV to the value of £349.99 – the price I’d paid for the now broken TV. Except, when I bought that TV it had been reduced from £379.99.
I ran into an immediate problem. There were no 43-inch LG TVs under £479.99 – a whole £130 more than my voucher was for. It was time to have a word with a manager…
The sales assistant had a word with the store manager before I was beckoned over. The manager then proceeded to explain the protection plan is not like-for-like and that a TV to the value of £349.99 was all I could have unless I put more money in.
The manager got a bit of shock – I simply wasn’t having that.
I felt it was unfair that I had been mis-sold the protection plan on the basis that the sales assistant can seemingly contradict the small print in the agreement (that I was only given after purchase). I explained my point to the manager as eloquently as I could, despite feeling rather aggrieved.
Once he had repeated his quote from the small print in the agreement, which I have to say riled me, I asked where this could go? To customer services on the telephone as it turned out. He dialled for me using the phone on the sales counter.
It took almost 10 minutes to get my call answered. But the store manager had phoned general customer services so I had to be put through to the Team Knowhow customer services line. This then took another 20 minutes before my call was answered. You can imagine that by now I was feeling rather irritated.
The customer services lady simply repeated what the manager was saying and not conceding. My point that my taking advantage of a sale in April, having to use the protection plan, and then having to cough up a further £130 to get a like-for-like replacement TV meant that the benefit of buying a TV in the sales was cancelled out.
She started to get quite rude by asking why I didn’t read the terms and conditions. My rather loud replies that I wasn’t given the opportunity and that it was (incorrectly) summarised by the sales assistant drew some interesting looks from other customers at the sales counter, no doubt also being sold protection plans.
Asked to leave the store
I decided to up my game a little. I loudly (read shouted) that customers shouldn’t buy protection plans from Currys PC World because they are a con and are mis-sold. The manager scurried over to me rather quickly and threatened to have me removed from the store. My response? Good luck with that.
Things weren’t going well so I asked to be put through to a manager at customer services. I insisted I was not leaving this store without a TV.
The JVC conundrum
What I have not yet mentioned is the three JVC 43-inch TVs on sale for £349.99. I could have taken my pick of those – but it wasn’t the LG I previously purchased. There’s a reason I didn’t want a JVC.
You see, when I was in this store back in April looking for a new TV the sales assistant steered me away from them insisting he wouldn’t be given a JVC, they’re not a good brand, they’re poorly made and are simply re-badged unbranded TVs.
Why then should I be forced to take one of those simply because the price matched my voucher? I was being forced to take an inferior product. Inferior according to Currys PC World’s own staff.
The solution at last
It’s quite amazing that the solution took an hour and a half for Currys PC World to come up with. Whilst I had to go to a store with my voucher and couldn’t buy online, there was nothing stopping them ordering a TV for delivery to me.
They had an LG 43-inch TV in stock at the warehouse that could be delivered on Wednesday – just 4 days away. It was £30 more – but the store manager then used his discretionary powers to reduce the price to match my voucher.
How straightforward was that? Why? Why, could they not have thought of this before winding me up to the point I thought they might call the police to remove me? I mean, seriously Currys PC World! Where was your customer service?
A small victory for the customer that isn’t King
I don’t take stances like this often. But, when I think a company is being unfair I will stick up for myself. I did it with Amazon once, and I won that argument too.
But, what happened to the customer being King? The company I work for bends over backwards to please and retain its customers. Why is this no longer happening in the consumer retail world? We, customers, are effectively worthless to them.
I don’t advise getting shirty from the off. I built up to that level in this fight with Currys PC World. But I remained consistent in my position on the matter, and simply escalated my frustrations in increments. Eventually it paid off. However, isn’t it frustrating that they had to resolve it in their power from the outset!
When I was running a wedding and portrait photography business with Helen we never, and would never have, treated a customer like I was treated by Currys PC World.
Thanks for reading.