7/11/2008

I hate Noel Leeming, and kids who have no restraint

So, let's start with the kids. Two days after Guy Fawkes Day, the kids are still trying to burn their fireworks like there's no tomorrow. Well, maybe in some cases, if they're incautious, there will indeed be no tomorrow for them!

Right, now for the meat of the post. I totally, absolutely loathe Noel Leeming. I've ordered a laptop from them a whole fortnight ago, and they've managed to balls up my order in perhaps the most spectacular way imaginable.

I placed my order via their website on Friday morning, just at the start of their Labour Day online sale. I knew that it was a clearance product, so the earlier I ordered it, the more likely I'd get it soon. The only branch with units available for immediate pickup was Botany Downs, which was about an hour's drive from home, so I opted to have it delivered to the Wairau Park branch instead. I was told to expect to hear from Wairau Park in about 3 days, when the item would be ready for me to pick up.

Three days came and went. No news. I went to the store to ask about it on Tuesday, and was told by an impatient floor person that they received nothing, because it was a long weekend, and that I will hear from them when it arrives. Clearly, they didn't want to be bothered about it. All right, I thought, let's give them the benefit of the doubt, just in case it was a 3 business day delay.


Well, was I wrong. On Friday, I happened to be at the Lynnmall branch of Noel Leeming, so I took the opportunity to enquire about my order. The store person looked at the details, and said, the item should be available by now—Wairau Park had 7 in stock! So, I called them up and asked what was going on, as I waited a whole week and was sick of waiting.

The person at Wairau Park advised me that those 7 units were not actually for retail sale, but were instead reserved for a corporate order, and that the call centre people (who were in charge of Internet ordering) had stuffed up by listing that branch as a supply branch, when in fact they had no supply. He also said that he would get in touch with the call centre and have them contact me about whether I could pick up a unit from the Manukau branch, that was supposed to have one available.

(For non-Aucklanders: I live in the North Shore, and the Wairau Park branch is one of the closest to home. Botany Downs, Lynnmall, and Manukau are all ‘south of the bridge’, quite far from home, so we try to avoid unnecessary travelling.)

I asked for the call centre to call me back as soon as possible, because we didn't want to get stuck on the city side of the bridge without good reason. Well, most of an hour passed, we heard nothing, and so we went home, disappointed.


Irate, I decided to call up the call centre myself the next day. The first call I made, I got hung up on; the second call I made, the guy on the line expressed his sympathy, and arranged to have a unit delivered from a South Island branch (which I was told to expect by the end of the week). I said, emphatically, that I had waited more a whole week for the laptop, and that I would like it if they could provide me some compensation for the run-around I'd been given all along. I hinted that a spare laptop battery wouldn't be bad for them to throw in.

The call centre guy said, no, they don't do that, but they could provide a refund. And I was like, well, I bought the laptop during the Labour Weekend sale, and if I knew it was going to take that long to get here, I would have taken my fine money elsewhere, so really, because of this lost opportunity, they should refund me the pre-sale price, or offer a store credit with equivalent value.

And he was like, nope, sorry, the most we can offer is an apology, but perhaps you could write a complaint to customer services about this. (As a matter of fact, once I get calm enough to write a professional letter of complaint, I'll just use this post as the basic substance, so consider this the first draft. :-P)

Anyway, I was still expecting the laptop “by the end of the week”. Guess what? It's now Friday evening, and I still have received neither a call, nor a package at my door. This is really shocking, and inexcusable; it's been two whole weeks since I ordered, and never once have they ever called me. I had to be the one to do all the pushing. I dare say that this is the most shocking customer service I have ever encountered in my 20 years of living in New Zealand, topping even Telecom. Think about that.

What's the bet that, if the laptop arrives at all, it was a display unit, and already halfway broken from the rigours of ‘unsupervised test drives’. That would really take the cake, as far as raising my blood pressure beyond whatever notional savings I got from the sale could cover.

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