Chasing for a refund

The notes on this page were originally found at the end of my 2004 custom workstation article but were moved here to make the article tidier.

A hard disk supplied by turned out to be faulty, so I tried to reach them by email to arrange to return the faulty drive for a refund (a right guaranteed by UK law).

Tuesday 10 February, 2004

Still no response from, so I'm going to remove them from my Recommended Vendors and Services page.

Online review sites seem to agree that are great until something goes wrong, and then you are forced to suffer poor customer service. Most reviews are favourable, reflecting their good range and delivery times, but the reviews that talk about trying to return faulty products make for infuriating reading. Try some of these links:

Ciao Independent Shopping Guide reviews of customer satisfaction ratings for user submission about bad experiences with [no longer online].

It doesn't look like I'm going to get a satisfactory resolution from them, so I've contacted Trading Standards and the Consumers' Association to see what they advise. I recommend anyone else who has had trouble with or any other online vendor do the same. I get the impression nothing happens unless a lot of complaints are recorded first. I also sent an email providing them with a link to this page, so they can see what I think of their customer service so far.

Wednesday 11 February

I finally decided to risk phoning to see whether anyone would answer the phone. And, after a relatively slim eight minutes of waiting through 'Thank you for waiting, we will answer you as soon as possible' type messages, I was speaking to Dave. I (eventually) found the order number for him, and he confirmed the drive that needed to be returned and said instructions would be e-mailed to me. If they find the drive to be faulty, postage would be reimbursed. I told him that has a reputation for being able to find anything 'not faulty', and he said 'what would be the point of that? We have vast amounts of stock in our warehouse.' So it looks like something is going to happen. Why this couldn't have been said in reply to my email six days ago, I don't know.

Also on Wednesday, a Mike from replied to my third email, claiming that he had not received any other emails from me requesting a return. I find that hard to believe. I received no bounce messages to suggest that I'd sent the mail to the wrong address, and the address used was the same on the third email. So, at the least, have a problem with their email system, and that's no use to anyone who's in a hurry.

Thursday 12 February

I followed the supplied instructions and packaged the hard drive carefully, including a letter explaining that I want a full refund for the value of the drive and reimbursement of the postage cost and explaining what was wrong with the hard drive, covered the box in the supplied RMA code, and address, and took it to the Post Office. I was shocked to see that the entire package has only 0.8 kilograms of mass — I was under the impression it would be five or six kilos. So the parcel was sent by Special Delivery, at a cost of £5.20, and should arrive tomorrow.

Before I sent the package off, I recorded a short camcorder video demonstrating that the drive is faulty, and took plenty of photographs of the drive, and the packaging. dispute their reputation for finding anything 'not faulty' but it can't hurt to have some evidence to support my claim.

I have also ordered a hard drive from I want to get this workstation machine finished and ready as soon as possible.

Saturday 14 February

I'm annoyed now. I've just received an e-mail from informing me that my RMA is packed and awaiting shipping in their warehouse. So it sounds like they've decided to replace the faulty hard drive, despite me stating very clearly that I want a refund for the drive. I've emailed Dave of twice, and tried their phone lines, but their phone lines are both giving only an engaged signal (not the usual queueing system). So I'm seriously annoyed now. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I receive back the very same faulty drive I sent to them, with some sort of note explaining that the drive worked fine for them, and it's all been in my imagination. At this rate, I'm going to call my credit card issuer and demand a refund from them and let them and their legal department deal with Trading Standards seem to agree that that's possible as the drive cost more than £100. Apart from that, seeing as are not answering their phones, there's little more I can do today.

Wait... Dave replied by e-mail (so now the phone system is not available, but e-mail is), asked for my RMA code. I supplied it to him. He has just replied again (suddenly seeing very speedy replies... why couldn't it have been this way a week-and-a-half ago?) and told me that the replacement drive has already been shipped and that I should reject the package when it is delivered. So much wasted time and effort just because clear instructions could not be followed. I have also asked how long it will be before the money is refunded to my credit card. Dave replied not many minutes later saying that a refund would occur immediately the drive was received by them.

More annoyance. The drive I ordered from on Thursday is nowhere to be seen. The Parcelforce site tracking system still just says that the parcel left Mitcham Depot (not far from me) at 01:35 yesterday morning. No further information is available. The Parcelforce phone lines are now devoid of human operators, as it's the weekend. The site says that it was expected to complete delivery yesterday. So Parcelforce are adding to the suffering and delay that this workstation machine has seen. I'm sure this wouldn't happen in Germany. (Feel free to contact me and put me straight on that one.) Thank god I'm not building a bloody house.

Tuesday 17 February

The unwanted replacement drive from turned up. The postman did not look too happy when I apologetically told him that the item should never have been sent, and that he would have to carry it back to the depot with him. Now all that needs to be done to end this exhausting transaction is for to refund the value of the drive and the cost of postage.

Friday 27 February

Still waiting for a refund for the hard drive and postage.

Tuesday 2 March has cheerfully informed me that £123.32 has been refunded to my credit card. That would be good news if it weren't for the fact £129.75 pounds should have been refunded. So I've sent yet another letter to Dave at I'm really fed up with this now. I'm sure they can't be as incompetent as they're making out. I reckon they (companies in general) do this because they think that the effort required to fix these minor discrepancies is not worth the small amount of cash involved. Well, I've got a lot of time on my hands, and the money is irrelevant. have already wasted enough of my time to make a few more letters, minutes or hours seem insignificant. This final shambles has convinced me that I really don't want to use again. Given the amount of money I've spent there in the past, that seems like a greater loss on their side, not mine.

Wednesday 3 March

Received another email from the difference in the expected amount and the described amount has now, so they say, been credited to my card. Assuming these credits do show up, that is the transaction completed.

Thursday 4 March

Both refund credits have appeared on the credit card. That's it: the end.