Friday, 8 January 2010

Why is nothing straighforward?

A truly momentous occasion ruined by apathy and poor customer services!

The love of my life expired in the Summer. The unfeeling and insensitive words to crash my world being "I'm afraid it cannot be repaired, its obsolete and we cannot get the spares". My dearest friend was to be relegated to the scrap heap after 30 years of tender loving care. You may think I'm silly, but I cried, yes cried in the shop. What is she talking about, you may ask? My beloved sewing machine, I was absolutely bereft.

My machine had been used almost every single week throughout all those years and only let me down once. The perfect marriage. Only those of you who has an older style machine will know that comforting, robust sound it makes whilst sewing and I was convinced that I would not get that with a plastic covered new machine.

Anyway, after much research, picking of likeminded brains, I eventually decided on a Janome. But I couldn't afford it, but Mr. P promised to buy me it for Christmas. He did not, seeming to think that I might like a couple of DVDs instead! Now I know how that little boy who Santa Claus forgot felt!

But, just after Christmas, I popped into Dunelm Mill and there she was, half-price, reduced from £150. There was only one left, my heart started to beat faster as I put my protective arms around her, lest someone would try to steal her from me. They packed her up for me, but I noticed that the instruction manual was missing, they assured me that I could get this easily online or at Janome - this is the exact point where things started going wrong.

Its true, I was very pleased when they offered me a further 10% discount, leaving me to pay just £64.05. Such a small price to pay for something that would give me such pleasure.

I rushed home, unpacked her and felt that my face would break from smiling so much. Jumped on the computer to source the manual, but after 2 hours, despair set in. I couldn't locate it anywhere. Decided to try again the following day when I was feeling calmer. Spent the evening admiring my new friend and giving her a loving stroke everytime I passed her.

Upon closer inspection the next day, I was horrified to find that the machine did not have any bobbins, or even a bobbin case. The machine was incomplete and could not be used.

I rang Dunelm head office and spoke to Brian and was astounded at his bored unhelpfulness. He told me to go back to the store and get a refund. Tears of frustration at this point.

Up until recently I worked as a legal advisor for Trading Standards, so I was well aware of my statutory rights - but I did not want to exercise these, I wanted my bargain sewing machine. Off I went back to the store, asked to see the manager, explained, but he too was most unhelpful and offered a refund. I did not and could not accept this.

At this point I was on a mission! I rang all the local Dunelm stores, but none had this particular machine. I then tried the Broadstairs (Kent) store and a man named Lloyd reinstated my faith in commercial human nature. Yes, Lloyd had just one left, he would save it for me and as the box was still factory sealed all the parts should be intact, but he would check it with me when I collected it.

Now Broadstairs is an 80 mile round trip for me, the roads are excellent and there is a very special point, just entering Thanet where the light is always beautiful, so off I went. The lovely Lloyd, true to his word, saved it and checked it with me. Reason to start smiling again - until I got to the customer services desk. Because I had received an extra 10% discount, they wanted me to repay this. I asked to see the manager, but Lloyd said he would do this for me. After 10 mins, I could see that Lloyd was not having much luck with the manager, at this point, I admit, I pulled rank, told the customer services lady about head office and the previous manager. Informed her of my Trading Standards background and she bolted off, horror-stricken to the manager/Lloyd conference. Needlesstosay, a straight swap was agreed.

A long post, but the moral of this story is, that it is true that all Dunelm had to do was refund my money (put me back in the position I was in as if the contract had never existed). But, in law, there something called 'loss of bargain' and I would have pursued this course if I had not got satisfaction.

Also, it seems that my complaints did not fall on deaf ears as Brian rang me back and was almost as helpful as the lovely Lloyd! I can assure you, dear reader, that I graciously accepted Brian's apology!

Customer service is very important to me and poor customer service is one of Trading Standards biggest complaints.

Will I shop again at Dunelm, probably not, unless of course the lovely Lloyd serves me. But an 80 mile round trip is an awful long way to buy some spare bobbins!

But here my beauty is and we quickly got acquainted. Joy restored again

Don't you think she sits very prettily on this lovely old singer treadle table!



  1. What a nightmare Jak!
    You know Hobby Craft have machines in there. I saw one the other day knocked down. I didn't take too much notice of them just walking by I noticed.
    I agree it's as though no one wants to be bothered these days. Everything you buy you have to take back for some reason or another. It's so annoying!
    I love the table, brings back memories in my family. I like sewing with a machine, but it takes me all my time to get the bobbin sorted and the tension!
    Hugs and Love Sue
    HOpe weather is okay with you. We have had snow once again, roads are dreadful this morning.

  2. I am glad that it all turned out all right in the end for you! JEMS in Canterbury are absolute stars, and their customer service is wonderful, so if ever you need any bits and pieces I would highly recommend them!

    Pomona x