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Compass Sucks

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Tonight's rant is about Compass, the big mail order boat chandler. If you're not a boatie you may want to skip on.

I like to go sailing and my mate Hugo is my most regular skipper on his boat Matchmaker, a Trident 24. So when his birthday came around at the start of the month I suggested to the other people who sail with him we might club together and get him a Plastimo inflatable danbuoy. Compass had them for about £100 plus carriage. So we agreed between us to buy it and I placed my order on Monday 23rd June. This was cutting it a bit fine as Hugo's birthday party was the following Sunday but I thought we might get away with it.

Before I go on it's perhaps worth making something clear, in case you don't know this already: Compass is a German company. All their stock is held there. The only thing in the UK is a customer services place in the West Country which is run by another company on their behalf.

Now I had received a £10 credit note from Compass after a fiasco last year with a strap for a hard case (shown in the catalogue photo, not actually part of the item). I wanted to ensure it was applied to this order. I spoke to customer services about it on Monday. They assured me that although I wouldn't see it when placing the order it would be applied to the invoice before it was raised. They said they would send an email to Germany to remind them to apply the credit note.

On Tuesday 24th June I got an acknowledgement from Compass asking me to "Please check the items listed below". I did and noted the £10 credit note was not mentioned. So I replied pointing out the error. I had no reply to that email.

On Thursday 26th June the danbuoy arrived. An invoice was enclosed. For £106.45, so the credit note had not been applied. I phoned customer services again and they could find no trace of that either but they told me that they have now credited my Amex card.

But that was just a side show. The real problem was with the danbuoy itself. The box in which it comes (not the outer delivery box) had been carefully slit along one side. I opened the box. Inside was the danbuoy and the instruction leaflet which explained how to install it. Having read it I realised that the fixing kit was missing. I can only conclude that a previous customer had complained about the lack of a fixing kit so someone at Compass had opened this one and extracted the fixing kit ... and then returned the box to the store!!!

Anyway he said it was now too late to fix this before the party but he would arrange for another one to be shipped out to me and for the one I had to be collected on Monday (30th June).

I naively assumed he meant I would get the replacement on Monday but Monday came, a nice young man from DHL arrived to collect the danbuoy. I asked him where my replacement was. He said he didn't know anything about it.

So I emailed Compass as by now we were past the magic date of Hugo's party (we'd given him a card telling him what he was going to get ... eventually) and I couldn't face another phone call.

By Wednesday (my birthday) I'd not had a reply so I phoned them again. He confirmed that the replacement danbuoy "will be in stock later this week which will follow with delivery to you later next week" (which he confirmed in an email later that day, from which I'm quoting).

So that brings us up to date. Today is now "later next week" and no sign of the danbuoy and no email from Compass saying it had even been despatched. So I emailed them and cancelled the order.

A good choice as it turned out as I got this email from him, CCed to someone in Germany:

We must apologies for the misinformation that has obviously beset this order. In fact it will not be in stock till week 33 we are in Wk 28 which is well beyond your anticipated receipt. Therefore we will apply your instructions and reimburse your Amex card accordingly. This instruction has been sent to our Headquarters in Germany.

So that's that. After the best part of three weeks they're now saying I wouldn't get my order fulfilled for another five!

Anyway I've now placed an order with another supplier and I'll be keeping an eye on my Amex bill but one thing's for sure: I won't be ordering anything from Compass again in a hurry.

Tags: sailing Written 11/07/08


Previous comments about this article:

On 18/07/08 at 9:40am Paul wrote:

Well colour me unsurprised: Compass refunded me the cost of the danbuoy but not the carriage, so I was still £6.46 out of pocket. I wasn't going to chase this around with Compass again so I've spoken to Amex and they are now refunding it themselves. So score 1 to American Express and another fat zero to Compass.

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