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Argos on the Web

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So there I was stuck at home, with my old watch getting past its best and I thought "hey, I could buy a watch from Argos via their web site. Should be easy enough".

Well it was actually. Except I made a small mistake: I took them at their word about sale or return and ordered five watches that I liked the look of, intending to return four. I ordered them on 16th September and they arrived on the 18th. And as it turned out I actually kept two, because Beth fancied one of them too.

So then the fun began. I mailed Argos on the 18th to say could they arrange collection of the three watches. That was Wednesday.

On the following Monday morning (23/9) I mailed them again as I'd heard nothing and also tried to phone them twice but failed to get through. I then spotted that on Saturday our spam filter had caught a mail from Argos (because it was MIME encoded HTML). I retrieved it and it read (HTML, and quoting on later mails, edited out):

From: Order Enquiries <Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk>
To: Order Enquiries <Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk>
Subject: Delay In Response
Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2002 12:34:34 -0000

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your enquiry.

I apologise that we have not responded to this e-mail sooner. Argos is
currently experiencing extremely high volumes of e-mails.

We note your enquiry has now been dealt with by our customer services team,
I apologise again that we were unable to get back to you sooner. 

If you still require further assistance, please resubmit your original
e-mail, with the above title, and we will deal with any outstanding issues
as a priority.

Once again I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Best Regards

Argos Direct Customer Services

All very mysterious as they hadn't responded to my query at all. So I mailed a reply.

Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 14:43 +0100 (BST)
From: paul(at)the-hug.org (Paul Oldham)
Subject: Re: Delay In Response
To: Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk

I don't know why you think it's been dealt with. I have has *no* 
communication from Argos other than this email apology. I am still waiting 
for you to arrange collection of these items, which I don't want:

> 251/0952  Casio Gents Databank LCD Watch.            1        £   19.95  
> 251/0969  Casio Gents Databank LCD Watch.            1        £   24.95  
> 250/6894  Timex Gents Expedition LCD Digital Compa   1        £   34.99  

Your order number ND204593519 refers. These were delivered to me on 18th 
September 2002 and I mailed you the same day, and again this morning, asking 
you to arrange their collection.

I have also tried phoning you, but having been kept on hold for several 
minutes I was cut off. Twice.

I'm not impressed. Please sort this out ASAP.

Late that day a reply came.

From: Order Enquiries <Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk>
To: "'paul(at)the-hug.org'" <paul(at)the-hug.org>
Subject: RE: Delay In Response
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 21:43:23 -0000

Dear Mr Oldham, 

Thank you for your e-mail. 

Firstly I would like to apologise for the delay in response to your e-mail.
I can confirm that I have arranged a collection for 26/09/2002. As soon as
the goods are returned to Argos after this collection a refund will be
issued on to your card which will take 7-10 days to clear onto your
statement due to bank holding procedures.  I apologise in advance if this
causes any inconvenience.

If you do have any further problems do not hesitate to contact us at
order.enquiries(at)argos.co.uk. Alternatively if you want to speak to an agent
you can call our helpline on 0870 600 8784.

Regards, 

Robert Williams 
Argos Customer Services

"Phew", I thought, "good, well at least that's sorted out". I got another email on Wednesday from someone else at Argos, again confirming the date of 26/09 and also stressing that the carrier would collect between 8am and 6pm.

So on Thursday 26th I waited in all day for the carrier to come. Beth even delayed going to work until I got back from walking the dog so we could be certain we didn't miss them. Did they come? Nope.

So come Friday I was not a happy bunny and I mailed them thus

Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 13:43 +0100 (BST)
From: paul(at)the-hug.org (Paul Oldham)
Subject: RE: Delay In Response
To: Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk
 
I waited in all day yesterday for your carrier to come. They didn't. I'm 
none too happy at being stuck in the house all day, especially after it took 
three emails to get you to arrange this collection at all.

I don't have another day when I can be at home all day for some time now so 
I will have to return the goods to my local store, which isn't very easy for 
me to do, which is why I used the web site in the first place.

Paul

However shortly after I sent that mail a man turned up to collect the watches. Only a day late but hey, at least he'd come. He told me he only got asked to collect today (and he was in Milton yesterday so could have collected if he had been asked).

So I banged off another email to Argos, thinking the game was over now.

Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 16:03 +0100 (BST)
From: paul(at)the-hug.org (Paul Oldham)
Subject: RE: Delay In Response
To: Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk

An hour after I wrote the above Blue Arrow turned up to collect the watches. 
Only 24 hours late but his paperwork told him to collect today, not 
yesterday, so I can't blame him! Luckily I was here to give them to him so 
the watches are now on their way back to you.

Paul

So that was that then ... well no, it wasn't. Because on Monday, while I was out, a card was popped through our door. Which lead to me banging off this email:

Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 15:06 +0100 (BST)
From: paul(at)the-hug.org (Paul Oldham)
Subject: RE: Delay In Response
To: Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk

You have not responded to either of my last two emails but the icing on the 
cake is that today, while I was out, another carrier called Reality turned 
up to make a collection on behalf of Argos. Apparently they're coming back 
tomorrow and I'll be out then too. You might want to stop them since the 
watches are already on their way back to you.

Paul

Tuesday came and went, and Reality didn't turn up. "My mail must have worked" I thought, although an acknowledgement would have been nice. But I was wrong because on Tuesday night this mail arrived:

From: Order Enquiries <Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk>
To: "'paul(at)the-hug.org'" <paul(at)the-hug.org>
Subject: RE: Delay In Response
Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 18:41:09 -0000 

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail. 

I apologise for the late response to this e mail as it is due to some
technical difficulties being experienced at Argos Direct which in turn is
causing a small back log. I see after examining the system that a new
collection is arranged for 03/10/2002. I extend my apologies on behalf of
White Arrow who were supposed to be performing the task of collecting your
item, and hope that in this case the failure does not occur again.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us either
on 0870 600 8784 or via e-mail at 


Regards,


Reg Patel
Argos Direct Customer Services

So they've arranged another collection for Thursday, despite me telling them twice that the watches have already been collected. Oh dear. Aren't they reading my mail at all? I'd lost the will to live by this time so I didn't reply.

Wednesday 2/10, not Thursday, another card was popped through my door while I was out, from Reality again. They say they'll try again. So it seems that Argos now have two different carriers trying to collect these watches which they have already collected.

I've no idea how to stop them now as they don't seem to actually read the mail I send them. I guess I'll just wait until I catch the carriers.

Let's just hope that the original carrier actually has returned the watches to Argos and I'll get my card refunded.

This one will run and run. Watch this space for more updates.


Update: Friday 4/10

I had to go out on Thursday but I confidentally expected at least one card from a carrier saying that they had tried to collect, given that the last email from Argos said that they would collect on 03/10.

But there was no sign of them. Perhaps Argos have finally got the message?


Update: Wednesday 9/10

Well, the good news is that it looks like they did get the message as I had no more cards. But the fun wasn't over yet. They said my card would be credited 7-10 days after they received the watches back. Today I mailed this:

Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2002 15:49 +0100 (BST)
From: paul(at)the-hug.org (Paul Oldham)
Subject: RE: Delay In Response
To: Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk

> I can confirm that I have arranged a collection for 26/09/2002. As soon as
> the goods are returned to Argos after this collection a refund will be
> issued on to your card which will take 7-10 days to clear onto your
> statement due to bank holding procedures.

You actually collected on 27/09. It's now 9/10, which I make 12 days, but my 
credit card has yet to be credited. Can you please confirm you have received 
the watches back and my card has been credited to the tune of 79.89?


Update: Monday 14/10

I did get a reply on Friday which said:


From: Order Enquiries <Order.Enquiries(at)argos.co.uk>
To: "'paul(at)the-hug.org'" <paul(at)the-hug.org>
Subject: RE: Delay In Response
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 19:06:44 -0000

Dear Sir,
 
Thank you for your e-mail.
 
We apologise that you have not received your refund.  I have passed this
information onto our Finance department and have asked them to refund the
card immediately.  
 
If we can be of further assistance, please contact us again on 0870 600 8784
or via e-mail on order.enquiries(at)argos.co.uk
 
Regards,
 
Julie Wright
Argos Direct Customer Services

But as my card still hadn't been refunded I phoned them up today and actually got to speak to someone for the first time rather than being cut off! They actually initiated a credit today, and it will take "7-10 days" to get to my card. So much for "immediately". This also means I will have pay the whole amount on my card as the refund won't come through before payment is due. Sigh.


Update: Monday 23/10

To be fair to them the credit did appear on my card very promptly, for the right amount too. My what a game though. I won't be rushing to buy anything else online from Argos.

Written 02/10/02

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