Beware of Poor Customer Service from Phase Eight

We recently tried to return a nearly new pair of trousers to Phase Eight only to be told that the trousers had been worn incorrectly and that was why they had holed.

Vicky bought the trousers from Phase Eight in Skipton in November. In January, she tried to return them to the shop. She had the receipt with her so there shouldn’t have been a problem. However, it seems their policy is to refer everything to Customer Services. So, leaving her contact details, she expected a call back…

I went in some weeks later when we didn’t hear anything back and got handed the excuse of a mix up over who was going to call who. It’s pure common sense to me that, as a business, you should never delay in making a customer service call.

Having apologised for the mix up, the shop agreed to send the trousers off for appraisal.

Last week, we got a parcel back containing the trousers and a letter. The “dress” had been professionally assessed by their “Garment Technology Department” and they couldn’t find a problem. If they were looking at a dress, it’s no wonder they couldn’t find anything wrong.  There was no mention of the hole but it did suggest, rather unhelpfully, that the bobbling could be resolved using a clothes shaver and even going so far as to suggest where one could be bought.

It was a very unsatisfactory response so I called the number at the bottom of the letter. Having explained why I wasn’t very happy, I was informed that they had never had any reports of problems with the trousers and so it must be something Vicky was doing wrong. I’m not sure how it’s possible to wear a pair of trousers the wrong way (backwards perhaps?) but Phase Eight seem to think so. A couple of other points here:

  1. Just because no one has reported a problem to date doesn’t mean that one doesn’t exist – just ask Toyota; &
  2. Because of the experience we had above, it’s no surprise to me that of course no one has reported a problem previously – it’s seems impossible to do so.

Personally, I would recommend against buying anything from Phase Eight for fear of not being able to return it should there be a problem.

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Customer Service Should Be King Surely?

In today’s challenging economic conditions, I would have thought that keeping your new customers happy would be a top priority for many businesses. Even more so when you’re a relatively small independent predominately online retailer. That’s not the approach Abode seem to have.

  • It took them two weeks to respond to the original e-mail about the damaged mirror; if you’ve had a busier time selling stuff in the run up to Christmas, you can also expect a busier time after Christmas with returns, etc.
  • They were happy to let me phone them over & over again & again and do all the chasing; very few of the phone calls were initiated by them.
  • They insisted I pay for a second mirror before organising a replacement for the first; anyone know of anywhere else that has the same policy because it’s a new one on me?
  • Having agreed a time slot for a swap, they didn’t bother to tell me that their courier couldn’t make the slot; they missed a 2nd slot a couple of days later.  I had stayed home for both.
  • At this stage, they offered to let me chase their courier for them!  Erm, I don’t work for Abode; you sort it out.
  • When the courier did eventually turn up, he delivered the replacement mirror to the wrong house; 2 doors up!  Yet another phone call.
  • Having finally got a replacement mirror, I then had to chase them to refund the money for it.  You’ve had my money long enough; now give it back!

All-in-all, a very needlessly frustrating experience.  If you do have any dealings with them, Amanda seems to have some nounce about her but Michelle…  And so, if I can discourage just one potential customer from buying from Abode, I will have achieved what I set out to do by writing this post.