Thursday, June 09, 2016

To Customer Service at AO.Com

This should pretty much explain itself.


To Customer Service at AO.Com



How do you do?
Having purchased cookers, washing-machines and tumble-driers from ao.com we naturally went straight to the ao.com website when our elderly Amana integrated american fridge/freezer started to misbehave. 
We selected a glossy black Samsung model, specifically, this one…
Having selected our appliance we spoke with your team and scheduled disconnection, disposal, delivery and installation for Thursday 2nd of June.
We were informed that ‘expert logistics’ in the shape of ‘Rob’ would be delivering the fridge freezer.
We’d notified ao.com that the bridge near our property was closed by the Highways Agency and that the driver would need to approach from the village of Windlesham.
I’d also confirmed that plumbing would be required to install this unit
On Thursday morning it was a surprise to get a call from your driver informing me that the bridge was closed. 
I knew that, I’d informed you. 
I’d explained the alternative route.
I gave directions, again.
On arrival there was much head-scratching muttering and eventually a series of heated phone conversations between your staff in the call-centre and the two delivery gentlemen in my house who repeatedly expressed their disbelief that the existing unit could ever possibly be extracted. 
This, despite the evidence that it had obviously, some 16 years ago, been installed.
The bulk of their effort seemed to be spent in taking many, many photographs, of the fridge/freezer, the doorways, the floor, the plumbing and informing the dispatcher that this was no job for mere mortals and the AO.com equivalent of special forces needed to be dispatched. 
I spoke with a dispatcher who seemed to be quite confused but asked me to re-schedule. Naturally I was unhappy to do this having dedicated a day of my time simply to accommodate your delivery schedule. 
I should explain at this point that I charge £1,250 a day for my time so I was less than thrilled to lose that revenue simply to spend a pointless 30 minutes trying to understand why your folk didn’t want to do their job.
Your driver seemed to think I would enjoy having a brand new, shiny and exciting, but effectively surplus fridge/freezer sitting in my hallway over the weekend but I declined this offer and insisted that they take it back with them. 
They, in their turn, declined my generous offer to disconnect and extract the existing unit (and thus prove the viability of the delivery) on the grounds of “having more deliveries to do” and disappeared while I was talking to your dispatcher.
Your dispatcher re-scheduled for the following Monday, the 6th of June and I resigned myself to another day of lost income. 
I was assured that the next team would be highly skilled, very capable and fully briefed on all the relevant facts and your dispatcher cheerfully accepted my offer to disconnect and extract the existing unit.
As a ‘courtesy' she offered to commit to an afternoon delivery to allow me to do this part of your job for you. 
I was bemused by ‘ as a courtesy’ but had, by now, lost the will to challenge her understanding of the word 'courtesy’ in this context.
On Monday morning I removed all the contents and then removed the doors from the existing Amana fridge/freezer. 
It took about 15 minutes to single-handedly remove the doors and shift the item into the kitchen, making it easily accessible from the front door, conservatory or french windows. 
I hoped this might make things easier for your staff. More importantly I wanted to provide no excuse or obstacle to the installation of the new appliance.
This is not what I do for a living so I was still a little baffled by the lack of confidence of your original team in their ability to remove and install on the original, scheduled date.
I waited for your delivery.
Bearing in mind that I was expecting that the new crew, (allegedly the equivalent of the AO.com  A-Team), would have been fully briefed about all aspects of the previous abortive farrago I was a little surprised to get a phone call telling me that they were on the wrong side of the bridge, obviously ignoring the advice of their comrades, my advice and the relevant notes you’ll find printed (by your staff) on the attached delivery instructions.
Once they arrived I was also a little discomfited to find that they were not an elite crack team of AO.com problem solvers, they were simply another delivery team, mine was but one of 30+ deliveries, and, annoyingly, that they’d been given no information at all relating to the previous visit. 
It did make me wonder what the point was of all the measuring, head-scratching, ‘sharp-intake-of breath’ ing and photography that Rob and his chum had engaged in the previous week and indeed, the subsequent assurances given to me by the dispatcher that AO.com  were very unhappy with the inconvenience (and presumably the cost of missed work) caused to me.
The first piece of good news from Trevor was that they would be unable to connect the water inlet as it was an 'old style connection', apparently their 'plumbing skills’ don't actually include doing any plumbing. 
I was, again, intrigued. Young Rob had photographed every aspect including the plumbing of the existing installation, how was it that this, presumably, useful and relevant information had never been shared?
 
However Trevor and his chum removed the old machine to their van, and over the next thirty minutes, removed the doors from the new Samsung unit, put it in place, replaced the doors. 
Trevor then discovered, much to his surprise that Samsung had included an external in-line water filter and non-return valve on this item, thus allowing connection to the existing inputs.
How we smiled.
The team connected everything up and assured me that all was functional, they were apparently unable to demonstrate that either the power, the water or the ice-making could be demonstrated as the machine needed four hours for 'the gas to settle' before I could turn it on. 
I was told that I then needed to then leave it a further hour or so before using it in earnest.
I signed the paperwork, painfully aware that I was signing for a big shiny metal box and had no idea whether it did anything useful. 
They left.
After four hours, I turned the power on and after clearing all the packing material from the inside of the unit I set the temperature as per the instruction manual, which, luckily, I found inside the fridge.
All seemed fine until I attempted to use the water dispenser a couple of hours later (again, as instructed by the manual) to clear any residual muck out of the system.
All that happened when the dispenser was activated was the sound of a pump, no water, just the sound of a pump. 

I checked the ice maker, I tested it using the test button, (lucky I’d found that manual), nothing, no ice, no water, nada.
Once again I pulled the machine out of it’s alcove and got behind. 
Guess what? 
They’d only installed the non-return valve the wrong way round. 
I know, I was surprised too. 

I’m guessing that they’d installed it using the pipe colours (Which didn’t match the instructions) rather than the actual water-flow.
No longer a valve to stop the water coming back from the machine, it was now a valve to stop water getting to the machine. 

Excellent.
Despite not being one of AO.com 's highly skilled technicians I was able to (once again) turn off the household water supply at source, disassemble the non-return valve and reconnect it according to the huge arrow and picture of a tap on it’s case. 

As near as we can tell, all is now, finally, working well with our new fridge/freezer. 

Great
But I can’t help thinking, one of the reasons we selected AO.com was your claims (and to be fair, in the past, justifiable claims) to offer a highly-effective disconnection, disposal and connection service. 
That’s why we chose you.

This experience however, was, on two separate occasions, shambolic, frustrating, incompetent and (for me at least, expensive ).
So what are you going to do about it?




Update:  so far they've refunded all the connection, disconnection and disposal service costs, I still think they owe me a days billing though.

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