Pricewatch reader queries: From delivery damages to phone lines cutting off

Consumer stories of anger and frustration, plus a rare letter of praise

“I would be greatly obliged if you could help sort out a serious issue I am having with Currys,” starts a mail we received from a reader by the name of Mel. “For the past four weeks I have tried to have the issue resolved through emails and phone calls to Currys, but the issue remains unresolved.

“I paid over €400 to Currys for a TV on August 18th, a month ago, and I still do not have a TV I can watch. All I have are empty promises.”

Mel is a 67-year-old pensioner and says he cannot afford to give Currys €400 and receive only empty promises.

In the middle of August he ordered a television on the Currys website. A few days later, he arrived home to be greeted by the television, which had been left at his front door.


That may seem weird to you – it certainly seemed less than ideal to us – but the problems were only starting.

“The box containing the TV had been badly damaged in two places, indicating that it had been very roughly handled not once but twice.

“I took photographs of the damage and included the photographs in an email sent to Curry’s customer service minutes later and I requested replacement of the TV. By lunchtime the following day I had received no acknowledgment of the email, so I contacted Currys by telephone. The agent I was speaking to, in a call centre in South Africa, assured me that the TV would be collected by DPD and replaced within five working days.

“They explained the procedure was that the TV would first be collected and that the replacement would then be dispatched.”

So far, so efficient – well, apart from the broken telly and damaged box left on the doorstep where it could have been stolen by anyone.

But that is where the “efficiency” ends, and since then nothing has happened “despite numerous phone calls and numerous emails. The TV delivered in the middle of August has still not been collected.

“All the agents I speak with in the South African call centre are courteous and apologetic. They all assure me that the TV will be collected either within 24 or 48 hours, depending on which agent is dealing with me. It takes several days to receive a response to emails and again they promise that the TV will be collected but the TV is still in my front hall. Dealing with Currys’ customer service department is like attempting to swim through treacle. I am amazed at their complete lack of customer focus. It would be comical if I were not at the loss of over €400.”

We got in touch with Currys/PC World to find out where in the world Mel’s telly was.

Before we heard back from them, we heard back from Mel again. And this time he sounded considerably more chipper.

“Very pleased to report that my issue with Currys has now been resolved,” he said. “I had a telephone call yesterday afternoon from a lady working with Currys’ customer service department who took decisive action and brought the saga to an end.”

He identifies a “number of positive outcomes. Women’s Aid will receive a donation of €48, €40 from Curry’s and €8 tax credit from the Irish Government, Currys have received some customer feedback from me which I hope will prove useful and I will receive a full refund of the money paid to Currys. Having considered the matter overnight, especially my interaction with [the company] yesterday afternoon, my faith in Currys has been restored. It is quite likely that I will deal with Currys again in the future.”

We also got a statement from Currys/PC World in which the company said it was “truly sorry for the issues in organising an exchange for [our reader’s] TV purchase. We have now spoken with our customer to apologise for the inconvenience caused and will refund the full amount due. We have also offered him an additional €100 as a gesture of goodwill to ensure he is satisfied with the outcome.”

Switching confusion

A reader called Aoife had energy on her mind. “My annual ring-around for switching electricity began in early September. I’m currently with Energia but found a better price with SSE Airtricity through [price comparison website],” she writes.

“However, I was happy with Energia and thought I’d ring them to see what they could offer in comparison. After being 25th in line, I finally got through to a helpful human(!) who told me of a tariff not available online and could sign me up. We were about to do so when I was cut off and heard nothing back. I then couldn’t get through on the phone due to wait times, being in work, etc.”

A few days passed and she tried again. “I managed to ring back a few days later and just got through after another wait when boom, I was cut off again. In the meantime I checked to make sure I wouldn’t have to pay any exit fees if I had to switch to Airtricity. advised to wait until the day after my contract ended.”

She was still fairly relaxed about the situation, at least until she went back to a few days later to see the best-value switching tariffs were gone – or at least significantly reduced. “I understand that prices are rising all over the place and that tariffs are regularly changed and updated. However, if Energia hadn’t cut me off twice, I’d have already sorted it and would be on a tariff that’s lower than anything else on offer at the moment. Or maybe they’re all variable no matter what.”

Aoife is not wrong when she says the scale of savings on the table for switchers has been reduced, although it is still worth moving providers, even if the savings are between 10 and 20 per cent rather that the 30-40 per cent that were up for grabs even a couple of months ago.

Power City delivers

And finally, some good news. “I love to give credit when it is due and would be delighted to have Power City acknowledged for what I thought was excellent service,” starts a mail from a reader called Maeve. “When my 12-year-old washing machine stopped working and cleaning the filter didn’t help, I bought a new washing machine from Power City on Sunday, September 18th, to be delivered on Wednesday the 21st. On Monday night, while rechecking that the machine was fully drained for the delivery team, a family member spotted something and after a few attempts removed a paper clip from behind the filter compartment! We turned on the machine and it worked perfectly!”

Maeve immediately emailed Power City “and explained my dilemma, and early the next morning the very pleasant Damien from customer service phoned – having read the email – and said the amount paid would be credited back to my account, he just required the card details. Very impressive service and I will certainly continue to shop at Power City.”