Tescos brushed off our complaint and denied responsibility for damage caused.

The Friday before Christmas we had a big home delivery from Tescos. Just before we got the knock on the door there was a loud clunk followed by a metallic clatter. I got up to answer the door. I asked the delivery man if he’d dropped some thing to which he replied that he had not. He left the first of the boxes and returned to his van to fetch more.

Wondering what then caused the noise I had a look round and saw that one of our cast iron railings and been broken and fallen to the bottom of the basement stairwell. Soon as the driver came back I pointed this out to him to which he shrugged his shoulders and gave a noncommittal reply of ignorance of the fact.

I told him that we’d be contacting Tescos and seeking some recompense for the damage caused. He maintained his disinterest and carried on with the delivery. My wife, Monica, at this point commented that another of our railings had been knocked out in a similar manner by a previous driver. On that occasion Monica had noticed it the day after so did not feel confident in making a claim. Given that it had now happened again we felt it appropriate to share with Tescos that incident and now this one. Monica phoned Tescos Home Delivery Customer Service line straight away. There was nobody that could help that evening, our contact details were taken and Monica was informed that she would be contacted the next day.

Nobody contacted Monica the next day so she phoned again. Monica was put through to the local home delivery depot. They told her to take photos of the damage, get a quote for the repair and together with the photos and a covering letter to contact Tesco Stores Ltd, 1-2 Priory Park, Mills Road, Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7PP. This we did.

Due to nature of the damage it was important that we have it fixed without delay. Without two railings there was a big drop which needed to be made safe. We have 4 children two of which are small enough to go through the gap. Whilst we do as any parent would to keep them safe the chance of them going through the gap could not be ignored. Monica had the railings replaced costing us £120.00; it would have been a lot more if we had them replaced like for like i.e. period scrolled cast iron railings. As it goes all we could afford was square steel railings. It was Christmas after all! We duly sent photos, letter and invoice to Tescos.

Today we got the following letter:

Brush off letter from Tescos shoddy Customer Service Centre

Brush off letter from Tescos shoddy Customer Service Centre

Needless to say we are disappointed with this obvious brush off. I have no idea what force it would take to break the metal apart. I am confident that neither does Sam Relph, Customer Service Manager. I would argue though that the momentum and weight of a carelessly handled fully loaded Tesco home delivery trolley would be perfectly adequate in delivering whatever force was required.

The assertion that the railings were not fit for purpose nor in a safe condition before he collided with them; it seems somewhat presumptuous to make such a judgement without the benefit of physically examining the damage and the condition of the remaining railings. Tescos did not visit to do so.

Furthermore Tecos obvious strategy to avoid responsibility by having in place an inadequate process to reply and respond to such complaints comes over as a cynical manipulation of the busy lives we all lead. No email address in 2012 for correspondence! Who do they think they are kidding!

Curiosity taking the lead a quick search of the term “tescos complaint handling” interestingly comes up with many examples of other dissatisfied customers in relation to how Tescos have handled their complaint, indeed the top ranked search result is a blog seeking to expose their shoddy practice in this area.

Where to go from here? The internet of course. Will it make any difference? I’ll let you know if it does. Please feel free to repost or link to this post (short link here – http://www.monaxle.com/?p=76). In the meantime I suppose it would be fitting for us to boycott Tescos. Of course Tescos won’t  miss our business given the size of the organisation but perhaps they care a little bit more about protecting their reputation. Or not.

10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tescos – Every Little Helps. Helps them that’s for sure! Took us for the tune of £120.00. Have a … | monaxle : blog

    • Im a dot com driver for one of the leading supermarket grocery delivery companies and see quite a lot of this happen as a lot of people are out to claim I myself have been in a so called accident with a car and didn’t even go in the street the car was in lucky that my van had a tracker to verify this and the claimant ended up with fraud charges against them and the same goes with claims for doors carpets and even for bird boxes don’t get me wrong genuine accidents happen but 90% are just made up as they see big company lets put a claim in If the roles where reversed like the times I have cut my hand on people’s gates and doors fallen on their steps and never even thought about putting a claim in when I could have claimed on their house insurance and was able to due to the small print when you place a delivery if you read it there is a clause that states all safety details like clear path etc

  2. Re-complain!!! Its like you said they play on our busy lives. We have had a similar situation where we complained to a big company and were fobbed off with a standard reply. We rang trading standards , got some ‘key phrases’ and wrote again including threat of civil claim combined with boycott. This time we have desired effect. The onus is for Tesco to prove that the gates were unstructurally sound in the first place and this would cost them a lot more then reimbursing you.

    • The railings were clearly faulty, as they should be able to withstand being knocked by a trolley. You should be thankful that the Tesco driver knocked the railings over, thus highlighting the weakness. Better that than the weakness being established by one of your children falling over the edge

  3. Justine and Barnaby both made good points over on Google +.

    Barnaby noted that in the letter it appears there is the admission that their driver colided with the railings.

    Justine quite rightly pointed out that considering the age of the house (circa 1915 ) that the railings were not designed to protect against a small delivery truck driving into it and they are for safety of pedestrians falling down only. They were certainly fit for purpose in that regard.

    I sent Tescos a link to this post last night (25.01/2012). I got an auto reply telling me one of their team will be in touch with a personal response to my query shortly.

    • I got a call from a fella at Tescos just after 5pm this evening. He explained he was calling from the Customer Service Centre but would not be dealing with the matter himself?! The caller told me he’d been sent the message I sent yesterday and asked me what the issue was – was it that I’d been on the receiving end of consistently bad service? He said that he’d got the link to this post but could not open it?! Not a great start.

      I explained what the upset was about and why I had written the post. He was keen to reassure me that the matter was being taken seriously, that Tescos care about their customers and were keen to resolve the issue. He told me that they would be passing the matter on to the groceries team in Aylesford and that I should expect a personal contact soon. I asked that he follow up the call with an email. He confirmed he had my email address – I’ve not yet heard from him yet – I guess it was going home time.

      I’m not filled with confidence. I’m hoping things will get better as they muddle their way through this one.

  4. We had a similar experience on the day we moved house, difference was it was with a Medway Council van. The driver knocked the wing mirror off the Transit my dad had hired for the day, and drove off. I only managed to get the driver to give insurance details by literally chasing his van down the road. You’ve got to love accountability.

    Tesco’s approach is to either fob you off with vouchers, or to do their best to put you off. It might be worth having a chat with trading standards at the council, or the CAB. I find the more legal guff you can put into correspondence with the likes of Tescos, the quicker you get results.

    Oh, and I’m no scientist, but if you drive a f**k-off big van into a single metal railing, it’s more than probable it will break. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion

  5. Cheers Andrew. Hope you got the damage sorted by the council. It was the trolley they use to wheel the boxes in that knocked into the railing. Not quite a van but still packs a punch loaded with groceries!

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