On the 18th of December, I ordered a telephone from simplyelectronics.net, based on their guarantee that it would be delivered in time for Christmas. When it had not arrived on the 22nd of December and still appeared on the website as "processing" I e-mailed them expressing my concern that their guarantee would not be fulfilled. The following day, having received no response, I phoned the company, and after an hour or two of waiting managed to speak to a customer service agent who told me it didn't look like I would be getting my item on time but she would try to get it sent in the next batch. After some coaxing, she agreed to call me back within an hour. She did not do this so I called back and was told that in fact I wouldn't be getting the item on time. The agent was unable or unwilling to explain why this was the case, or what were the terms of the guarantee I had been given. She refused my request to send the item by overnight delivery despite the fact that this was the last chance to fulfill the guarantee. I asked for a supervisor but was told that none was available but one would ring me back within an hour. This never happened and by the time I called back their office had already closed.
In the meantime I received an email response from the company, apologising for the "slight delay" in the order and was told thatI could probably expect to receive it "after the holidays". Again, I requested overnight delivery and again my request was ignored.
The next response I received was on the 28th of December where I was told it would probably be despatched the following Wednesday and was offered a free cleaning kit if this would somehow help.
Despite the appalling service I had received up to this point I agreed to accept delivery of the order if it was sent immediately by overnight delivery. This did not happen and I received no response so the following day I cancelled the order and requested a refund.
The following day - as a direct response to my cancellation e-mail - I was told it was scheduled to be despatched that day and would be sent by overnight delivery. I reiterated that I no longer wanted it and had already cancelled the order.
A day later (31st December if you're lost), I was told it had already been packed and they may not be able to get in touch with the courier company to prevent it being sent (yes, really!). I was told to refuse delivery and that when they received it back a refund would be processed. I requested an immediate refund as I had already been waiting almost two weeks and they had taken my money under the false pretences of having the item in stock and being able to deliver it in a timely manner.
I continued to request an immediate refund while they continued to tell me that they had to wait until the item was returned. Later the same day I received a cheery email telling me my item had been sent. However, this was also a lie.
By the 4th of January, I still had not received the item and demanded an immediate refund. The company continued to insist that they could only process a refund after receiving the item back from the courier. As they had taken my money before sending the item, I knew that this was not the case. Further, as the item sent by overnight delivery had not arrived after four days and the courier company (DHL) had no record of it, I realised that this went beyond simple incompetence.
On the advice of many of the negative reviews of this company, I e-mailed their customer services manager requesting her to sort out the mess immediately. However, unlike some of the other reviewers, I received no better treatment from her. After three days I had received no response and phoned the company again. After waiting almost three hours to get through to a representative I was told that the matter was being dealt with. I asked for either an immediate refund or to speak to a supervisor. Both were denied. After almost an hour on the phone where I refused to end the call, I was eventually allowed to speak to a supervisor who told me that on the day the item was allegedly despatched there were problems with DHL tracking numbers. She then told me the matter was being dealt with by another department and I could expect to receive an email within an hour. This is the only time that someone from this company told me something that turned out to be true; I received an email (from the manager's email address but not from the manager) with another empty apology, and a request to allow a few more days for them to sort out the problem with DHL. I refused this as I had no contract with DHL and had in fact cancelled the order two full days before it was supposedly sent. I requested an immediate response to the effect that I would get a full refund. No response was forthcoming.
Three days later, the manager finally deigned to respond to me. She explained that there was a technical issue with her email as if this somehow explained something, and then declared that I had now received the item and she hoped I was enjoying it -and that I had enjoyed my experience so far.
After my response threatening immediate legal reprisals I finally got confirmation that a refund was being processed, and today, over a month since I made the order and a full three weeks since I cancelled it, I finally got my money back.
I generally live by the maxim: "Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence" but I find it hard to explain this mess away as mere incompetence. Certainly the guarantee of delivery by Christmas was made in bad faith, the company simply had no intention of fulfilling this obligation. The fact that my credit card was charged before the item was despatched was certainly immoral and probably illegal. The fake tracking number I was given is very difficult to explain as anything other than deliberate fraud. It does appear that on occasion this company does deliver items as ordered but this seems to be a rare occurrence. If what I experienced was at all unusual I would have received more than empty apologies and false promises but it seems to be par for the course with this company.
As a result of my unfortunate dealings with this company my Christmas was very nearly ruined (fortunately the intended recipient was very understanding and I purchased a replacement from Amazon which arrived promptly) and I had to spend a considerable amount of time and money sorting out their mess. This is the worst company I have ever dealt with in over a decade of online shopping. Stay away from them! Pay a little extra for a reputable company that values its customers.