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Homebase and Sports Direct among worst retailers for customer service

Written by: Emma Lunn
JD Sports, The Range, Funky Pigeon, Scan, Appliances Direct, Debenhams and Carphone Warehouse also scored poorly in a Which? survey to discover the best and worst online retailers for resolving customer complaints.

The poll looked at how online retailers performed when dealing with customer issues during the pandemic.

Which? questioned more than 5,000 UK consumers who had issues with their order and contacted a customer service team between March 2020 and March 2021.

Homebase, Sports Direct, JD Sports, The Range, Funky Pigeon, Scan, Appliances Direct, Debenhams and Carphone Warehouse all scored just one star out of five for overall customer service.

One in five of the Homebase customers Which? surveyed who experienced issues with their order said they were unlikely to shop with the retailer again and one in 10 said their issue was not resolved or they were not offered a solution at all.

Carphone Warehouse also performed poorly. One in four customers who told Which? that they had an issue with it said they were incorrectly charged or billed during the pandemic.

Shockingly, three in 10 of Carphone Warehouse customers Which? surveyed who experienced problems with their order said they felt the mobile phone retailer did not believe their issue was genuine when they complained, while one in five said they did not feel fairly treated.

Which? found delivery fails were pain points for The Range and Sports Direct’s customers.

One The Range customer said: “I had to keep chasing them for my order and they had no interest in helping me.” Another customer told the consumer champion they “seemed slightly annoyed, and would only offer store credit at first.” The Range said it will be reviewing its processes following Which?’s findings.

One Sports Direct customer described their service as “unhelpful and unaccommodating,” another complained they had been sent a completely different product to what they had ordered and only been offered a voucher in return.

At the other end of the scale, Marks and Spencer and Screwfix topped Which?’s survey with five stars across the board.

Almost nine in 10 (86%) of Marks and Spencer customers claimed they were happy with the solution offered to their problem. Screwfix had the highest percentage of customers who said their issue was resolved within just 24 hours, and nine out of 10 said they were likely to continue shopping with Screwfix when restrictions are lifted.

Amazon also performed well, receiving five stars in four of the five categories and four stars for overall customer service.

Delivery dramas proved rife across the board. Three in 10 people who told Which? they experienced an issue with an online retailer during the pandemic complained of missing or delayed deliveries, and one in five struggled to return unwanted items or faulty products.

Two-thirds of those surveyed managed to come to an agreeable solution with the online retailer in question, but a significant minority said they were not happy with the outcome. Worse still, one in 10 said their issue has not been resolved or they have not been offered a solution at all.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “The pandemic saw some of the best and worst of customer service. But with online shopping now becoming the norm, we should get the same level of customer service when shopping online as when shopping in a store.

“When it comes to spending our hard-earned cash online it is essential we know which retailers we can trust to put right anything that goes wrong.

“With the extraordinary growth in online shopping set to continue as we emerge from the pandemic, retailers who are falling short must up their game to make sure no one is left frustrated and out of pocket because of bad customer service.”

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