In March, I asked FC how long it would take to fulfil an order for 8 aniline leather dining chairs. They confirmed that the 6-8 weeks advertised on the website was accurate. I placed the order based on this information.
At the end of April, I had not heard anything about the progress of the order so as it was approaching the 8 weeks "maximum" time, I e-mailed them for an update. I received this response:
"We have got an update on your order for the manufacturers and they have said the delivery week to you will most likely be the beginning of June.
We will keep you updated on any further progress."
I responded that this was disappointing, given that I had specifically checked the accuracy of the advertised time. I added that it was doubly disappointing that I had had to chase for the update-FC had not made any attempt to contact me to tell me that the order was delayed.
Following this, my trust in them was damaged so having heard nothing further, I double checked with them on 12 May (9 weeks since the order was placed) that we were still on for a June delivery. I received this response to that e-mail:
"Having contacted them further, they are now informing us that the chairs you have ordered are not now expected to be available to deliver until the first week in July, and I appreciate this now means a further delay."
Once again, I expressed disappointment that I had had to chase to find out news of yet another delay. FC had made no attempt to keep on top of the manufacturer or to keep me updated with progress of my order.
I asked them whether they could offer any guarantee of the July date or this charade could carry on forever. I received this response:
"The manufacturers seem positive that they can supply the chairs at the beginning of July, however, after this incident I do not want to guarantee this, as we are in the hands of the manufacturers and they have only given me this as an estimated date, which I appreciate isn’t ideal."
I have had to buy some temporary chairs as we really needed some for an important event in June. I explained this to FC and asked whether they were prepared to offer a discount or something in recognition of the inconvenience, poor service etc. FC offered me £20 - on an order value of over £1600, this was nothing short of an insult, although if they had shown any inclination to pull out all the stops for a July date, I may have bitten my lip and gone with it.
In the event, I asked for an immediate refund of the full amount which they had been sitting on since March-would rather have had it in my bank account so there's another cost. The refund was put through straight away so no complaints there but what an ordeal.
Despite FC claiming that their prices were highly competitive (hence the insulting 1% discount offered as goodwill gesture), I have been lucky enough to stumble across a local firm who are able to fulfil the order within a fortnight, delivery already arranged and for a little bit less than FC.
Never again-I only hope my experience can help to inform others' decisions and avoid the same sort of hassle for other people. I didn't mind the delay so much as the lack of any action from FC so that I was having to chase all the time. Not my idea of customer service.
Obviously can't comment on the product itself as I never received it.
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Many thanks for taking the trouble to leave this extremely valuable feedback and your comments are duly noted.
Firstly, as I have expressed during our our telephone conversation, and also at length in my e-mails to you, I apologise profusely for the delays you have experienced with your order for the Country Rollback Aniline Leather Chairs. I am however a little disappointed that you appear to have copied into this feedback excerpts from the e-mails received from me, but have neglected to include my sincere apologies which were expressed within the body of these.
Please note that the chairs you ordered are a made-to-order product and are usually supplied and delivered direct from the manfacturer. At the time you placed your order with us, we had no reason whatsoever to believe that they would not be able to supply the chairs within the 6-8 week guideline as shown on our website. Indeed, the supplier did not advise that there was likely to be a delay in fulfilling your order, until the end of this 6-8 week period. Whilst the suppliers have confirmed they did not expect such a delay either, I have certainly expressed strongly my dissatisfaction that they did not highlight to us at any time that there would be a problem meeting our target delivery date advertised by us.
I appreciate that the delay you experienced has caused severe inconvenience and I am very sorry that we have let you down. Whilst it is no comfort to you, I can give you my assurance that your experience of our company is extremely rare, and that the lead times shown on our website are indeed usually very accurate.
Once again, I am sorry for the upset this has caused and if you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me again.