The headline price seems competitive until you see that postage and "processing" adds £4.99 to the cost - a whopping 74% of the £6.78 price for 100 business cards.
And it's a <external link removed>-style rip-off: the dispatch notice says to expect a secure signed-for delivery service but you get nothing of the sort - just a bog-standard envelope in the regular mail. It cannot have cost them £4.99.
The overall cost is roughly competitive, but this lack of transparency in pricing puts me off them.
This was my second purchase from Barrington Sports, and I am wondering how any of their competitors have managed to stay in business. Running an online retail business doesn't sound that hard - offer low prices, show what's in stock, ship quickly, sort it out if it goes wrong. However, Barrington stands head and shoulders above everyone else in this business who mostly manage to cock it up entirely, and Barrington is now my "go to" retailer for sports equipment and apparel.
Only two real quibbles with this experience: first, my order was shipped in a large heavy duty plastic sack but one of the items (a pair of Oakley sunglasses) got bashed about so much that its cardboard box was very heavily damaged. It was only cosmetic and the goods inside were fine, but if I had wanted to give the item as a gift then I would not have been able to do so. I wrote to Barrington explaining what had happened and got a speedy response indicating that individual Oakley orders were normally shipped in their own small cardboard box and they would take my comments on board.
The second issue is that for many cricket items, such as left handed gloves, they are out of stock long before the end of the season. To be fair, this is not a problem unique to Barrington, but it's frustrating nevertheless. At least with these guys you can tell on the website that there is a stockout, unlike certain other online retailers which take your money for non-existent goods and then refuse to refund.
All in all, I cannot recommend Barrington enough. Pricing is an especially strong point and easy to measure against the competition, but the quality of customer care has to be seen to be believed. Try them first!
I've changed my mind about Pro4sport. My first experience of them was not a positive one. I suffered the same problem as many people on here, back in 2010: goods ordered but not in stock, money taken, no sign of goods, emails ignored, phone never answered, promises of refunds not actioned.... yada yada yada. Eventually I got my money back from the credit card company, after I sent a final warning by recorded delivery which they also ignored even after signing for it. It was a wholly unsavoury experience and, frankly, if it had gone bust I'd have opened champagne and danced on its grave.
Earlier this week I was able to speak to David Adams on the phone after I took up his invitation elsewhere on this site to email him directly and to my immense surprise he responded. David explained that the company had expanded rapidly and had effectively outgrown its largely manual information systems, leading to the kind of stock-out problems that people like me had experienced, and that the system hadn't been sophisticated enough to not charge for all goods at the point of order, even though items weren't then dispatched. It may sound like an excuse, but this sort of stuff does happen in business more often than you think.
David explained that the company has invested in new systems which should prevent a lot of this happening, and indeed the recently revamped website does appear to be much more representative of the company's ability to fulfil orders.
He was unable to explain away the human element of all the problems I had - emails being ignored, verbal promises made but not actioned etc - which make up the bulk of frustration in situations like this. However, I can report that these issues are now very much on his agenda and he does seem to be committed to sorting them out.
David also invited me to test the revamped Pro4sport with another order, which I did. I'm pleased to say that the goods arrived next day, just as ordered.
Pro4sport is capable of providing a good service, but clearly many people experience problems which then snowball out of control. David is now, finally, very much aware of this and does seem committed to resolving those issues. To everyone who moans about how specialist sports retailers have been driven out of business by the likes of JJB and Sports Direct, Pro4sport is the type of business we should be supporting.
Would I buy from them again? In areas where their prices are competitive, yes, I probably would - but with a very short span of patience. It's something of a shame that they are now focusing their business in activities where I don't have much of an interest, but if I ever need stuff they do sell I will certainly consider them, something I never thought I'd say a week ago.
I have no connection to Pro4sport other than as a customer.
I ordered 12 items from these people - 11 bits of Kookaburra cricket kit and one pair of Oakley sunglasses. All items were marked in blue on their website, which means "available now - immediate delivery."
It was a week before they despatched the order - on a Friday, so it took a further two days (ten in total). When the parcel arrived it contained only ten items, and two of those were differently-branded substitutes: Adidas abdo guard and Puma wicketkeeping gloves in place of the Kookaburra items.
Of the two outstanding items, with "to follow" handwritten on the consignment note, one is also easily substitutable. The other is the Oakley sunglasses. I called to ask what was going on and was told that they were waiting for a delivery, which suggests that the bit on the website where it said "available now - immediate delivery" next to the items in question was not entirely true. I was promised an investigation and a call back today. I'm not holding my breath; I have a bad feeling about this company.
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