I was in the market for a remote controlled LED dimmer switch from Varilight, and after browsing the Internet for the best price I came across The Internet Electrical Store, which forms part of The Internet Retailer chain.
I placed an order on 15/01/13 at 18:57. The website seemed a little slow at processing the payment but it eventually went through and I received confirmation of the order shortly after by e-mail. At 19:02, I received a confirmation that the order had been despatched, of which I was suitably impressed by and felt reassured that I had chosen a reputable retailer.
On 16/01/13, I received an e-mail stating my order was waiting processing and that I would receive another e-mail once it had been despatched. Confused by the conflicting e-mails, I contacted the retailer to enquire about the status of my order, to which I was told there were two orders on their system and one had definitely been despatched. I reported that I had no knowledge of the second order and that this must have been an error, to which I was told this would be passed to the accounts team to investigate.
On 18/01/13, I received delivery of my order. I immediately noticed the packaging had been altered (the model number had been crossed-out and amended by pen) and it was obvious the item had been previously used due to the collection of paint and plaster residue on it. I reported this and provided photographic evidence of my findings. I received an e-mail apologising and confirmation that a replacement was despatched that day along with a returns jiffy bag for the faulty item.
The estimated delivery time was 1-3 working days via Royal Mail, but due to the weather I left this a week before having to contact them to report that the replacement had not arrived. I was told there was nothing they could do as a replacement had been despatched and I would have to wait the minimum of 15 days because they could not claim from Royal Mail until after this. I requested advice on how I could return the faulty item as I had no jiffy bag, only to be told I would have to wait for the replacement to arrive.
After waiting 15 days I still had not received the replacement, and after taking advice from CAB, I contacted the retailer to request a full refund of any monies paid and for them to take back the faulty item. They responded with a link to print a returns form which stated they would reimburse the cost of return postage to a maximum of £5.00. I returned the item via 2nd Class Recorded Delivery as requested on 09/02/13 and on 12/02/13 I received confirmation that a refund had been issued.
I’m waiting for this to appear on my bank statement and will update once this has happened...
Now, you remember that I mentioned there were two orders on their system? Well, I never received any communication from their accounts department despite calling the number provided numerous times, but the amount is identical to the first order indicating a duplicate had occurred. Today, 13/02/13, I received an e-mail stating this order had been despatched. It’s been almost a month since I reported the transaction was an error and it’s quite obvious they’ve never bothered to investigate. They simply needed to cancel the order.
I contacted the retailer today to report this and to request any monies paid to be refunded in full, and just like before, I’ve been told this has been forwarded to their accounts team…I’m not holding my breath. I’m lucky enough to work for Trading Standards and will take great pleasure in personally heading the investigation in to this retailer if I do not hear from them with an acceptable resolution within the next 7 days.
I’ll keep you posted, but I would strongly avoid this retailer in the future.
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