I ordered a book from this on- line bookseller. My order was accepted, credit card debited, only for me to get an email saying the book had been returned damaged and refunding my money. They were selling it for much less than other sellers. I had never received the book, much less returned it. I was then given some cock-and-bull story about Royal Mail having returned it damaged - within 2 business days!!!
I believe that hey realised that they were selling too cheap, broke the contract and will re advertise the book at a higher price.
In hindsight the operation is clearly aimed at the caterer, with large quantities on offer. The retail customer seems to get a poor deal. My first order was delivered promptly with loads of bubble packing of one size or another. The jars were all intact. However, 3/6 cans were badly dented (in places that couldn't have come from their place in transit). To my mind, they picked dented cans to send. Ok - but is it the way to get a first-time buyer to return? I also ordered a kilo of tortilla flour which arrived with a best before date of just over a week! How am I going to make that many tortillas in a week unless I open a restaurant.
The response to my phone call about the problems with the order was very condescennding. I shall look elsewhere for Mexican groceries.
This company makes a range of outdoor furniture, ready-made or made-to-measure in a range of timbers and offer a design service. We bought a raised salad planter in larch. It is beautifully solid and strong and, in its first season, has produced crop after crop of salad leaves. They are pleasant people to deal with and I will certainly use them again.
Their ham has become a Christmas staple and we've had one for the last six or seven years. I'm not sure it lives up to their "best ham you've ever eaten" claim compared with a really good prosciutto or Iberico but it is good. I've also had good smoked salmon, pies and potted shrimp from them over the years. Their piccalilli is the best I've ever tasted. Sausages and bacon may be good but are shockingly expensive. Nothing from them is cheap but it all has been reliably good with stuff delivered on time, even in bad winters.
Rapid, safe delivery of everything in multiple orders. Good quality bird food, well priced. A wide variety of wild-life foods and accessories. Superb company
I placed my first order for an introductory pack, which should have contained "2 x 6-7oz Irish Rump Steaks". And there they were on the invoice, top of the list - yum yum! Also included in the box was a flyer telling me that they've upgraded their packing systems (from what?) so that "We now know exactly what products we've sent you - we even know what order we've packed them in! Before we release your order: we scan every item individually into the box. We weigh every parcel and record the weight. TWO of our operators have manually checked every item has been packed. How does this help you? Well quite simply it means that your order will be spot-on every time..." There is even twee checklist, printed on a brown paper bag and starting with "Have a nose in your box and grab all your yummy produce." And continuing with "Decide and put aside (out of any pesky pets reach) what your you're having for tea and stash the rest of the grub in the fridge/freezer (delete where applicable)".
We'd decided before the box arrived what we were having for tea - Irish rump steaks on the barbie. Back from work, rummage eagerly through the box, find everything we were going to keep cold but no steaks! So, car back out of the garage, up the road to the supermarket (the farm shop butcher is closed by now) to buy whatever steak they've got left at 6:30.
There are spaces for the two checkers' initials on the invoice but no signatures on ours.
Ring Westin Gourmet the next morning, listen to twee pre-recorded message that I'm paying to listen to before finally getting a human, who initially seems not to believe that I haven't got my steaks and goes off to check. He comes back on the line and says that their butchers had run out of Irish rump steak, so sent boxes out without it. They'll refund the money (but doesn't say how much). They get it right 95% of the time (not the 100% that their flyer claims).
The stuff that DID arrive looks mostly ok but the chicken is tiny (no way £15 worth) and the steak mince is way fattier than anything I would buy in a supermarket or butcher. I am not inclined to use Westin Gourmet again.
Why did they not substitute 2 of the many other kinds of steak they (pretend?) to sell? According to their website the self-same steaks are in stock. Why did they not delay delivery until they had the goods and let me know? They had emailed to say when the box was arriving: why did they not add "And by the way, the naughty naughty gremlins have stolen the Irish steak", or something similarly twee to complement the rest of their image?
Their twee-twee image is irritating, particularly from a company that exists to supply bits of dead animal to caterers and the public.
I don't want to take a one-in-twenty risk that stuff I'd planned on cooking was not going to turn up and Westin Gourmet wasn't going to bother letting me know. The guy on the phone gave as an excuse that they send out 400 boxes a day. That means they send out 20 "wrong" boxes a day if his 95% right figure is correct. It's no wonder it takes so long to get through on the phone!
Selling mostly Chinese made goods from their base in Luxembourg at high prices (particularly via Amazon) they offer particularly poor and haughty "customer service" via email. My experience of buying a component for £20:00 that turned out to be something that, although branded as "German" goods was made in China and would have sold for £3:00-£5:00 on a market stall or local electronic shop. They didn't give a d*mn when contacted. I would recommend avoiding any temptation to do business with them.
Recovering from a serious illness I ordered two raised toilet seats for home use, based on the illustration, which shows a seat 4-5" deep (I would estimate). The order was placed over the internet a week before I was due to be discharged home. 5 days later, while still in hospital, I got a phone call from a woman claiming to be from Betterlife, asking for my credit card details. The call was difficult to understand because her voice was painfully amplified and was intermittently drowned out by the voices of her colleagues dealing with other customers (not all happy by the sound of things). It took a long time to persuade her to give me enough details of the order to ensure it wasn't a phishing scam. My wife unpacked and installed the seats before I came home. They are a fraction the height shown in the photo and useless for my needs. The specs do show a height of only 2" but the picture is of a different product - misleading. Deliberately so? Of, course, now unpacked and installed they are not returnable and replacements difficult to get at a weekend - leaving me struggling. £40+ "down the pan". Would not shop with Lloyds Pharmacy/ Bettalife again.
Ordered large cupboard. Was assured that delivery would be to room where wanted. Delivery time as agreed but driver and mate would not be persuaded to deliver to first floor room intended. Now sitting on a landing half-way up waiting for my son-in-law to recover from tonsillitis and find another volunteer to move it. Still in its packing so it does not get damaged during move.
Would not use Made.com again.
Ordered a charger for USB DEVICES 11/12/12 £60:00+. Apparently in-stock and "posted" at a cost of £6:99 the following day. 8 days after order, no sign of the goods and no tracking information provided 8 days after the order. Website now showing goods out of stock and no support from Gameseek, other than to say that the goods have been posted. Subsequent friendly email exchange with Gameseek, in which they confirmed that the device had been posted "unregistered, unsigned for" (odd for a piece of kit costing £65:00). They asked my son's age and size and offered to send a gift selected from their stock to arrive before Christmas. I told them that he was 36, 6'1" and played games on a PC and/or Mac, a games console (but I was blowed if I knew whether it was an Xbox, PS3 or Wii) and that he hated "shootemups" but I did not not know what he had or did not have. I was left to believe that a "rescue" present would be sent by signed-for post in time for Christmas but nothing arrived. Fortunately, the charger dropped through the letterbox on Christmas Eve.
Mixed review. The gadget ordered was about the right price and was the only one in stock anywhere on the Internet when I looked. It was posted reasonably promptly (if I believe the seller) but at high cost (£6:99 for "standard" postage) at Christmas. It was light and, according to the Royal Mail website, would have cost only another 56p to post "next day, signed-for" . However, no expedited option was available on the seller's website.
The email support was very friendly BUT they undertook to send a replacement gift of equivalent value to arrive before Christmas so my son had something to unwrap. Nothing arrived.
So, I got what I wanted, just about in time. The carriage options are limited (and in this case expensive) and do not include expedited delivery. On-line support is glib but ultimately useless.
Rob Stokes found this review useful
In the UK they trade as balsamhill.co.uk, with a UK phone number and British voices in their call centre. In fact, they are incorporated in the US and therefore beyond the reach of Trading Standards, while breaching the UK distance selling regulations and the Sale of Goods Act. They flood the web with viral advertising, so that you have to trawl through 100s of their web addresses to find consumer sites that tell the true story of shoddy goods, lousy customer service, failure to accept returns, refusal to abide by their warranty. Their website advertises a perpetual "Sale" with 40% off and a Monday midnight deadline, its title changes throughout the year but the site never has (so far as I can see) a "normal" price. If they were a UK company Trading Standards would take action against them. However, they are not a UK company so they can continue to fake a "Sale", impose terms and conditions that rob you of your rights to return goods under the Distance Selling Regulations and the Sale of Goods Act and sell an inferior product. Based on my contact with their customer "service" department and my reading of on- line reviews (excluding those on their own website, all *****), or on Facebook, (where they seem to delete negative contributions) I would never buy from them in future. Advice from Trading Standards is to buy (if you must but i would advise against it) using a credit card and (if your purchase is more than £100) use section 75 to claim from the card issuer, who is jointly liable with the supplier for faulty goods. If you want to enjoy a hassle-free Christmas, don't buy from Balsam Hill
Judith Barrett found this review useful
Bought my wife Hermes "Un Jardin sur le Nil". The price was so much lower than some other sellers that I was half expecting a fake. I was wrong, it was the real stuff, delivered promptly at an unbeatable price.
Repeated the exercise a year late with the same excellent result.
The ordering and delivery process works well. Very friendly, very helpful East Europen delivery drivers (hence 2*, otherwise I'd give 1*). The furniture mostly looked ok on delivery, although I was concerned about the very pronounced grain pattern on two pieces, suspecting they would mean trouble. I contacted the company but was told that the appearance would improve with time.
What has happened us that, after only two months, large and unsightly splits have appeared in precisely the areas I was worried about, threatening the integrity of two pieces of furniture. A bit has already, quite literally, fallen off one chair and a bench has large splits running into joints.
When I contacted to complain I was told that this was a result of the "unusually hot summer" - in 2012 - in the Northeast!!?? This line changed later to "it's part of the natural ageing process"
I've been offered repairs, taking an unspecified period of time, rather than replacement. I have absolutely no faith that I've invested in durable garden furniture. I suspect (and so does the joiner of 40+ years who is currently working at the house) that it will be on a bonfire within 5 years. As the saying goes, "If it seems to good to be true - it IS too good to be true!"
My other concern and guilt trip is that they make a nod towards ethically-sourced timber on their website but say that they cannot source enough to meet their demands. Draw your own conclusions.
As far as I can gather the furniture is manufactured in the far East. Other manufacturers keep UK carpenters in employment but charge you for it. Another potential guilt trip.
Clean, well-laid out stores. Reasonable value but, in attempting to compete with the Sainsburys and Tescos they've lost their USP of hard-to-find ingredients. For example, they used to sell unusual cuts of beef, which seem to have disappeared from the butcher's counters I've seen in local stores and in the SouthWest in recent weeks.
My local Waitrose ran out of salad greens a few weeks ago at 3:00p.m. On a Friday. No apologies, just a chain of blame. That said, they seem to have learned the lesson and it's not happened since.
Not quite the "must-go-to" grocery destination it used to be
You can buy on-line but their stores are the best place to get advice from young staff. They were once wine merchants and only allowed to sell by the case. They kept this pretence going for quite a time after becoming off-licences but now sell a minimum of 6 bottles of wines or spirits (company policy) this means you need a car, strong arms or a local store that will deliver only 6.
Good selection of wines at (mostly) good prices, especially if on offer. Sadly, no longer the quirky bargains that used to arise when they bought, for example, much of the Swedish national wine cellar. Wines on taste every day but not necessarily the ones you would want to taste. Fine Wines in some stores and those without a Fine Wine section will order them for you.
If your local store is out of a certain wine they will try to get it from the centre or from nearby branches.
Also beers, spirits, soft drinks, glasses loan service.
The next best thing to a proper local wine merchant. If you've got one near you - use it
Good on-line delivery service (or click and collect if you have a local JL or participating Waitrose) own-label stuff good value.
I've never had a problem replacing damaged or unsuitable goods ordered over the Internet.
Read the small print on their "Never knowingly undersold" claim. I've often been able to find things more cheaply on line (they won't meet or beat these prices). For TVs they boast a "Free 5-Year Guarantee" but I've been able to buy the same TV a couple of times for less, with the opportunity to upgrade the guarantee for a cost that made the total cost less than the JL price. In any case, English consumer law gives you the right to expect a reasonable trouble-free life from durable goods. For an expensive electronic device, such as a TV this would be expected to be more than 12 or 24 months. Sadly, in my experience, JL will squeal and dissemble if you claim this
Ive been buying from them for years and have no complaints about their service. I'm disabled and struggle to shop in store so I've used them extensively.
I've had items not arrive and replaced very promptly. I've returned faulty or unsuitable items without problem. I've had disputes with intransigent Marketplace sellers and Amazon have always refunded my money.
The problems with them are several.
Amazon prices can often be beaten, not least because the postal costs they impose on their Marketplace sellers are high. You can often buy more cheap,y direct from an Amazon Marketplace Seller
Bought on-line having failed to speak to a salesman at my local store (Jesmond/Shieldfield). Victorian-style radiator/towel rail was badly manufactured and none of the joints were straight. Phoned the local store (why, for an on-line purchase?) cos that's what you say you have to do. Got a salesman who refused to accept my word for the fact that the goods were faulty. I told him that my (very experienced) builder and plumber said it was unusable but he was having none of it. "bring it in to the showroom". I told him I could not carry it and suggested that he come and look at it (we live about 500 yds from the showroom). Ooh, I can't " for insurance purposes". Told him that I was rejecting the goods as "not fit for purpose" and asked him to arrange collection. "Send a photo" (no please). I refused. My builder and plumber took it to the showroom. He accused them of putting it together badly (it arrived assembled). They put him straight and told him they were leaving it with him and wanted a receipt, which he initially refused. Eventually they got a receipt. I phoned later to ask about a replacement. No apology at any time for the fact that the goods were faulty, that I had been inconvenienced or that tradesmen whose time I was paying for had had to cart it to the showroom. Who knows if the replacement will be any better.
The showroom staff seem to know nothing about plumbing or building; nothing about how the goods they sell arrive at the customer's house. They certainly know nothing of manners or how to apologise to a customer that they have let down.
Would I buy from them again? I'd sooner boil my eyeballs!
Many interesting items with high prices. One item bought and broke within weeks, despite its high price. Manufactum refused to contemplate refund or replacement until they received photos of the faulty goods "for their quality control department". Having received the photos they will not send a replacement until the broken and faulty goods are returned to them at my expense. Although pretending a UK base, they are German and clearly do not abide by the sale of goods act, nor the distance trading regulations. Very different approach to the repalcement of/refund for faulty goods than any UK company with whom I have dealt in recent years. Have bought from them over 7-8 years. Never again!
Their goods are cheap and not quite shoddy. Delivery times are appalling but they claim (for two orders 2 years apart) "warehouse reconfiguraion" as an excuse. No surcharge for big sizes. Cheap and cheerful if you are fat but squat. If fat and tall, do not expect their shirts to be long enough. If you want clothes for a holiday next month, for God's sake don't order from them. If you have 6 months and don't mind the world knowing that you are a cheapskate (sorry - appreciate a bargain) with "Cotton Traders" embroidered over your lewft tit - go for it!!
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