We've been buying from Laithwaites for 15+ years, but I've given up now. We've had some very good experiences. The wines are typically all good and when we've had occasion to fall back on their guarantee they've stood by it (even on a £50 bottle of whisky). Particularly enjoyed visiting their Windsor shop.
In recent years it's to be more of a struggle. They became much more aggressive about the wine club part of their business and were continually trying to get us to subscribe. I understand the business sense, but it marked a distinct change from a customer focus ethos to a recurring revenue focus.
We've also had more than one occasion when we visited the Virginia Water shop with a brochure which had been sent to us to be told that the offers weren't available. We eventually managed to convince them that we (and the brochure) were correct, but its not a great experience. In fairness, my last visit was better in this regard. Although they couldn't supply one of the cases, they offered to send to my home at no charge and did have the other case I wanted.
As others have commented their value has recently deteriorated badly. Until this happened, I'd happily buy any of their mixed cases and know that I'd be happy whether they were everyday drinking wines or something slightly more special. Better value and more reliable than buying elsehwere. Now, the value just doesn't seem to be there.
On top of this, some of the marketing tactics are a getting sharp. We recently received 2x£20 vouchers to get us to "come back" but when we checked out the prices, we found that the prices on the available wines had in some cases been "adjusted" so that the vouchers did not give the face value discount expected. That sort of thing is enough to put me off for good.
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