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Member Name: D1A1
Date: 05/08/01, updated on 05/08/01 (2022 review reads)
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Right, beware – I will not hold back any anger or hatred now as Empire Direct really should have thought about researching ‘how to become a business’ before starting theirs. Please accept my apologies if I end up offending anyone with foul or abusive language, I shall **** anything out if I do feel the need to swear my f***in’ fingers off. Ahem. Right, straight down to it, Empire Direct is the worst online store, in fact the worst company or business that I’ve had the misfortune of buying something from in my entire lifetime. Empire Direct suck, and they suck big time – without remorse. You may well have ordered from them and had no problems at all, which is great for you, or maybe it isn’t – the earlier you have a problem, the earlier you’ll learn how pathetic they are with dealing with the problem, thus you’ll know sooner to stay well away from them. Please read this if you’re considering buying anything online in the near future.
Having previously had no problems whatsoever with them after ordering a Panasonic hi-speed VCR, bar the order status query (they took a while to ship it), I thought I’d return to them, they seemed to be a decent enough place to buy electrical items from, and to be fair they do stock a lot of televisions, hi-fis, portable music players, games consoles, basically anything Japanese, made in Taiwan. Attracted by critical acclaim hurled at them from DVD magazines and Shopsmart.com – I was immediately impressed by their pricing, although you will have to pay a fair amount of postage and packaging, you will save a lot on high street prices, but as I unfortunately found out, the price I paid, was not so much in sterling. I needed a wide-screen television - well at least that’s what I felt like purchasing, so I did.
After purchasing a Hitachi 24inch Nicam wide screen from Comet, costing £349.99, (model no. C24W411TN), I hadn’t been careful
enough – this television had colouration problems, and Comet, to their credit stuck to their “2 time tried, tested unsolved” problem returns policy, giving a full refund. Bad Hitachi, ok Comet – but this model costs £307 on Empire Direct? That’s over 10% on high street. So, I was now prepared to spend a little more, knowing that I’d save a decent amount if I bought online, so looking around the high street stores – in John Lewis especially. The only appealing model was the next stage up on my previous Hitachi, the Digital Spatial Dolby surround sound “3DS” (model no. C24W511TN), which had a stylish champagne colour, with a nice console deluxe two shelved stand. This was where I made the biggest mistake, but hey – hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it?
The television was around £500 in John Lewis, but I knew I could get it for less than £400, after p & p, on Empire Direct, so my high street traipsing would conclude, and I would order online that night. So, my mistake – ignoring past advice and experience: the engineer from comet who came out twice to see the previous television was raving about Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic, saying that Hitachi was a mid range television, ok fine, but I had already found out that television tubes were in a worldwide shortage, hmmm, and of course I had had the awful colouration trouble on that Hitachi television. But, I ordered – way back in march, over 4 and ½ months ago, paying £392.99 for the television, after Postage and packaging. The saga was about to kick into action, let’s recap now…
The television arrived on a Saturday with the somewhat mad looking ‘Amtrax’ delivery person telling me that one of the boxes had not been sent to him, so he only gave me one. I was given a number to phone if that second box didn’t arrive on the monday. So, half excitedly opening the large Hitachi box I found that at least
I had been sent the significant part first, for hopefully the stand would arrive soon. That night I thought I’d watch Gladiator on DVD – having not seen it at the cinema, I really wanted to watch this epic film, so I set the television on the floor, connected up the DVD player and watched, brilliant picture quality, ouch, bad neck, superb film – no problems.
Monday came, and went, without the stand bothering to show up – so I phoned the number, was told the stand should be with me by the end of the week. Great…Anyway, for that week I didn’t have any real problems, aside from a lack of console deluxe stand. The stand didn’t arrive that week, so I phoned up empire direct again, and waited, waited and waited just to speak to a human voice – I am not a great believer of automated voices, but nonetheless had a rant at one anyway, it would never beat me in an argument anyway. So, after an hour’s discussing topical issues with the computer voices and intermittent drab classical music, I finally spoke to the rarity that is a human voice, hopefully coming from a human person – and live (what an exclusive)!! I was fobbed off with some excuse that my stand had been lost somewhere and that another would be sent as soon as possible. Ok then…bare in mind, this is national rate call costs, my tiny talk here cannot begin to justify the anger and frustration that was about to develop and unleash itself…
A couple of days later my fear had become a realisation, and this brand new, could have cost £500, television set had started to show those colouration problems – blue patches to the left, yellow to the right (here I am stuck in…), ‘sigh’, I took the television to different locations in the house – maybe it was the area that was causing this? But no, the colouration continued, intermittently. The television was meant to be for upstairs, so I moved it downstairs in
the lounge, more space – and a table for it to sit on, right – I contacted Empire Direct again, explained the situation, again waiting an unacceptable time to speak to a staff member, and was told that an engineer would come and check the television out. By this stage I still hadn’t received the stand, things were not good - stress was showing, I wasn’t the happiest of customers.
‘Engineers’ arrived, hadn’t a clue about televisions or anything, but seeing as the fault on the television was intermittent, it kindly didn’t show up when they were there, but at this point in time photographic evidence had not yet been taken. They said it could be from the speakers, said they could degauss it, but seeing as the television was brand new, I wasn’t too pleased about that, and basically they just fobbed me off with excuses, didn’t seem professional at all, arrived late, and couldn’t help. Phoned Empire Direct again, no stand still, problem had developed – screen started to jump, like it was continually trying to adjust itself. They arranged to have it collected, so I accompanied the television with some photographic evidence, clearing showing the fault in all it’s glory, along with a letter of explanation of why it was going back. Am I boring you yet? (WAKE UP!!), right, sorry about this – just trying to make sure I get everything in the correct order…
A month had passed, no stand had arrived, the stand would probably be around £50 - £75 of the television price, after waiting a week without contact – Empire Direct had to be phoned, and waited for yet again, and asked where my stand and television had gotten to. I was told that no fault was found, and that the television would be returned and a stand sent out as soon as possible, with no explanation as to why I hadn’t received it before. No apologies, nothing. The television did return, same dodgy looking Am
trax driver, (he won’t be reading this – he looks like Keith Chegwin Scrunched up, is impossible to understand and laughed far too loudly at a ‘joke’ he made, of course I didn’t understand what he was on about, oh well) and the fault was still there. Ah… I’m boring myself writing this, but I’ll get to the good part soon!
6 weeks after paying them my hard earned cash, the stand finally arrived, hoorah! But at this stage, the television had gone back for a second time, as the fault had not gone, more photos had been taken and provided – they’d been taken out before (stolen!), without word as to why, and I this problem was becoming stupid. I now have a stand, which I kept in the box until the television would return. Anyway, to cut a horribly long story short – the television went back to Bradford (Empire Direct is based there) around 5 times, without conclusion, Hitachi engineers couldn’t do anything, I think the TV was on the testing shelf for about a month, I was losing any sanity that I may have had before this nightmare, and my phone bill was racking up big time, and Empire Direct were about as useful as rotten wood, actually, less useful. Although, at least I haven’t had any problems with rotten wood for me to be able to get my own back on! See, I’m losing my mind here!! Help me!
OK. So, Hitachi/Empire, I forget – one or the other, wanted video-graphic evidence, i.e. using a video camera, so I obliged, but in the end it was not actually used for proof of this evil flaw in the wide screen TV. Time for letters to go out – one for Hitachi, one for Empire Direct – I figured that this would be a more effective method of complaining, as it is I found out I’m not the best complaints person of all time. Oh, by the way – I set up the stand – took me about an hour, strange instructions, nice stand, and yes the television did actually ma
ke it onto the stand for about a week or so, before returning to Empire Direct yet again. The Hitachi letter returned itself, they’d switched places, so I sent it again, Empire Direct actually phoned me, (we’re now in early July), I have no idea what they said, but I clearly explained that I wanted a refund, and that the set was very much not right – what are you playing at you brainless monkeys?
Apparently Empire Direct did not want to give a refund as Hitachi were not happy to take the set back, shouldn’t have been my problem, but they delegated to me, aw, how kind. Hitachi had sent a reply, we’re now mid July, a reply which made no sense at all, claiming that I should discuss the matter with the retailer, that they were sorry for the trouble I had been having with my set and how Hitachi make every attempt to produce their products and to the highest standard. Basically, the letter was a load of bull. I wouldn’t have minded if it were Red Bull, that’s like £1 a can, but no. How inconsiderate.
Right, matter nowhere near resolved, my lesson was being learned, “never buy from Empire Direct again, actually no, never buy anything ever again”, my faith in everything was lost, I was even scared to move in case my legs started producing intermittency problems, but thankfully they’re ok. 17th July. I nearly had a heart attack – phone call from Empire Direct – what’s going on! They called to say that a fault had still not been found, so I was calm, cool and considerably collected, told them that it had been over 4months, they’d had my television for at least three, said I wanted a full refund, but apparently, still wasn’t allowed one (Trading standards here we come), told them how to actually see the fault “turn the television on, plug it into a socket…” here’s the funny part “We don’t usually do this for our customers” ̵
1; I refrained from telling them where to go, and expected another phone call later on.
No phone call, this is the end of July, I could have invested this money in shares, but no, I had to have a lust for a wide screen television, and as I type I can see the incredibly heavy console deluxe stand, which is now home to a retired cable box, with clothes strewn on top, I think of how many wasted hours I spent with this – I would not want anyone to go through such an unnecessary ordeal. So, I phoned them up, and guess what? They’d only given me a refund, although I was relieved, I was damn annoyed that they had kindly forgotten to mention in over two weeks that they had given me the refund – they supposedly issued it on the 17th of July. Hmmm…
So as I sit here, mad hours of the morning, £400 to spend on something, probably won’t be a television and definitely won’t be a Hitachi product, I’ll try not to get mad at what happened.
Empire Direct = visit there site NOW www.empiredirect.co.uk and take a look around. They’re site is cluttered, messy and clumsily designed, but there’s no denying the prices are very impressive. But believe me that is not the price you’ll pay. So, they have good prices, a decent range of products, but unless you live within thumping distance of them, I don’t recommend you even consider purchasing from them. I can’t fault the customer service though, why? Because they have none… the customer isn’t always right, in this case I was, but Empire Direct don’t give a shit about their customers, they have no customer service, and this I cannot find fault with something that does not exist.
Suggestions for improvement – well, I wouldn’t help them fix the mess they’re in, not for a hundred Hitachi 24inch wide Screens. They could try implanting some customer service into their dusky little company, they could even t
ry hiring a competent staff member, monkeys, would do a better job. Bradford may be in a bit of rough patch at the moment, so I am sorry if you’re having problems if you live in that area. I am also sorry to anyone that has had problems with this empire. They’re not direct, my problem has taken over 4months to be resolved, possibly a new world record, and even when it was, the neglected to inform me about it. As for the Empire side – they’re more like a back street black market Rodney and Dell boy. Avoid at all costs.
My problem pales into a universe of insignificance and cannot even be compared to some of the travesties and horrors going on in the world. I live a normal life, have a roof over my head and food to eat, with running water, and for that I’m grateful and appreciative. I’m not in a poverty stricken part of the world, I may be insane, but hopefully I’m not suffering any ill health, so just to put my complaining into perspective – it won’t make a lot of difference in society, I’m not through with Empire Direct yet, I will write to the trading standards, I will complain to Hitachi again, demanding something or other, but thanks for reading, this review should never have been written. Just think about how lucky you are for a minute, then donate some money to charity, then take my advice again.
Never, Ever, Buy from this hellhole.