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Use them if you're not bothered about Customer Service
Member Name: x-cupcake-x
Date: 11/06/10, updated on 11/06/10 (9354 review reads)
Advantages: Speedy delivery even with standard option, refund was quick
Disadvantages: Customer services weren't helpful even though it was their error
As I my brother will be 21 on the day of England's first World Cup match this year, I decided that an England shirt with his nickname and 21 on the back would be a good present for his birthday.
He is currently serving in the Royal Navy and his ship would be away at sea on the day of his birthday so I knew I would have to sort things out in plenty of time to ensure that it got there in time.
My first port of call was a Sports Direct store but they had run out of number 1s so I thought I would try their website. When I first visited the site I found it easy to find the England shirts and there were plenty of options regarding sizes, separated into infant, junior and adult. There were also options with player's names and numbers on the back if you wanted one of those.
I clicked on the adult shirt and selected the size needed from a drop down list, personalising the shirt was also an easy task. There are boxes for you type in your required name and numbers, after double checking I had typed everything in correctly (as they won't refund personalised items) I proceeded to the check out.
I had to create an account in order to continue which was simple enough, and then choose the delivery option. The choices were standard at £3.99 or express for £5.99. As standard was quoted as taking 3-5 days I opted for this. I then paid for my order and was taken to an order confirmation page; this said I would receive an email of my confirmation.
I actually didn't receive an email order confirmation but I had printed a copy so I didn't worry too much.
My order arrived with me the next working day so although I had only paid for standard delivery it still arrived really quickly. I was really happy with the speed and efficiency of the delivery. The parcel was quite a lot larger and heavier than I was expecting for a football shirt, when I opened it I had been sent a free Sports Direct mug and a St George's Cross with Sports Direct written across it.
I then took the shirt out of the packaging and upon checking the back for the printing immediately saw that they had printed a number 12 rather than a 21. The first thing I did was check my order confirmation to make sure I had put the correct one on my order, the confirmation definitely said 21 and so did the invoice which was in the parcel.
As it was after 7pm I sent the customer services an email explaining what had happened but I got an automated response saying that it would be dealt with within five days.
I couldn't afford to wait that long as it would mean the present might be too late in getting to my brother. I looked on their website for a contact number so that I could phone them first thing the next day, I had no joy. So I spent a good thirty minutes or so googling for a contact number. I eventually found several but most of these didn't actually work, when one that I tried did work I was overjoyed to find that "my call was important to them and I was number 6 in a queue".
After forty minutes I eventually got to speak to a real person (I'm now pleased I was at work that day and this wasn't on my telephone bill), when I explained what had happened the customer services advisor she said that I could return the shirt and they would send out a replacement. This would have been fine but they could not guarantee it would get to me in time.
She then said that I could buy a new shirt in store, when I explained that the reason I ordered online was because they didn't have the correct numbers in store, she said she would ask my nearest store if they had them. The next thing I knew I had been transferred through to the store and hadn't been told, nor had the person she had put me through to. I asked if they had the letters and numbers needed but they had run out of some of the letters required, he also couldn't transfer me back through to Customer Services from his phone.
The thought of another 40 minutes listening to how important my call was to them filled me with dread - I was already wondering if I'd be dreaming about it that night. When I called back instead of pressing 2 for customer services I pressed the hash and star keys a few times, amazingly this got me through to the main reception, the lady said she could put me through to the advisors I complained that I couldn't wait in a queue due to being at work she put me through to the customer services manager.
Again I explained what had happened and that I needed a replacement as soon as possible due to an error on their part, I was told there was nothing else I could do except go into store and purchase another returning the incorrect item. I told him I was not prepared to do this and asked under the circumstances whether an exchange in store would be possible, again I was told no. At this point I told him that I would be returning the shirt by special delivery and purchasing elsewhere.
After all of this I rang another sports store and asked if they had the correct sized shirt, letters and numbers in stock. The lady I spoke to confirmed they did, so during my lunch hour I made a trip there and came away with a shirt I was happy to send out to my brother.
This was the first time I had made an order from the Sports Direct website and it will also be the last, whilst I can't fault the speed of service they gave I am shocked that something as simple as checking the order was correct before sending it out was overlooked and the inflexibility when it came to rectifying their mistake was disappointing. I could understand if it was me who had made an error when I ordered.
They did only take two working days to refund my card, and my original postage costs were refunded as well. I'm not sure if this usually happens, but I did request a "full refund including postage" when I sent it back just in case.
I actually only got a reply to my original email the day after I had the refund issued to my card, and a week after I first sent it.
If it's help to anyone the telephone number for Customer Services is 0845 1299 200 and the freepost returns address is;
PO Box 9034
Although if you do need to return anything I would probably recommend doing so by a trackable method (Recorded or Special Delivery) so that they can't claim it has not been received. If you do this though it does mean that you aren't able to benefit from the free postage, I thought this was a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing it had actually been received.
I'm having a bit of a dilemma on how many stars to award for this review, on the one hand although my order was wrong everything else was really efficient including the refund but the service from Customer Services was poor. I'm going with one because of this.
(Little brother has received the other shirt I bought & assured me he hasn't opened it yet lol)
Summary: Buy instore if you can