“ Tens Machines Direct is a TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine supplier „
I was recommended to try a TENS Machine for my impending labour by my midwife to help as part of my pain management technique. Having had a look into the machines and what they do, I decided that I would hire, rather than buy, a machine and set about researching where and how I could do this.
WHAT IS A TENS MACHINE
First things first, an explanation for those of you that are unaware of what a TENS Machine is. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. The machine works by passing mild electrical impulses through your skin via electrode pads into your nerve fibres. This helps your body to produce its own natural pain killing chemicals - endorphins. You simply place the electrodes on your back. TENS machines can be used for back problems as well as for pain management in labour.
After looking around on the internet for options as to where I could hire a machine from I noticed that there were various websites and stores offering this service - including Mothercare, Boots and Tesco. I had a couple of criteria I was looking to fulfil - my due date was less than four weeks away and I was anxious to receive the machine as soon as possible, and, ideally, I wanted to pay the least amount possible (don't we all!).
I came across the Tens Machine Direct website, which offered the Elle Tens Machine model for six weeks hire for £22.95. Not only was this the cheapest price that I had found anywhere, but it also included both postage and the return postage for the end of the hire period. The machine would be posted to you 3 weeks and 3 days before your due date, so you will receive it 3 weeks before in case baby arrives early. This was perfect for me as, at the time of ordering, I was 3 weeks 4 days before my due date. I proceeded to complete my details, including due date, online to order the machine - a very simple process - and received a confirmation email from them almost immediately confirming that my order had been received.
The very next day, I received an email from them stating that my order had been packed and would be shipped in the next few hours. The money was then taken from my account the next day.
I became concerned that I had not received my machine a week after ordering, particularly as it appeared to have been posted so efficiently. I decided to just enquire about this with Tens Machines Direct to put my mind at ease, and in case there was a problem with the post - my due date looming at the back of my mind. Unfortunately, their website and all the confirmation emails that I had received did not provide a contact telephone number. There was only an address (in Swansea) and email supplied. Therefore, my only option was to send an email to the generic email supplied.
I forwarded my order confirmation (together with order number and details) to this address and stated my concerns as it had been almost a week since the machine was posted and simply asked for an update.
This is where I encountered my problems with this company - no-one replied to my email. This made me anxious as my money had been taken and I had a deadline of my due date if I needed to order from somewhere else. I tried to find a number to call online, but to no avail, so I had no option but to simply send another chaser email.
This I did, for the next three days. I also requested that my order was to be cancelled due to non-receipt so that I could place an order elsewhere (by now there was only a little over two weeks until my due date). I still received no reply to any of my queries, and I was concerned that I would not receive a refund and couldn't afford to order another one.
I sent a further email the next day, and when I still received no reply I decided to contact trading standards who advised me to speak with consumer direct, who very helpfully informed me of my rights and what I needed to do to ensure I received a full refund. Luckily, I did not need to take any further action as I, finally, received an email from Customer Services (no name supplied!) at Tens Machines Direct, five days after my initial enquiry.
The email simply stated that they had dispatched the machine but as I had not received it, they would refund me in full. No explanation or apology as to why it had taken so long to respond to my simple query was provided. Happily, I received a full refund from them a couple of days later & I ordered a machine from Mothercare (it arrived within days!).
Therefore, in reviewing my experience with this company, I have to reflect on the level of customer service that I personally received. At an already stressful time, it felt like nobody cared about my order, even an acknowledgement that they had received my email and were looking into the problem would have set my mind at ease. I think chasing up an order a week after it was said to be posted is reasonable no matter what the order, let alone when there is a deadline by which you need to receive the goods.
I have never received the machine that they say was posted either.
Obviously, this is my own personal experience and others may have ordered from the site with no problems whatsoever. I'm a great believer in good customer service however and this is something that I just did not receive. Had my query been dealt with efficiently (or a contact telephone number provided so that I could speak to someone) and any issues with the order picked up, this could have been a totally different experience.
As a direct result of my own experience, I would have to recommend that you look elsewhere should you ever have a requirement for a TENS Machine!