Homebase, Carphone Warehouse and Sports Direct have some of the worst online customer service of all retailers in the UK, according to new research from consumer group Which?
As online shopping has boomed in popularity over the past 17 months, so too have the customer service complaints.
Which? said it had surveyed more than 5,000 consumers who had experienced an issue with their order between March 2020 to March 2021 to find out how the companies dealt with their complaints.
Sports Direct, The Range, Carphone Warehouse, Debenhams, Homebase and JD Sports were the lowest ranked companies, receiving the same one star out of five for overall customer service.
All of the companies ranked poorly on the helpfulness of their support staff, and were criticised by customers for making it difficult to raise a complaint.
One JD Sports customer said they lost out when they ordered some shoes which never arrived and could not get in touch with anyone in customer service to resolve the issue. The customer said: “I tried a few times but it felt futile, so I just gave up and lost the £60.”
Carphone Warehouse also performed poorly – with one in four complaining customers who told Which? saying they were incorrectly charged or billed during the pandemic.
One in five of the Homebase customers Which? surveyed who experienced issues with their order said they are unlikely to shop with the retailer again and one in 10 said their issue was not resolved or they were not offered a solution at all.
Responding to the report, a spokesperson for Homebase said that the company was saddened by the survey results.
“We’re disappointed to hear the results of the Which? survey, and we’re really sorry to anyone we let down during the height of the pandemic,” a spokesperson told Sky News.
“National lockdowns and the unique set of challenges it brought meant huge pressure on retailers, delivery companies and suppliers, and we weren’t always able to get orders to our customers and respond to enquiries as quickly as we usually would,” they added.
Meanwhile, one in five Sports Direct customers Which? surveyed said they would be unlikely to shop there again once lockdown restrictions have lifted. One Sports Direct customer described their service as “unhelpful and unaccommodating”, another complained they had been sent a completely different product to what they had ordered and only been offered a voucher in return.
A spokesperson for Frasers Group – which owns the Sports Direct brand – said that the company was investing significant sums into improving its customer service.
“We value our customers’ opinions and understand the disappointment they may have faced,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
At the other end of the scale, Marks and Spencer and Screwfix topped Which?’s survey with five stars across the board.
Amazon, Next and John Lewis rounded out the top five, with high marks for helpfulness of customer service and access to customer support.
Almost nine in 10 of Marks and Spencer customers claimed they were happy with the solution offered to their problem.
“The pandemic saw some of the best and worst of customer service,” said Adam French, a consumer rights expert at Which?
“But with online shopping now becoming the norm, we should get the same level of customer service when shopping online as when shopping in a store.”
“When it comes to spending our hard-earned cash online it is essential we know which retailers we can trust to put right anything that goes wrong,” he added.
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