Update: Due to the threat of legal action, I've updated this post (and all linking posts) and removed all references to the company involved and replaced them with the name of a completely fictitious company - "FooBar Pty Inc". I've also changed the products involved so the "field of business" of the original company can't be identified either. Any comments that reference the original company have also been removed.
Update: 6 Jan 2010: I've disabled comments as it's becoming quite clear a lot of people are dissatisfied by the service offered by this company. If you have any issues, I encourage you to contact your local Trading Standards Office, Citizens Advice Bureau, BBC WatchDog and/or the Office of Fair Trading. I'm sure they'll all be more than delighted to offer some assistance in resolving your issue.
Update: 11 Oct 2013: The company that offered me my poor customer service and then threatened legal action because I was honest and didn't provide a glowing review has gone bust and their websites are now dead. You can now search Google for the company to see everyone else's experiences.
As promised, here's the latest update on the shocking customer service I'm getting from "FooBar Pty Inc".
As expected no replies to any of my emails by midday today, so I thought I'd give them a bell to find out the status of my order.
I called up just before 1pm today and my call was answered by a lady (who didn't identify herself) and went something like this (I'm paraphrasing here):
Me: Hi. I'd like to query the stock status of one of your brew kits please.
Lady: One moment.
[ Lots of typing ]
Lady: Ok. Bear with me whilst I open up my web page.
[ Lots more typing - way more than I would expect to open up a web page ]
Lady: What's the product?
[ More typing ]
Me: "FooBar". I've got the product code if that helps.
Lady: Yes please.
Lady: That's out of stock. We're expecting a delivery this week.
Me: Right. Are you aware your website says it's in stock.
Me: Do you have a more specific date?
Lady: We're expecting a delivery this week.
Me: Has this been out of stock for a while?
Lady: We're expecting a delivery this week
Me: What about the "BarFoo", product code 4321?
Lady: Yes, we have that in stock.
Me: Great, in that case can I get the parts of my order that are in stock shipped now?
Lady: Sure. What's your order reference
Me: [ gives order number ]
[ A slightly longer than expected pause ]
Lady: We don't have the "BeeFoo". We're expecting a delivery this week.
[ The lady now suddenly seems to be in quite a hurry as she starts to speak quicker and really seems to want to get off the phone ]
Me: So you don't have both the "FooBar" kit and the "BeeFoo" in stock?
Lady: [ Hurriedly ] Yes, we're expecting a delivery this week.
Me: Ok, in that case I'll have what you do have in stock sent to me now and the rest sent later.
Lady: [ Hurriedly ] Ok.
Me: Thanks. Bye.
I can't say I'm too impressed with this exchange. No identification. No apologies. No thanks for being patient and I'm technically no nearer to getting my order than I was before. The sudden change in pace of the conversation once the lady put two and two together wasn't very professional either, and it certainly didn't prompt any apologies whilst on the phone.
Interestingly, about 45 mins after my phone call I received an email response to the chase email I sent on Wednesday morning:
Dear Colin, Thank you for your email. I would like to apologise for the long delay in your order being despatched. All of the items should be in stock by the end of this week and with you the latest the beginning of next week. Sorry again for the inconvenience this has caused. Kind regards [ Name Removed ] "FooBar Pty Inc"
Well, at least we have an apology and a response to one of my emails, but more importantly we have sign off with a real name. I suspect this may be who I spoke to on the phone.
Still no response to the terse email I sent on Friday nor any indication of any attempt to expedite my order or resolve my dissatisfaction with the service offered so far.
So watch this space. We'll see if the parts of my order that are in stock are dispatched as promised, or if they'll all be held back AGAIN waiting for the complete order.
Oh, and this won't just end off with me saying "I got my order" and then tidying up my toys. I'm slowly building up a list of tips they can use to improve their customer service and systems so they can "take them on board" and "assimilate" them into their processes to improve their business and keep customers happy (management speak seems quite apt here). I like to provide useful feedback and ideas where I can and this is no exception.