Someone on one of the Money Saving Expert‘s forums described an offer where you sign up for a free month’s trial at Wilkinson DVD‘s, and you receive a free boxed retail DVD from a list. The idea was that you get the free DVD even if you cancelat the end of the free month.
Now, in my book, free is a pretty good deal, so I signed up.
After the first month, I cancelled my subscription. Unfortunately, the cancellation request was received after a second set of DVDs was sent out, so I ended up paying for a month’s rental. I didn’t mind too much – the service was good value for the month, and I wanted to watch the movies I sent for anyway. I had better success cancelling my subscription at the end of the second month.
I must say, the actual DVD rental service was acceptable. The only down side is that you don’t often get your first choice of movie – you’re far more likely to get the less popular titles further down your list of choices. In fairness, however, that is all explained in the T&Cs. As a result, I have no complaints about the rental service itself: I just don’t need it.
The free DVD, however, is another matter.
On 3rd June I received an email that stated,
We are… pleased to confirm that you did fully qualified for the bonus DVD-to-keep that you chose on registration.
And that I should,
allow up to 28 working days from the point of qualification to receive your Bonus DVD.
Unfortunately, I am still waiting. On 7th July I sent this email to Wilkinson:
28 days have passed, but still no DVD. Is there a problem?
But received no response. Apparently, I am not alone in this experience. So today, I telephoned Customer Services.
The lady I spoke to initially was polite and applogetic. She explained that the offer had received more interest than expected, and that I should receive my DVD in the next couple of weeks. I gently pointed out that it would have been helpful if Wilkinson had emailed customers explaining that there is a problem, and that it would have been polite for them to have responded to my previous email. The lady explained that she was merely a ‘minion’ (her word) who had no power to make descisions about things like that. Fair enough. I asked if I could speak to someone who had more authority…
I think: Here we go…
I was put through to a Customer Services Manager.
I explained the problem, and said that I considered that the service I had received from Wilkinson was poor. I suggested that the readers of this blog might be interested in my experience with Wilkinson. The CS Manager then said that this “wasn’t fair”, because I had received the rental DVDs I had asked for.
I think: You have failed to deliver on your promise, but I am at fault if I tell people?
She explained that the problem was due to other larger companies using the same DVDs as part of their promotions, and that as a result Wilkinson had been unable to supply the demand. Apparently, Wilkinson is too small to compete against the big boys
I think: HMV is to blame for your customer service?
I asked why I had no response to my first email. I was told that there was no record of this email against my account, so that was not Wilkinson’s fault. This is strange – every other email I have sent recently has reached its intended destination, and my mail server says the email was sent.
I suggested that customers should be told about the delay, rather than having to chase things up ourselved. I was told that we already had! I explained that I have received no such communication from Wilkinsons. Again, the CS Manager stated that this was not her fault!
I think: MyISP is to blame for yourpoor cummunication?
I explained that I had a contract with Wilkinson, and that the company had provided poor service against that contract. The CS Manager insisted that there was no contract, because I had now cancelled my subscription.
I think: I have paid for a service that I have not received. It was part of my contract, but isn’t now because I don’t want anything else from you?
Finally, I was told that I would receive my free DVD within the next 7 days, and that I would have to amend my blog once it arived.
I think: We’ll see.
The CS Manager also said that she would look out for my blog!
I think: The one thing that fascinates me about this whole episode is that the Customer Services Manager was less skilled at dealing with my complaint than her “minion”. If the CS Manager had been genuinely apologetic, I would have accepted that delays sometimes happen, and looked forward to my free DVD arriving sometime in the next 28 days. In that case, this article wouldn’t even exist…
I’ll let you know how things turn out.
The DVD did actually arrive within 7 working days!
Who know if it would have come at all unless I had (1) phoned to complain, and (2) threatened to publish all the gory details on this blog? Either way, I an delighted. Now, all I need is the time to watch it…