I needed a rear wiper blade for my Signum and compared the Vauxhall Trade Club price with the Euro Car Parts price and the CarParts4Less.co.uk price, and the last of these were cheapest, so I placed my order - £4.92 with free delivery. When it arrived several days later, it was clear it was the wrong part - it was a wiper blade refill rather than a blade (i.e. just a length of rubber glued to a metal strip), and it wasn't for a Signum anyway.
To try and get a refund, I went onto their website and clicked on the live webchat option. After waiting several minutes for a reply, someone called Arron finally asked how he could help. I explained that the wrong item had been sent and that I wanted a return and refund. Arron didn't reply. 10 minutes later and he still hadn't replied. I typed in "Hi, is anyone there?" Still no reply. After 15 minutes I gave up and closed the chat window.
The next day, I tried the same thing again. Again, Arron eventually popped up and asked how he could help. I told him the same thing I told him yesterday, this time he replied with "Ok, give me a minute". 20 minutes later and he still hadn't said anything further, and as it was obvious he had bogged off, I closed the chat window.
So, I decided to phone them instead. Eventually they answered the phone, and I explained to the operator that I been sent the wrong part and I wanted that to be sorted out by refund or replacement. "I believe you've already sorted this out with Arron" he asked. "No, I've tried to, but Arron starts a webchat and then disappears and doesn't come back" I explained.
The operator then asks what's wrong with the part I've been sent, and I explained that's it's a refill, not a full blade. "What's a wiper refill?" he asks. That starts to give me an inkling that he's one of those types who is going to talk all sorts of BS just to get out of refunding my money, and he doesn't disappoint.
After I explain patiently what a refill is (even though I'm sure he knows - how can he work for a huge auto parts supplier and not know?) he then says he's never heard of someone being sent the wrong wiper part and so he needs me to take a photo of the part and email it to him as proof that it's the wrong part. WTF? I think to myself, they foul up, and instead of apologising and rectifying it, they want me to jump through hoops for them.
You might be thinking is it really worth all this hassle for £4.92? No, it isn't, but it's the principle - why should they keep my money when they haven't bothered to earn it?
Anyway, I suggest to the operator that there's a simpler way of doing this - howabout I take the incorrect part to my local branch of Euro Car Parts and they can send it back to him in their daily shipment back to the warehouse.
To that, he replies "What's Euro Car Parts, never heard of it". Here we go, I think to myself - come up with any BS to make things harder for the customer. "How can you claim not to have heard of ECP" I ask, "all your parts have their labels on them, you use exactly the same part numbers on your website, your website is identical to ECPs just a different colour scheme". To that, he replies "we buy a few of our parts from ECP, but we're different companies, so you can't return the wiper to their branch". Oh, so suddenly he HAS heard of ECP, but he's still lying when he says they buy "some" parts from them, actually it's every single part they sell.
Reluctantly, I take the photo, download it to my PC and email it to them, just to prove that I'm not lying when I say they sent me the wrong part. I also do some research online into the links between ECP and CarParts4Less. many members here, me included, assumed it's all part of the same company. It's not quite - both companies are founded by the same man, who later sold the UK mainland part of ECP to someone else, but remains the Chief Executive of ECP and is still the owner of CarParts4Less, and he still owns the Northern Ireland ECP business - and they also trade from the same address. So, doesn't quite tally with either story the operator gave me about never having heard of ECP or ECP just being a supplier of "some" of their stock. Why couldn't he just be truthful and say the ECP branch can't accept the return because I didn't buy it from them.
I don't hear anything back for a few days, until I receive an email at 6pm on a Monday from the same operator I spoke to, saying he's organised for the part to be collected by courier and the courier will arrive tomorrow between 7am and 8pm. Now who does that - organising a courier for the next day without asking the customer if he'll be in or not, and giving such little notice? To me, it looks like just another attempt to be awkward and he probably hoped I wouldn't be able to oblige. Unlucky for him, it was no problem for me to leave a note on the door for the courier, telling him to collect the part from my next door neighbour.
Three days after the part was collected, I get an email from the same operator saying that if I return the part to them, I'll get a refund within two weeks. I reply that the part was collected three days ago and must already be back in their warehouse, and that I have a tracking number from the courier to prove it. I'm still waiting for my refund....
SO, THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE ON HERE SAYS THEY'RE GOING TO BUY A PART FROM ECP, THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU REPLY "BUY IT FROM CARPARTS4LESS - THEY'RE THE SAME COMPANY BUT ALWAYS CHEAPER".....