24 October 2006

UK Delivery...A Rant

In trying to assimilate to life in Wales, and in general, trying to adjust to living in a different country, we've generally been taking the optimists' approach, trying to see all the cool things that are different, and often better here (see my previous post, and others as well). But I don't want to give the impression that all is light and goodness. And therefore I offer this unadulterated rant.

The system of delivery of goods in the UK is an absolute nightmare. On the surface, it looks lovely, since almost everything from anywhere to anywhere within the country can be delivered within 24 hours. But scratch the surface and you find the most perverse, unaccountable, and frustrating 'system' ever. Here's a non-exhaustive list of some of the problems.
  • Often companies just don't send you any information about delivery. It's as if no one cares when things show up. You buy something online, and then silence. Eventually things show up, and it rarely takes more than 4 or 5 business days, but there's no rhyme or reason to it, since things are usually delivered within one day of being shipped. This problem is not just confined to big items: our credit card statement was printed on the 13th, but they just waited until the 19th to ship it to us (bill was due to them by the 30th!).
  • When they do tell you about delivery dates, they are often simply wrong. They'll even guarantee specific times, but then just be wrong about it. I got an email on Friday guaranteeing delivery of our new mobile phones between 8:00am and noon on Saturday. But they didn't show up. So I called the courier, and they said they had no record. So I called the mobile operator, and they took 10 minutes to say, 'yeah, it will be there on Monday'. Now...this is when it gets ugly.***
  • They will only deliver to your home credit card billing address. (+)
  • They WILL NOT LEAVE THINGS even if you leave a note and a signature, full stop. No matter how you ask, they won't leave a package. (+)
  • They then say, 'pick it up at the local depot', but we DO NOT HAVE A CAR - and that's precisely the reason why we ordered the damn thing online in the first place was to have it deliverd. If we had the car to pick it up at the depot, then we could have just bought it at the shops!
***All of this can be linked into a future rant about 'non-geographic numbers'. This is the new 'system' in which all businesses (banks, everybody) use 0845 and 0870 numbers that are, in essence, premium numbers, i.e. it costs you to call them, no matter what (it's an extra charge from landlines, from mobiles, from everywhere that never comes out of your inclusive minutes). So all of this 'calling around' costs money, and sometimes lots of money. The subwoofer that never came was sent by a company with an 0871 number, which from my o2 mobile costs 35p a minute to call (and wait on hold).

1 comment:

Ruth said...

Huh. So I guess this wouldn't be an ideal time to ask you about funneling the delivery of cell phones to me. Since it sounds like it would be easier for me to just hop over to the UK and buy them myself some weekend.