FutureShop – A woeful tale of customer (dis)service


Back in December, I wrote about a terrible experience trying to buy a washer and dryer on sale on the FutureShop website.

Although the purchase experience was bad, the company did deliver the two units to my house 6 days later, as promised. When the delivery men brought the units into my house, I thought my troubles were over. Little did I know….

The following is an extreme summary of the events that occurred AFTER the units were delivered to my house. I sent a 5 page letter detailing the entire fiasco to FutureShop including all the badge numbers of the people I spoke with, in hopes that they would do something about the problem. To this date, there are still some issues outstanding.

Keep in mind, all I wanted was an exchange on the washer that I had purchased. Nothing else.

Dec. 30, 2009 – Washer and dryer units delivered to my house. Units sat in my foyer untouched until we sold our old washer/dryer units

Jan 10, 2010 – Old washer/dryer units picked up by buyer. Fully unpacked new washer and noticed washing drum was not secure and unit had a lot of water in it.  Not what I would expect in a supposedly new washer. See video below.

Jan 10, 2010 – Called FutureShop Customer Service. Had the person listen to the water in the washer. Was told that a replacement or a repair could be made. Asked for a replacement.  CSR suggested calling a local store for  a replacement.

Jan 10, 2010 – Called local FutureShop store. Spoke to a store employee (Shams) who suggested that I “Google” whether having so much water in a brand new washer is a common problem. I ignored the answer and asked if they had a replacement unit available for exchange. Was told no, and that replacement units must come from the warehouse.

Jan 10, 2010 – Called Customer Service again. Spoke to yet another CSR (Travis) who also agreed water in a new machine was not right. Recommended I call their Quality Service Advantage department for assistance.

Jan 10, 2010 – Called Quality Service Advantage and was told Customer Service (!) had to deal with the exchange as QSA only deals with repairs.

Jan 10, 2010 – Called Customer Service yet again. Spoke with David. Explained situation yet again. David indicated that a replacement was in order and put me on hold. Someone else picked up the phone and asked me to explain the reason I wanted a replacement! This person’s name was Miles.I demanded to speak with a Manager. Apparently no Managers work on Sundays. Was told the name of a Manager (Drew) and that we could call him on Monday. Was also told that FutureShop would contact us by telephone within 48 hours to arrange for the delivery and pickup of a new unit. Miles also indicated the issue had been escalated to the delivery team for their attention.

Jan 12, 2010 – More than 48 hours later, still no phone call from FutureShop. Called Customer Service (spoke with Debbie) who was surprised we hadn’t been contacted, and later transferred me to Chris who also shared the same sense of surprise. Chris suggested waiting until end of workday (5PM).

Jan 12, 2010 – 5:18 PM – called FutureShop back and spoke with Matthew. Matthew also was surprised that our case had not been dealt with. Matthew took more notes, promised to escalate the issue (it hadn’t been escalated as Miles had promised) and indicated it would be dealt with “ASAP”.

Jan 12, 2010 – Matthew forwarded me to the “Floor Supervisor” (named Junior) who yet again indicated surprise at the lack of progress. Junior repeated the “ASAP” promise and indicated that he would escalate this to the Head Office and a District Manager who would deal with this and contact us.

Jan 13, 2010 – 72 hours after we were promised a phone call with the delivery time for our replacement unit, I received an email indicating an additional 48 hour wait is pending:

Hello Saeed,

I have received your request for an
exchange of your FutureShop.ca order.
You will receive an e-mail within 48
hours indicating that your request
has been processed with the scheduled
date for pickup.

Thank you,

Bradly
Customer Support
Home Delivery Services

Jan 14, 2010 – Called Customer Service and spoke to Wayne about the constant delays and the email received the day before. Wayne indicated nothing else could be done. When I asked to speak to a Supervisor, he indicated a Supervisor would call me back. Of course, no Supervisor called me back.

Jan 15, 2010 – Called Home Delivery Services, spoke to Marnie who yet again took all my information, expressed disbelief at the situation and suggested I call Quality Service Advantage. For whatever reason, I decided to do that, and who picked up the phone? The same Marnie.

Jan 15, 2010 – Hung up and called Customer Service again.  Got connected to Wayne. Yes, the very same Wayne from the day before who promised a Supervisor would call.  Wayne was “surprised” that a Supervisor hadn’t called, indicated that a supervisor couldn’t do anything anyway and asked me to hold while he transferred me to a supervisor. 13 minutes later, Kelsey – a “Floor Supervisor” came on the phone.

Jan 15, 2010 – After a frustrating conversation with Kelsey trying to get a firm answer on when my replacement until would be delivered, I asked Kelsey to commit to one thing. Call me before 5PM that day and let me know whether or not a time/date had been set for delivering my washer. He committed to call me either way.  I didn’t receive a call from Kelsey by 5PM.

Jan 15, 2010 – In the evening received a call from someone named  Cliff. He was actually calling about a conversation we had with Miles on Jan 10, to clarify that the Manager whose name we were given by Miles (Drew) was on holidays and was not available.  I spoke to Cliff detailing all the problems we had had that week in simply trying to get a replacement delivery scheduled for our washer. Cliff listened and committed to escalating the issue, and also committed to calling us back the next day with a status.

Jan 16, 2010 – Late in the day, Cliff called us back! This was the first person at FutureShop who actually did what he/she said they would do.  He indicated that we should have received an email with a scheduled date of Jan 25, 2010 for a replacement unit. Not great in my opinion, but at least we have a date in writing.

Jan 16, 2010 – Cliff also asked us to provide him in detail all the notes we had about who we spoke to, when we spoke to them, what they did and didn’t do etc. We forward this to him and he indicated that he’d look into some kind of compensation for all the trouble we went through.

To this date, we have not heard back from FutureShop on this.

One final note:

Jan 17, 2010 – Received the following email from FutureShop Customer Service. This is a verbatim copy of the email. Read it carefully.

 Dear Saeed Khan, 

 Your request has been submitted to our
 Home Delivery Specialist Team.
 Someone will be in contact with you
 within 24-72 business days with a
 resolution. 

 We do sincerely apologize for any
 inconvenience this may have caused. 

 Sincerely, 

 Sue
 Customer Support
 Home Delivery Services

Yes, it says 24-72 business days!

After everything else, to receive an irrelevant form email that itself has typos is the height of incompetence.

We did get our replacement units (they replaced both the washer and the dryer) in late January, but as mentioned earlier we still have not heard back about any compensation for having to spend so much time dealing with such a completely inept organization. With the sole exception of Cliff, I feel confident making the following statements about FutureShop Customer Service Representatives.

  • They openly and consistently lie to customers
  • They don’t know what the word “Service” means
  • They are trained to show empathy over the phone but have a complete disregard for customer issues
  • Beyond empathy training, they are not trained to read notes in a file and have no understanding of internal FutureShop processes

As for FutureShop management, they are either AWOL or also have disdain for customers. When I asked for the name of the VP or other executive who is responsible for customer service, I was given a postal address in British Columbia. No actual name of a person, no specific email address, no escalation path that I could pursue. And of course, after sending a 5 page letter detailing my problems with FutureShop to Cliff, no callback from anyone at FutureShop.

You be the judge of this one. Have you heard of a worse company in this regard?

Saeed

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5 responses to “FutureShop – A woeful tale of customer (dis)service

  1. I had to write a customer service department and stress my lifetime value with the company. They actually gave me the district manager’s phone number. I didn’t call, but their rudeness continues to the point that I boycott that store, but not the chain itself.

    I also had to file an FTC complaint to get an issue resolve with another company. It got resolved, but why did I have to go that far.

    Did you call the press. Getting this stuff into print, rather than online will draw their attention.

  2. Hi Saeed,

    I had nearly an identical experience (washer/dryer set, Boxing Day sale). I actually had my order cancelled at one point, after talking with a support manager – they were supposed to cancel the delivery charge but instead managed to cancel the entire order (notifying me by email). My level of frustration was so high that I contemplated trawling LinkedIn to get in touch with someone who could do something. Eventually I did get the units delivered, roughly 10 days late and after several lengthy phone calls. At the end of it, I should have paid the $100 difference and purchased locally from a higher priced store.

    My guess is that much of Future Shop’s supply chain is completely outsourced. The delivery operations certainly are, and I suspect the Support group may be as well. They could certainly use an upgrade in their delivery tracking system (big disconnect there, which makes the Support group seem completely inept), and train the support people on how to respond professionally (“we’re really busy,” and “but you got a great deal” are not what a consumer wants to hear when inquiring about a delay).

    Lots of implications from a Product Management perspective – clearly there was a choice made to get into areas of business outside their core competency (in-store electronics, etc). I can understand the desire to grow into other areas, but it seems like the go-to-market strategy failed when setting up the supply/delivery/customer care strategy…

  3. Swaroop Sayeram

    I know how you feel. I’ve been in your shoes at least twice.
    Once with AT&T & once with DirecTV.
    A couple of avenues I had to vent my anger were
    http://www.bbb.org & http://www.ripoffreport.com
    These are non-profits which are supposed to escalate the complaints to the appropriate personnel in the company. At a minimum your complaints will get more visibility on the web.
    And by the way I’m a Product Manager and I’ve been following your fine blogs posts 🙂

  4. Hi Saeed,

    I had to fight a similar battle with Future Shop over a discman that they wouldn’t replace even though I had bought (for the first and only time in my life) the extended warranty. It’s a long story, the highlight of which was being physically intimidated in the store by someone who looked like a nightclub bouncer.

    In the end I wrote to the “VP Corporate Operations and Consumer Services” indicating I would wait 10 business days for a satisfactory response before filing complaints with the BBB and the Office of Consumer Affairs. I received a phone call from someone addressing the issue on the 10th day.

    I stop short of actually boycotting the company, since they did eventually resolve the issue, but I certainly avoid them whenever possible and advise others to do the same.

    This was in 2005, so I doubt the contact information I have is of much use, but feel free to contact me if you want it.

  5. David, Julian, Swaroop, Ryan,

    Thanks for the comments. I’ve been keeping silent on this topic as the blog post and assoicated Tweet to @FS_Connect, finally got their attention and as of today, we’ve finally resolved all issues to our satisfaction.