Simply Computers - buyer beware

Sometimes when a company is bought over, the new owners promise great things; improved choice, greater support and faster response. Sadly what was once a great computer retailer, Simply Computers, have become a company that doesn't seem to respect the customer. Simply Computers based out of north London was purchased by Systemax Europe Ltd, and from there on in, the problems have serviced.

I am presently trying to prise 79.99 back out of them and its proving to be rather challenging. I ordered a D-LINK wireless router from them which didn't work. Getting through to them to return the item was a project in itself, their emails bounce back and if you ring customer service you are put on hold for at least 30 minutes. But after 2 weeks of trying to contact them (i draw the line at waiting over 30 minutes listening to their on-hold music and constant apologies), I spoke to a rather nice gentleman who sorted out the return, ordered me up a new router and arranged for pickup of my faulty one.

Fast forward a month, my credit-bills come in and I notice Simply have not refunded the first purchase as they promised. Not a problem, I'll ring them up (put myself through that hell) and get it sorted. Probably an oversight at their end.

After waiting only 25 minutes this time I got put through to a woman called Marlene. Marlene bless her, obviously yet to finish her customer-service training as she continually wants to talk over me, but working with that I proceed to try and pry my money out of them. She goes off and speaks with her manager, saying that I have to deal with D-LINK directly and ask them for my money back. I said excuse me? You are naturally joking. My transaction is with Simply, not D-LINK. Besides, if anything, you physically took the router from me. Marlene forever the helpful customer-service agent, says she can return the router to me!

I think not. I will not accept the router back. Besides, after this length of time, chances are its probably already been shipped back to D-LINK. She says there is nothing she can do. I said, this is fairly obvious, but put me onto someone that can actually deal with this.

She couldn't. But did say that she would get to the bottom of this and get back to me within an hour. I will look forward to that. Legally speaking they have to refund me. The transaction was with Simply, not D-LINK and they physically have the router. If I get no luck from the next call, then I will instruct VISA that its a disputed transaction and let them deal with it. I will naturally lodge an official compliant with Trading Standards which on the whole are one of our better government outfits.

Before I hung up, I set Marlene a small challenge. I said when you go out for your lunch, pop into a phone box and call your own customer-support, note how long you end up standing in that phone box. But continue to remain until some one answers, even it means being late back to work. Have some fun Marlene; see what its like to be a customer! Not sure she'll take me up on that particular dare.


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