A year and a bit of Washing Machine woe (aka The Candyman Can't)

Candy knows how poor Customer Service can be

I have tried my utmost to avoid breaking my silence and sharing my story about possibly the worst, most unhelpful customer service department in the history of White Goods, but I have now reached an all time low, and I just need to tell the world exactly how awful Hoover/Candy Service really is.

My tale involves a malfunctioning Washing Machine which started misbehaving within 3 months of purchase. It got stuck on a 90 minute cycle and just stayed washing… and washing… and washing my clerical shirts until they were a light grey in colour and my daughter’s clothes were ruined. It took a little while to really notice it (because you don’t always go out of the house and return 4 hours later to find it still washing) and it wasn’t until a number of members of the family all agreed that something wasn’t right that  I first called the Service Department which deals with both Hoover and Candy appliances (I wonder if they’re the same company with different badges on: I know that Candy is predominantly a US brand).

An Engineer is sent. Nice man. He replaces something.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again.

The Engineer is sent again. He replaces something else.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again.

The Engineer is sent again. He replaces something else.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again. Now by this time the machine is over 12 months old and this is when it starts to get interesting/annoying/silly. I am told that they would charge me for the call out and for any parts because it is out of warranty and I have not purchased an extended warranty. They would only not charge if the faulty parts turned out to be the ones already replaced.

“Hang on,” I said, “We know they’re not the problem parts because what ever is causing the problem started BEFORE THE WARRANTY EXPIRED”

They make their point quite rudely, but I stick to my guns. There is, I believe a moral imperative at stake here and they should fix it under the terms of the warranty, because it was clearly faulty before the warranty expired. It takes an email sent via the website to kick them into action and they say that of course the machine will be dealt with as though it is under warranty because the pre-expiry problem still hasn’t been fixed. This sounds promising.

The Engineer is sent again. He replaces something else.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again.

The Engineer is sent again. He replaces something else.

It doesn’t fix it.

I call again.

What I love now is that on the day of each visit the Customer Disservices Department call me and try and flog me that Extended Warranty. I politely decline each time and emphasise that they have a moral duty to fix it. I try and up the ante and start describing the machine as a lemon which by now ought to be replaced. After all, what else is there to replace? They say “Oh well, if you bought the extended warranty you could have a new one”, I decline to do that, so my favourite Engineer is once again booked. At some point I escalate the call and I am assured that a note will be put on my file to stop trying to sell me an extended warranty. I get at least two more of these calls because they actually notice this. I wonder how big my file is by now.

The Engineer now knows the way to my house without recourse to his SatNav. We are on good terms. He knows my dog, Ruby well by now and she just accepts him as a part of the extended Church family that is always around our House. Lou suggests that I have started having an affair with someone on 08444 995599  – the Customer Services Dept number as I call it so often.

I have lost count by now how many times the Engineer has called. He has replaced almost everything. I keep asking for a replacement. They refuse. I demand they fix it (nicely, of course) but the Script doesn’t cover that and some of the people on the end of the phone are really, really rude about it. There is one nice lady, and a young man who seemed to be the only one who actually cared about us, but one in particular is just horrible. I don’t know what part of Wales they are based in, but when she answers I just know that we are going to go round in circles once more. At one point when I said that I had already spoken to a supervisor, this particular customer services person denied that such a person actually existed and that “there was only one supervisor and she has never spoken to you before”. One supervisor? For each and every shift? Surely not? Was I actually being called a liar there or was I imagining it? When I actually spoke to this Supervisor (I waited all day for her return call, but she didn’t contact me until the following day) but she sounded lovely, and appeared to be helpful, but these things can be quite deceptive.

A Senior Engineer is despatched. He fiddles with the wiring. It works!

Once.

I call again. My familiar Engineer comes. We are all at our wit’s end now. He puts in for a replacement machine as there is no other alternative.

Candy go into hibernation. I call them. They send out my favourite Engineer. Something is changed. It still doesn’t work.

This happens a few more times: frankly I have forgotten how many times now. I wonder how many mornings and afternoons I have spent awaiting the Engineer to come. He’s a nice lad. I like him. I feel that we have a relationship, at least based on duration.

I keep asking for a replacement. The Engineer keeps asking for a replacement. Customer Services keep booking the Engineer to visit.

Finally, a process is found: the Engineer is booked and for the first time doesn’t show (which is quite annoying as he didn’t tell me this is what was going to happen) but when I call, there is a note on the system which says he has got sign off from his Senior Engineer to authorise a replacement. It just needs the sign off from a lady in Customer Services. “Could I speak with her then, please” “Ah, no, she’s off sick” “And no-one else can sign this off?” “Err.. no” came the reply with at least a small degree of shame in the lady’s voice.

Two weeks go by. Royal Weddings and May Bank Holidays. Enough is enough. I call and it is, oh dear, the problematic lady. The Supervisor who was going to sign it off can’t do so because – wait for it – I haven’t got an extended warranty, and so I’ll have to pay 20% of the cost…

Hold on. She knows the story. They must understand the moral obligation. They must see the solution.

I have to hear from the nice Supervisor who failed to get back in contact with me. She’s on another call, but she’ll call you back today.

Guess what? She didn’t call.

UPDATE: 12th May – I call the nice Supervisor back, and she tells me it’s not her call – Aaargghh!! She has spoken to another Department and they have ‘been through the log’ and don’t believe a Senior Engineer has yet been to visit – BUT HE HAS! I can’t believe that they are still stalling, and it’s yet another department, and yet another anonymous manager and yet another delay. When will they face up to it? I now wait a call back from that department. I won’t hold my breath…

If companies cared at all for their reputation they wouldn’t treat customers like this. They wouldn’t let their Customer Services Dept string along their customers like this, and they would face up to their moral accountability. I am sorry that I have had to document this here, where it will be read by potential customers of Candy and in a small way, may damage their reputation. However, they have brought it upon themselves and the Customer Services Dept of Candy are the root cause of this.  Therefore, my dear friends, I implore you DO NOT BUY A CANDY WASHING MACHINE FOR THEIR SERVICE IS TERRIBLE. I hope someone there monitors the social media because I hope someone senior in Candy reads this and is embarrassed. I would be.

I just want a washing machine that works reliably. I want clean black clerical shirts that haven’t been washed to oblivion. I want reasonable customer service.

I would appreciate it if you would retweet a link to this post in the hope that it shames them into action. Maybe the following might help:

Let’s get @frsimon a working washing machine! http://is.gd/JB9yQh Until then #hoovercandysucks