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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Des Res

A friend drew my attention to this "affordable property" - a former Telephone Repeater Station in rural Gloucestershire with easy access to Gloucester and Cheltenham and is a snip at £29,990. A few days later I was passing that way with my camera and took a closer look

View of the front door through the garden from the front gate

Front door - note letterbox

Full fire precautions. Health and Safety is the last thing to go
Reception/Master Bedroom/Kitchen/Etc

The rear of the property has access to open fields

So is it worth the £30k price tag? Sure, it's an expensive location but the total plot is only around 1000 square feet so you could put a modest 3 bedroom house on it with a little over for a garden. In theory, loads of parking is available at the adjacent lay-by. The only services are electricity. So it could work - if you can get Planning Permission

Yodel, Sports Direct and Amazon

My old sandals fell apart and as I had a camping trip coming up, I needed to buy another pair. Browsing Amazon, I spotted a nice pair and placed an order - paying extra for expedited delivery to ensure I got them in time. Amazon passed the order to Sports Direct who passed the goods to there "delivery" company, Yodel.

With a day to go before my deadline, I checked online for progress and found that Yodel had already made three delivery attempts. This was odd since our receptionist hadn't seen anyone. Confusingly, when I tried to interact with the tracking site, it told me:
Your parcel(s) cannot currently be collected from our service centre. Your parcel has not yet had a delivery attempt. Your parcel(s) cannot currently be rearranged. Your parcel has not yet had a delivery attempt
I got on to Yodel who told me that their driver had been to the wrong address and they'd get the stuff to me the next day. Sure enough, at 10.00am I got a text announcing that delivery had taken place. I shot out to reception who'd seen no one. The tracking now claimed delivery.

So I got on to Amazon who said they'd arrange cancellation with Sports Direct and went out and bought a alternative pair of sandals the old-fashioned way.

When I got back from my trip I found an email from Yodel advising that they had delivered the sandals to a cafe on the same street as my workplace but with a different number. They claimed they'd delivered to the number on package.

At this point, I didn't know if Sports Direct had put the wrong number on the box or Yodel had messed up but I didn't much care. I filed an "A-z" claim with Amazon.

Amazon denied my claim because Yodel had obtained a signature on delivery (to the wrong place)

Then the package did turn up, damaged but showing the correct number.

So I was facing being out of pocket because Yodel delivered damaged goods late and to the wrong place. So I wrote to the Chief Executive of all three companies. As a result, Amazon refunded my money and told me to dispose of the damaged parcel as I saw fit.

Yodel weren't done though. They sent someone to try to collect the parcel. I wish I'd been there. The driver started off by asking for someone nobody had heard of. My colleagues having heard a little of this saga suggested they might be looking for me and the Yodeller confirmed that was who he was looking for. He says he's coming back tomorrow. Oh joy!

Are there any takeaway lessons from this?

1. Don't buy from Sports Direct

Their Amazon site is very clear it will always involve Yodel
We have selected our courier partners Yodel on the basis of their success in meeting delivery guarantees. However we cannot be held responsible for the failure of the courier to meet such a guarantee.
2. Check with sellers if they use Yodel for deliveries and buy elsewhere if they do
3. Always escalate poor customer service to the top
4. Use the Internet to check on the reputation of those you are doing business with. Yodel have horror stories going back years,