Monday, January 30, 2006

From pillar to post ...

... or "Every little helps, Reprise" Reprise.

FYI I enclose the following:

a copy of an email from me to Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy;
a response from Tesco Customer Service.

Dear Mr Leahy

I am contacting you to explain about a problem I had with your organisation before Christmas. I am a longstanding customer and for our income, which is limited, we spend a lot with you.

In February last year my husband, aged 42, suffered his first stroke and was in hospital for about a month. I don't drive and we live in a second floor council flat with our three children (one of whom is a toddler): having Tesco deliver our shopping seemed like the ideal solution.

Some of the drivers were reluctant to bring stuff up the stairs and I contacted customer service in Dundee to make sure that I was right in assuming groceries should be delivered to my door. I was assured that they should. Over the next few weeks while XXXX was recovering we continued to use the service but some of the drivers were obviously so reluctant to bring shopping up the stairs that as soon as XXXX was able to help me, we stopped having the shopping delivered.

In September, after making an almost complete recovery, XXXX had an even more serious stroke and was in hospital until mid November. We'd had a flyer asking us to come back to and though I was reluctant to do this given the way I was made to feel, I felt like I had no option. On the first or second occasion (in November) the driver stated he wasn't bringing the shopping up the stairs - I said I'd clarified the matter with customer service and would he deliver it to the door please. He brought it up the stairs and though he was not rude, was obviously furious.

I had more shopping delivered without any problems until 13 December when a driver I believe to be the one just cited buzzed the security buzzer. I said I would let him in and he said not to bother as I would have to come and collect the shopping. I said I couldn't and he said I would have to as he was not bringing it up the stairs. I explained my husband's health problems (we are now due to be rehoused because of the severity of the stroke) and said that we needed our shopping delivered. He then stated that he was not coming in as a hypodermic syrringe had been reported in the building and that customer service knew all about it. He gave me the number of the local store to ring. He was rude, confrontational and very abrupt from the outset of the conversation.

I rang customer services at Real-Life-Tesco-Store and the first lady I dealt with said he should have delivered to the door and she knew nothing about the driver's complaint. I then phoned Plymouth City Council to try and ascertain if the complaint had been made to them. I spoke to various different departments none of whom knew anything about such a complaint at my address. The final department I spoke to was the Street Cleansing emergency response team who actually go out and clean syrringes up. The manager there stated that to his knowledge there had never been anything of that nature collected from the address.

While I was on the phone, XXXX (or perhaps XXXX - I'm sorry I can't
remember) XXXXXX phoned and asked me to ring her back which I duly did.
She explained that your terms and conditions meant that the driver only had to deliver to the external door of the property if there were health and safety contraindications. I explained my conversations with the council and she said that would not compel her driver to deliver to me. She said she was passing the matter on to head office who would contact me.

XXX XXXXX left a message on my answerphone to say an email was on its way and asking me to contact him. I tried to contact Miss XXXXXX to say I wanted the orders (I'd only that morning placed my order for Christmas) cancelled but only got through to a delivery driver - when I asked to speak to Miss XXXXXX about an outstanding complaint and said I was Mrs XXXXXX, he said "Oh, you're number 7" he said she wasn't there so I decided to deal with Mr XXXXX.

The email never turned up but he rang back and spoke to my husband the following day while I was at work with the information that we were now boycotted by all of your Real-Life-Tesco-Store drivers because of the smell of urine in the lobby.

I rang Mr XXXXX back the following day to clarify the situation. I said what I was most upset about was not the non-delivery but the way I had been treated and it was that I wanted addressed - I'm working with the local council to try and resolve the issues in our lobby which are caused by others. I couldn't blame people for not wanting to come in to the building - I don't most days.

Mr XXXXX said that if I lived more locally he would come and see me personally but as that could not happen he would pass the matter back to Real-Life-Tesco-Store for them to deal with. I asked him to ensure that the order was cancelled and that however the matter was resolved, I wouldn't want any of the drivers delivering to me as I felt completely humiliated by the whole experience.

I'm sorry to be so long-winded about this but I have received only one communication from Real-Life-Tesco-Store - a receipt (the type they bring with your delivery) at the top it merely states "we are sorry you are unhappy with the following items".

I had expected some kind of goodwill gesture for the upset and distress I have been made to feel in the course of spending money with your company, at the very least an apology.

We continue to shop with Tesco - I believe that the boycott, whilst able to be sustained by the poor environment in my lobby, was basically about one person's unwillingness to bring shopping up some stairs. I enjoy shopping with you, we like using our reward points to save for Christmas and want to go on shopping with you.

I would like a proper apology for the hurt and humiliation I now feel. My husband's health, our at times appalling environment and caring for my family and myself are enough to worry about without being made to feel like a pariah.

Yours sincerely

After some time (original sent 7 January) I received this on Saturday evening.

Dear Mrs Sheweevil

Thank you for your email addressed to Sir Terry Leahy. As Sir Terry is away from the office at the moment I have been asked to respond on his behalf.

I was very concerned to learn of the problems you have axperienced with our Grocery Home Shopping service and that your delivery driver was unwilling to make a delivery to you. I was also concerned to hear that you have yet to receive a response from the Real-Life-Tesco-Store as promised.

I would like to advise that we expect all our staff to treat customers with respect and to approach any difficult situations with tact and discretion. When the condition of the communal access to your address became a cause for concern I would have expected the driver to discuss this in a polite and friendly manner with yourself and explain the concerns they have about making the deliveries.

We would then expect our driver to bring this to the attention of the Home Shopping Manager and discuss with them the justifications for their concerns that to continue making a delivery would pose a risk to their personal health and safety. The Home Shopping Manager should then arrange to assess the situation directly and act accordingly.

The Home Shopping Manager should contact the customer and advise them of the reasons that it will no longer be possible for them to receive a delivery at that address, if it is felt there is a risk to the health and safety of the driver or store staff.

While I am sure you can appreciate the reasons taken by the store to no longer deliver to your address, I am sincerely sorry this has been handled in such a poor and insensitive manner that has caused you so much inconvenience and upset.

I have contacted the store and asked that they write to you as promised and issue their own apologies fro the poor traetment you have received from their staff.

I do hope, that despite the inconvenience and distress already suffered, you will accept my sincere apologies and that you will give us the opportunity to restore your confidence in our services.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to contact us.
If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us at quoting TESXXXXXXXXX.
Kind Regards

Tesco Customer Service

Obviously I have changed names but what do you think? I will have to wait and see if there is anything from the store involved - but how long do I wait?


Cheryl said...

By the sounds of this they have breached their own home delivery policy. If that policy is laid out in writing to the customer as a contract of service, anywhere (terms and cons on the Tesco website, anywhere) then you have room to get nasty.

Four weeks?

But then what, if they don't answer?

She Weevil said...

They have a get out for this - a health and safety coverall - I got another email this morning saying they had contacted the store involved and they will ( how very gracious of them) bring the shopping to the external door. I wrote back saying I am so humiliated by this all, that I don't want any of the drivers coming here - I just want an apology and some kind of recompense for the anguish caused.

I'd already stated this in the first email - grrrrrrr!

Badaunt said...

Four weeks? Cheryl, you're too kind. No more than two.

But the health and safety coverall get out - surely they have to have a valid, provable REASON, and you've already checked, and there isn't one. Unless they can prove that there is a real health and safety concern (aside from pure laziness) surely they can't cite that as a reason, just on the whim of a driver?

Ally said...

I'm with Badaunt on this one. It sounds to me like they're being held hostage by their delivery drivers, who are having a one-out, all-out temper-tantrum. Not acceptable and it does deserve prompt apology and/or action, not a begrudging offer to continue to do exactly what they were wanting to do anyway.

Erin Monahan said...

so, the smell of urine is a health risk now? Damn, we mothers will all die early deaths after changing diapers for all our children eh?

Sounds to me like one driver started all this due to pure laziness - when he figured out you weren't easily put-off or gotten over, he applied the health and safety clause, which doesn't ACTUALLY cover the smell of urine, does it? I mean come on, they might have to smell it, but it isn't as if anyone's asking them to swim in it or anything. Cripes.

People are such asses.

Anyway, how are you Fiona? I haven't been here in a good while and just wanted to stop in and say hello. Hope that (other than some idiot delivery driver who needs to feel empowered) things are going well for you and your family.

tesco_edinburgh said...

Im a tesco driver based in Edinburgh, we always deliver to the customers door, regardless of weight or difficulties. Sounds like these guys in Dundee are annoyed with the system and are using you to prove a point. But it is at the drivers discretion on whether or not he wants to enter anyones premises as drivers have been threaten in the past, but this is based on individual circumstances. The real issue surrounds Tesco's itself in obtaining as much money as possible from this service. In Edinburgh as in all towns/cities you have been given very little time to deliver the shopping, resulting in bad backs for the drivers. Think about it a driver delivers 4 or 5 orders an hour, usually to the top floor carrying anything up to 260kgs, its a hard job and the company doesnt do anything to make it easier. Maybe some of these drivers are tired, sore and feel unloved. You click online order your goods but no-one considers what these guys have to do to get it to you, there is a lot of stress involved in trying to keep you all happy and when we get back to store, there is another van waiting for us to take out. However the way you have been treated doesnt surprise me, because they are too big now, they make too much money. They say one thing and mean another. Seemingly Sainsburys do exactly the same thing by dropping at the bottom of the stairs or refusing to go into peoples houses.
Personally, I put it in the kitchen if they want, stopping at the cupboards, as there is no point having it delivered and paying a charge when you have to carry it to the kitchen.
Move to Edinburgh or East Lothian, you will find a better service here, we even occasionally smile!!