I've written a letter to B&Q. It's not a nice letter, but it's a necessary letter. This is what the letter to a national DIY chainstore says.
I am writing to you to tell you the tale of woe both myself and my wife have suffered since we made the decision to replace our internal doors and chose to use your store.
We began by looking through the catalogue you provided of internal and external doors and windows. We found the ones we like - the Elveden range - and decided to buy 5 wood panel doors, and one glazed door as well.
Following our selection we then proceeded to your website to start to place a home order (after all, trying to fit 6 doors into a family car would not be feasible). It all started really well. We quickly found the doors on your website and ordered them. 5 standard sized wooden panel doors, and one standard sized glazed door. Next we moved onto the handles. We were wanting satin nickel effect handles and found them in 3 packs. Perfect! We could order the handles we wanted in 2 handy packs. For the bathroom door we wanted a lock, and so ordered a bathroom door lock, and a separate pack containing "bathroom handles". Finally we ordered enough nickel effect hinges so that we could use three hinges per door to ensure that the doors would be held in position well.
As soon as we had selected these items and proceeded to the check out area of the website. The home delivery option for the doors was greyed out. It seemed as though we could have home delivery for the handles / latches / hinges (the items that we could quite easily fit into a car), but could not select home delivery for the doors themselves (the actual items that we really needed to delivered to us). We tried again - several times - but could not obtain a "home delivery" option on the doors
We gave in. We printed out our "order" and, accepting that the internet had beaten us, headed to the nearest physical store to place the order manually. Finally the order was placed, using the old fashioned method of asking a member of staff, and a delivery date arranged for the Easter holidays. Wonderful!
Feeling jubilant that the doors and fixtures were coming on a set date, we arranged times with a local joiner for him to begin fitting the doors. Everything seemed to be moving along nicely.
The Easter holidays arrived, and a day before the due delivery date, we were text messaged giving a rough time of when the delivery would arrive (nice touch that - very useful).
Delivery day arrived, and so did the B&Q lorry. Five panelled doors were brought into the house, followed by a glazed door, and then the fittings. Well, *most* of the fittings. Once of the delivery staff pointed out to me that one item on the order sheet was missing. The hinges. Aside from the doors themselves, probably the most important items needed to fit doors.
Oh, and the delivery order did not mention the six doors at all. The delivery staff had to manually write those onto the order to show that they had arrived. They also then highlighted the hinges and wrote in big letters "MISSING". No chance of missing that message then! I was told to visit the store and see whether the missing items were still "in the back" there.
So, off I went for my second visit to the nearest store in order to find our hinges. I queued at customer services. I queued, and queued, and queued. I'm sure the seasons changed whilst I was stood in that queue, before I finally reached the front of the line, and spoke to a member of staff. They couldn't help me. They directed me to the hardware section as they would know more.
Were the customer services computers not connected to the ordering computers then? Was it impossible for customer services to look and see where my hinges were?
Off I trotted to the hardware section, and eventually I found a member of staff and explained the situation to them. They looked on the computer, and confirmed that those items were not sent in the delivery to me (as if I didn't know that), and then told me that the computer said there were six packs in the store. Of course there were six items in store - they were the six packs that we had ordered in for our doors! The member of staff went out to the back of the store looking for those six packs, and about ten minutes later returned. Empty handed. Apparently those six packets could not be found. The delivery drivers would be asked to look for them when they returned, and then bring them to me the next day. If they couldn't be found, I would be phoned and told, and new hinges ordered.
I left the store empty handed.
The next day arrived. And ended too. There was no B&Q delivery. There was no B&Q phone call either.
For several days afterwards there was still no delivery, but I did receive a phone call. A very nice lady asked me about my order. She asked me whether I had received the doors, as they were not written on the order. I told her I had, but I also told her I had not received the hinges listed on the order. She seemed confused at this, and told me that someone would ring me about this the following day.
Guess what - nobody did ring me the following day, or the days after that either. It was becoming a bit of a joke waiting for the non-existant B&Q phone call.
In the meantime, the day that the joiner was supposed to be fitting the doors was getting closer. And still there were no hinges for him to use. In the end, we had to ring him and tell him the problem. Fortunately, he was able to source similar hinges to those we had ordered. He arrived with hinges and began hanging the doors.
Three doors went up during his first visit. Once the doors were up, he went to fit the handles and latches. However, there was another problem. There were no latches. The latches were in the same packs as the hinges. With B&Q not delivering those packs, the latches had not arrived either.
The joiner, once again, had to head off and source the latches himself before he could carry on.
The second visit from the joiner was intended for him to complete the fitting of the last three doors - including the bathroom door. The doors went up without problems, and the handles began to be fitted. That is until he reached the bathroom. We had ordered a bathroom lock, and a bathroom door handle. What had arrived was a bathroom lock and door handle with a keyhole, not a privacy lock. As the bathroom lock had no keys with it, the handles were basically useless. The door handles could not be fitted. The joiner left, unable to do anymore until we had the correct handles.
I looked on the B&Q website for a bathroom handle, in the nickel effect, with the same style as the other handles, and the lock we needed. The picture showed them clearly. Two handles, with the privacy lock we needed too. There it was - here.
On the evening of April 12th I went to collect my "Handle with Bathroom Lock Nickel coloured" - look at the reservation form below. It states it clearly.
However, once I received the pack, I noticed a problem. There was no lock in it. I went straight back to customer services and queried with it them.
They looked online, and they too could see the lock in the image. But they couldn't explain why there was no lock in the pack. Their solution - I should go to the hardware department and ask them.
For the second time, I trotted off from customer services to hardware in search of a member of staff. I found "Jake", and told him the problem. He didn't believe me! I showed him the writing on the reservation form. He looked at the order number. I pointed out there was no lock. He then went and found a nickel effect privacy lock, before going to find a manager. "Jake" explained the problem to the manager. The manager said that he couldn't do anything today. It needed to go to head office to be discussed. I pointed out the joiner was returning this very evening to complete the bathroom door. The manager then kindly offered to let me buy the lock!!!
Seeing I was getting extremely annoyed now the manager offered to sell the lock at "cost price" - something I was only willing to do if I could be refunded the following day once head office had been contacted.
So, we finally have the correct door handle. We have the correct privacy lock. And soon I hope to have them fitted onto the bathroom door. But that isn't the end of my tale of woe.
We still have six packs of hinges and latches that have not turned up. I need to take another trip to B&Q to cancel those and get my money back. We also have a "bathroom" handle that we don't need as it was the wrong item that was sent. I need to return to customer services and get my money back for that item too. Oh, and I need to get my "cost price" lock refunded. That will be another trip to customer services too.
I have to be honest, and say that B&Q have not looked professional during this sorry tale of incompetence. I will be looking at other companies for the next stages of our DIY work in the near future, as I cannot face another farcical service from a national company.
I hope that lessons can be learnt from the (many) mistakes made during our attempt to purchase and fit internal doors. I doubt that they will though.