In recent months at home we have been having quite a lot of work done to make the house more pleasant. This has involved dealing with various tradesmen and retailers. I like to think that I choose both carefully, but as experience has shown using the ‘market leader’ isn’t always the best approach…
I have established a relationship with an excellent plumber, a small builder and a kitchen installer. All 3 are great to deal with and do a first rate job – they are also sole traders.
I am not sure why but we decided to use John Lewis (JL) for flooring, curtains and blinds, the flooring has been done in 2 stages; Stage one was the kitchen, it wasn’t totally pain free but the job was completed well (more down to the self employed fitters). But I did have issues with J L and they paid me compensation – enough said.
This week my living room floor should have been laid – it’s timber and needs a fitter to install it. Initially we were told fitting would be 4 weeks from order, but then when we accepted the quote it became 8 weeks! That was also after they found the flooring they had sold us wasn’t actually made any more…A conversation with JL got fitting down to a more acceptable 5 weeks, which was up this week. All should therefore be fine – except it isn’t.
The flooring has been delivered but the fitter couldn’t actually lay the floor as it needs a levelling screed – something that JL should have checked (but didn’t) when they quoted. The fitter was great about it and we are now being fitted in a couple of weeks. But, JL initially wanted me to pay for the screed that they missed – suffice to say after a ‘conversation’, they are now paying for it!
This isn’t our only issue with JL in recent weeks though, we have also had problems with the curtain and blind orders. The process has dragged on for at least a month longer than it should have done due to initial sample requests not being processed and then the order papers not being sent through to the booking office from the shop. Again not what you expect from JL.
So all in all a fairly poor performance from JL, not according to them what they aim for in customer care, but as they say – three strikes and you are out. They won’t be getting any big orders from me in future, I will use local traders and retailers who are recommended to me.
It seems that whatever we try to do in this country to ‘move forward’ we always come up against people who are ‘anti’. At the larger end of the scale it might be HS2 or wind farms off the coast, at the local level it could be new development – and this is the drive behind this blog….
I live in West Bridgford, it is a very pleasant suburb of Nottingham and has been voted (as part of Rushcliffe) as one of the more desirable places to live in the UK – all good news so far. It also has a very busy and successful retail area based around Central Avenue. This area has seen significant changes in the last few years, a number of restaurants and bars have opened and it is now somewhere that attracts out of area dinners and drinkers. This is positive in my view as it brings money into the town.
There is however an element of the local (and not so local?) population who are quite vocal about not wanting change, this manifested itself most vocally a few years ago when M&S were looking to open in the town. Much was said against them, but they got planning and are now a well used and dare I say it popular addition (even from those anti initially?) to the town.
Moving forward a few years to today we have the issue of the two new retail units behind the Halifax on Central Avenue – a piece of almost invisible land which added nothing to the area, but was next to the croquet green (as the area of grass between Central Avenue and the car-park is known). The planning application for this has just been approved (quite rightly in my view). But it has caused huge bad feeling and comment – particularly from those who love the farmers market that uses the croquet lawn a couple of times a month.
All I would say to those opposed to the development is think long term, the market could move on and is in real terms a minor addition to the life of the town centre. Traders who take a formal lease on a shop unit are committing long term to the town and have a vested interest in its success. Yes, we potentially have an issue over tenant mix in the town (as most towns do) with too many charity shops and numerous coffee shops and the like. But who causes the demand for these operators? The market as a whole, in effect those who are against the development in the first place!
Perhaps it is time for the country as a whole to have a good hard look at itself and accept that we cause the changes in the market – so we can’t (and shouldn’t) complain when development occurs, especially when it is small and local as in the case of this one. Time to deal with our ‘not in my back yard’ issues……
My Mercedes has finally made it into Mercedes Nottingham for the next 2 to 3 day’s. I have been shown the list of checks to be made on the car whilst at the dealers and it is about 10 pages long! It is nice to know that this is being done, but the results then have to go to Germany and then I assume we wait…..
While I am on the subject of waiting (which you tend to do a lot of at certain car dealerships) I would love someone to explain to me why the ‘premium’ car brands believe that greeting you and then sitting you down to wait for ages before you get dealt with is ‘good service’? Previous experience at ‘lesser’ dealerships was far quicker and less stressful – Marshalls Volvo being a classic example, quick, friendly and efficient.
Yesterday it took 40 minutes for me to drop off my car and collect a courtesy car – the dealership wasn’t busy, so what was going on behind those closed doors while I was waiting?
I have been a bit busy recently , hence the lack of activity on this blog. I was also intending to try to ‘positive blog’ rather than complain – sadly my first blog for a while is a complaint….
I have blogged previously about the elusive issue on my Mercedes – Inchcape Nottingham have had it in to try and rectify the issue now more times than I care to remember – it’s not 12 months old yet but knows the dealership very well. To date they have failed to solve the problem despite input from Germany. I have unfortunately had to chase them a few times to get things moving – not something I feel I should have to do, especially as this is supposed to be a ‘quality car’.
Today however they have excelled themselves……
My car was booked in for a 3 day visit, the ‘German connection’ had deemed this necessary to deal with the problem (although I have no idea what they are proposing to do). This was all arranged a couple of weeks ago and a courtesy car was to be provided. I rang yesterday to check on things and was told that I would get a call later that day to sort things out for today…… no call was forthcoming.
I put the lack of a call down to the way the garage generally do things – slowly – and thought no more of it. Last night I cleared out my car, found my licence and made sure I was ready to drop the car off at 8.15. Then at 7.47 I got the text above (names removed to protect the ‘innocent’) – I wasn’t impressed!
If the engineer is off all week one assumes he is on holiday and that was known when I booked my car in? Also why couldn’t I be told this earlier in the week or as a minimum the day before when I rang? And a text? What ever happened to the telephone – or are they hiding?
Bottom line – really very unimpressed.
Regular readers may be aware of my ongoing issue with my Mercedes – it has an intermittent fault with the trip computer, it’s not life threatening, but it is annoying and it should be right! The car has now been in the garage for 6 days since its delivery at the start of October – an amount of time that I am sure Mercedes themselves wouldn’t expect on a car this young (in fact if you assume an annual visit it shouldn’t happen until its sixth birthday).
After the cars last visit the matter was raised directly with Mercedes in Germany, I was told that this might even involve a visit from a German engineer! However the first act of the German connection was to send a bespoke software download for my car (and only my car). It would apparently sort out my issue once and for all…..
Sadly this was not the case, some issues were apparently had installing it and it failed as I was leaving the dealership. So we are now back in the hands of the German engineers. Perhaps I will get a visit from Germany after all!
I am a big fan of free WIFI, it is something that is becoming increasingly common (especially in the USA) and is slowly appearing in UK shops and restaurants. However there a certain environments where a charge is still made – basically if you are ‘captive’. An example of this is when on a train, in this example an East Midlands train from London to Nottingham.
The mobile phone signal on this rail line is legendary for it poor signal which drops out or is very slow in many areas. So a wireless connection would be an excellent idea, and one that the operator has embraced. As expected it is a charged for service unless you are travelling in First Class…..
I haven’t tried it previously as I normally travel ‘coach’ but this last weekend I travelled First for the slow journey back from London – I was looking forwards to the free wifi to help pass the time and get some work done.
But once I logged on the novelty was short lived – the speed was no better than a GPRS connection on a mobile phone (and that is prehistoric in terms of speed). But even worse was that it didn’t even show any connection much of the time. So as usual I tethered my iPad to my iPhone and used that connection, not ideal and it dropped out regularly – but at least it worked.
If I had paid for the wifi however I would not have been impressed, it may only be a few quid for 3 hours, but it is the principle. If you are going to offer a service it should at least work, and this just doesn’t. So perhaps instead of offering free breakfast on morning trains to first class passengers East Midland Trains aught to perhaps look at providing a wifi service that actually works?
I blogged just before Christmas about my ‘fun’ at the local Mercedes dealership, suffice to say there was a ‘bit of a cock up’, but things were arranged to sort the mistake out. There was also an assumption that the part that we had been waiting for (for over a month) would have solved my problem with the trip computer.
Sadly I have to report that it hasn’t – so when the car goes back in a few days time to have the correct colour display installed I will have to tell them that the problem still exists. To be honest I can’t wait as this is getting to be a good game!
Something also tells me that this problem isn’t going to be solved anytime soon – but at least my car will be getting plenty of ‘washes’ and ‘hoover outs’ while it goes in for them to ‘sort the problem’.
There is always a silver lining……