Friday, 2 March 2018

How any baths would you actually like, sir?

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Alan)

I have been trying to order a new small bath for "Flamingo", (see previous post)

The cheapest firm I could find with reasonable customer reviews said it was on 3 to 4 day delivery, so I ordered and paid for it, (payment number 1). They then told me they couldn't after all supply for 10 weeks, so I requested a cancellation and a refund.

I then contacted another company, and made very specific inquiries that they definitely had it in stock - no problem, they said.   So I ordered and paid for it, (payment number 2). They then contacted me and said they had managed to sell the one they had, between my asking and them receiving my order, (a couple of hours only), and could not get another in for for 6 weeks, so I requested a cancellation and a refund.

So far then, I had fully paid for two baths that were claimed to be available, but was nowhere closer to having a bath to install.

I tried contacting several other suppliers, but none had stock - it seemed these had to come from the factory, and the factory can not supply at the current time.

In desperation I ordered a completely different bath from a third company, (payment number 3) - it wasn't quite as suitable, but was cheaper and would do.

So I had somewhat of a surprise when this turned up on a lorry today, because it was the type I had paid for and had been told I couldn't have for months (twice). The van was from a plumbing supply company I didn't know to be involved, and the driver had no paperwork to give any clue as to which of the two companies who had said they could not supply had now actually managed to by an unexpected route.  (It couldn't be the final bath I had ordered, being the wrong type).

It took a fair amount of detective work, and quite a few phone calls to locate the company who's van had delivered.  Initially they insisted they do not deliver on behalf of other companies, but, after keeping my cool rather more than I felt like keeping it, I finally managed to get them to do enough looking on their systems to see that my company number 2 above had asked them to deliver directly to me on their behalf.

An apologetic man at company number 2 took several sharp intakes of breath, and kept muttering "it's supply chain you see", or "I don't know how some people actually manage to get themselves up, dressed, and go to work in the morning".  I said I sympathised, but now as potentially going to end up with 2 baths!

Anyway I now had the bath we initially wanted, but was told I couldn't have.  So I tried to cancel the third bath ordered.   I was told it was already dispatched, and we could face carriage charges of up to £80 as they attempt to retrieve it back to their depot.  I wasn't a happy bunny, but obviously they are the one company in three who had not got things wrong, and it seemed unfair to be cross with them when it was the other companies that had caused the problem.  Fortunately they have since rung me and said it had not got very far, and I will probably not be charged.

I would actually have liked to be a fly on the wall at company number 2, but I don't suppose I will ever know quite what went on here.

At the moment my credit card account shows I have paid for three baths, but I currently only have one.  I suspect I'll be making more phone calls!
Incidentally, purchasing a wash basin, mounted on a cabinet, (from a different company again), has fortunately proved far less problematic.  They said they had stock - they did have stock, and it has been delivered undamaged!

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