This is the extract of my formelylodged complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Sadly they have candidly informed me that they are seeing a high number of complaints at the moment.
I shudder at the thought that a large majority of these complaints might be related to mine.
It is mind-bungling,
tell us about your complaint - what happened?
I recently hired a carpet cleaner, from DSS, to wash the carpets at my home. I have attached the receipts for you to see. After washing my carpets, I tried to vacuum it, without realising that the carpets were still wet with water, consequently, my existing Vacuum Cleaner became in inoperative as it became defective from water damage. Hence my need for a new vacuum cleaner. I ordered a new Vacuum Cleaner from Argos, online, via the Argos Website, using my Argos Credit Card. This Credit Card is provided by the "Home Retail Group Card Services". This item was sent to my work address, as requested, as I work Monday to Friday, and I am also paid daily, as an IT consultant, with my current rate at £420 per day. Details of my paid invoices enclosed. Hence it is not feasible for me to stay home and receive packages as it is a great expense for me, in lost earnings. I have had no issues in the past receiving items at my workplace, as:-
1: I have received items from Argos previously at the same location.
2: The Post Room in my work location is secured by 3 layers of security. One needs to get past THREE DOORS that will a Swipe-Card only those with the right permissions can enter, and also the Post Room is constantly monitored by CCTV and by ever-present long-term employees.
All in all, Argos didn't deliver the Vacuum Cleaner I ordered. I ordered a Dyson V11 Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner (Catalogue code 930/1061, price £599.99). Argos delivered to me a Russel Hobbs brand costing about £40. A brand that they don't even stock.
I contacted Argos immediately I got home and opened the packaging and looked at what was inside after my partner has assembled it and used it briefly. She complained it was quite substandard for a £599 Vacuum Cleaner. This made me take a closer look at the brand. I checked and realised it was a Russel Hobbs model. I googled the brand and model and found out it was around £40 or less. I can't remember exactly now. I promptly contacted Argos and asked for a recollection and a refund. The packaging, when I removed the brown box it came with, looked like it had also been previously opened as there was not even a manual or warranty card inside.
I contacted Argos immediately, cancelled the order and requested for a collection. The collection was arranged on the 19th Of September 2019
Argos duly collected the item back on the 19th Of September 2019.
I then went into, my nearest Argos store, to buy a vacuum cleaner, in person, on the 24th of September. My fate in the online service of Argos was very low at this point. I wanted to inspect what I am buying. Lo and behold, even at the store, the Vacuum Cleaner I order seemed to have been opened before and used. I requested for another one with unopened packaging. I bought a Miele C3 Complete Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner (Catalogue code 717/3851, price £249.99) and 3 Miele GN Hyclean 3D Efficiency Dust Bags - Pack of 8 (Catalogue code: 739/4616, price £53.97). I am happy with my Miele purchase, as I have been happy with all my other Argos purchases. I am not happy though that Argos is refusing to admit any responsibility for not delivering what I had ordered, and I am also extremely unhappy that Home Retail Group Card Services is charging me £599.99 for this as Argos didn't deliver what I ordered. I have contacted Argos and Argos seems to think it is their word against mine. Argos is claiming they didn't do anything wrong and wouldn't refund my money back to me. Of a particularly distasteful nature, was the candid admission by an Argos representative, that “yes, a crime has taken place, and that it is Argos word against me".
I am the Director of an IT Consultancy firm, earning well over £130K annually, and work in sensitive areas. Some of my clients do insist on carrying out background checks on all their staff and Service Provider like myself hence I am particular fastidious about that as you can imagine, to the extent that I am almost paranoid of having a negative Credit Rating. I am was educated at Kings College London, and I have had well-paying jobs right from the moment I left college. I have absolutely no criminal records of any kind, whatsoever, of any kind; and I am not particularly enthusiastic about jeopardising my business and good name, and perhaps freedom, for a £599.99 Vacuum Cleaner. I have bought several items from Argos in the past with absolutely no issues like this, as you can see from my enclosed transaction history with Argos. I have a Credit Rating 998 out of 999 from Experian, and also, more than enough unused credit on my Argos Card (which has a zero balance for several months) to buy the Vacuum Cleaner in question 4 times over. I have also calmly explained to Argos (with photographs) the fact that it is highly unlikely that Post Room Staff at my workplace, would conjure up the chance, and opportunity to swap, a Dyson V11 Vaccum Cleaner with a Russel Hobbs brand and model, in a CCTV monitored Post Room, in the presence of managers and other colleagues. It takes a long stretch of the imagination to believe that it was the Post Room staff that did this. The item was not even within their possession for more than the 15mins it took me to finish what I was doing and collect it from the Post Room and keep under my desk, which I didn't leave for the duration of the day. So it is either that I am
how have you been affected - financially or otherwise?
Yes I have been financially affected by a loss of £599.99 which I am being asked to pay for an online item I bought that was not delivered to me, rather a brand and model costing around £40 was delivered to me. According to the Home Retail Group Card Services, they are going to charge me £599.99 for an item which was not what I ordered; as the item that Argos delivered to me was not what I ordered.
I am looking at £599.99 loss, at the very least. And more in Legal Costs should I need to pursue this in the courts. I am also looking at days lost pursuing this case. I have already taken a day off work to prepare my complaint to you, the Financial Ombudsman. I have spent several hours on harrowing telephone calls with Argos and Home Retail Group Card Services, being redirected pointlessly from one entity to the other, from one department to another, within the same entity; and sometimes within a different entity.
I want to be compensated for not only the financial loss I have suffered but also for the trauma and distress Argos has inflicted on me.
I have a credit rating of 998 out of 999 from Experian. Details enclosed. I am very fastidious on that as I believe it is a great asset for my business, in my line of work. You see I work I can charge rates between £400 to £550 per day, depending on the job details. My clients, sometimes do insist on doing checks on their suppliers, hence the fastidious approach to my credit ratings. Home Retail Group Card Services, for reasons, I cannot fully understand, has written to me that
1) I should pay for an item which did not want I ordered
2) I should pay for an item where there is a dispute over whether it is the word of Argos or mine that is more believable in terms of what was delivered to me despite the fact that they (Home Retail Group Card Services) must FULLY be aware of cases similar to mine where Argos have erred and delivered the wrong items to its customers.
3) That my Credit Rating would be affected if I don't start making payments towards. Am I truly mistaken in believing that this feels like daylight robbery? It is just plain unjust. And it would be like rubbing salt on an open wound.
I have provided details of my financial status to you and would be happy to provide absolutely any other information or document you need to verify the authenticity of my words, I am happy to provide statements and even character witnesses.
how would you like the business to put things right for you?
Spending my hard-earned money to buy a Vacuum Cleaner should not be a lottery on whether I get what I ordered or not. Or for anyone for that matter.
A lottery where instead of getting a £599.99 Vacuum Cleaner I now get a £40 Russell Hobbs model and brand. And accusations by Argos that I am lying. It shouldn't be a lottery for anyone. And it should definitely not been unpleasant.
I genuinely believe, from the news article you will see if you google the words "three-arrested-in-20-000-online-argos-fraud-probe-1-6424935" that yes, it is could be possible Argos collects returned items without checking and then pass that on to their customers. Argos might not think it is prudent or cost-efficient to do exhaustive checks, or Argos, maybe, meant even assume that, if say 0.25% of their returns are dubious, that they are happy to live with those numbers. Argos has made spending my hard-earned money, with them, a lottery on whether I get what I purchased because they purposely refuse to improve the working practices and security. It is a multi-million Pound retail giant, yet it can't and doesn't want to spend some of its earnings improving its operation. Argos, as you can tell from me enclosed correspondence, is far happier telling me they have conducted a 30mins investigation by their Internal Fraud Department, and have concluded that they delivered the right item to me. The arrogance in that statement is overwhelming. Please judge for yourself, and ask me to provide any further information, you need, on whether I have a need to defraud Argos of £599.99. I have already spent a further £303.96 buying another Vacuum Cleaner from the same ARGOS. I HAVE NOT RETURNED IT WITH A £30 Russel Hobbs version. Judging from what you see if you google "three-arrested-in-20-000-online-argos-fraud-probe-1-6424935" it would seem this is a recurring issue Argos must fully be aware of. If Argos is callous enough to resell returned items without checking the validity of what it is selling, that indeed would be a serious breach of all we hold dear. I am not in a position to determine how Argos deals with returns, however, I am drafting a complaint to Trading Standards and Other Consumer groups as we speak, for them to look into this and bring Argos to accounts if they are indeed that callous. It really would be callous of Argos if that was their internal procedures. Equally, I think it is also callous for Argos, to disregard my transaction history with them, to disregard my position in life, to accuse me of fraud; just because, I, on the 18th of September 2019, Argos, decided to replace, my damaged Vacuum Cleaner, by purchasing it via Argos. Argos, despite knowing there is a strong likelihood that I am a real victim, has instead opted for the far easier option of saying "We are not at fault". In order words, it is me that is at fault. Because the lottery of purchasing an online item from Argos has gone against me this time. And according to Argos, I am now a criminal. I think that is unfair. And I think it deserves Argos being brought to account. If their operational and security polices were efficient, I wouldn't be a victim. Why should I be a victim just because I decided to shop with Argos? Why?
Argos really needs to improve the way it handles returns. I should have opened the packaging immediately on delivery. Doing so would not have helped much though as I assume the delivery person might well have left most people by the time they have opened the packaging. All in all, I am a victim here and I want justice, a cancellation of the £599.99 bill on my Argos Credit Card; and also an apology from Argos. It is just horrible the way they have treated me. I know in my heart that I have bought a lot more from Argos than is showing on my online Argos Account. If I were to do a thorough search on payments to Argos on my debit cards, I am very sure I would have spent more than the £764.88 (£1,363.88 if you include the £599.99 in dispute) since Dec 2017 I referred to earlier. And I would still spend more in the future with the same retailer. Argos took a grand total of maybe 30 minutes to review my case and label my a criminal and let's not forget, saddle me with a £599.99 bill, for their failings. It is just unfair. They did just because they can. I have enclosed pictures of the secured Post Room I received this post from, I have enclosed details of my financial status, I have even enclosed details of PAST ORDERS WITH ARGOS THAT I AM VERY HAPPY WITH. Why would Argos suddenly label me a criminal and think I have a need to commit fraud on a £599.99 Vacuum Cleaner based on a few minutes rudimentary checks (assuming any checks at all were carried). All because I decided to order a Vacuum Cleaner online from Argos.