Managing Director = Poor Customer Service

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DrapedInDarkness

Distinguished Member
This is a very long post so please avoid it it may not be your type of thing, I've proofread it twice but spelling mistake are still possible, thank you any who make it through all of this.

As some if not most of you know by now, I've been dealing with the problems of long covid and one of the lesser problems but still annoying was the inability to ggo on my usual German holiday and make myself fatter gorging on amazing German food.

But the great thing was that a friend in Germany found a company in the UK called The Sausage Man and they were a wholeseller who switched to consumer sales during the crisis, my friend very generously sent me a box of their products roughly once a month since September (two as this is my birth month) and apart from small hiccups the service was generally very good and the food was the closest thingg to being in Germany.

There were some errors and not all were their fault, my second order was missing a product and the customer service was excellent with a voucher off my next order of triple the price of the missing item, one was quite late by the delivery driver and the last one actually went to the wrong address completely, for this delivery I was asked to walk to the other address hoping the parcel would still be there and pick it up, seven hours after delivery to the wrongg address!, When I politely pointed out this was not feasible they agreed to a new delivery the next day which came bright and early with no issues.

However my December delivery had a change of supplier not notified on the website for Schnitzels and the taste was not as good and they were very soggy, the MD replied personally and agreed they were very sogggy and gave me a £16 voucher to use for a future order, well we did not use it for the next two orders as we were saving it for when my friend was able to be here again as it was dateless, thhe last order was in February and this time they had changed the Frikadellen supplier again without notifying customers, the shape now resembled a normal hamburger and the consistency was like a sponge with a not so wonderful taste.

The MD again replied to me personally and told me that he would happily refund me, my friend in Germany was not so happy however as two changes without notification was making the orders meaningless so also wrote a message to the Sausage Man which was replied to by a member of staff who called asking for more information to help improve service and offered a discount voucher for the inconvenience, he then replied aain and pointed out that although he understood brexit and the pandemic had cost them and he understood the higher chargges to keep the business running, changing the suppliers for lower quality but same prices was not really fair and he pointed out that the suppliers he used were suppliers to low cost supermarkets in Germany.

This time he received a reply from the MD who had contacted me
"" I suggest that you and your friend Shane just stay away from us. We try our best, work 12-14 hours a day to make this online retail working and do not need complaining about nothing.

It really does not matter if the Frikadellen are flat or round and our Bratwurst has the same ingredients including milk and celery since about 8 year – absolutely no change there.

The Schnitzel are still very tasty and the Frikadellen taste better than ever. Just tried it last evening.

Just waste your time somewhere else – we really do not need anyone to tell us the address of our producer just to show off their investigation skills. I’m so tired of this.

Read our Trustpilot reviews and you’ll see how good our products are. And yes, pls write your own 1 star review. I really don’t care!""

I then contacted him again as he had still not replied to my acceptance of the refund saying I thought that was a bit agressive and pointing out we had made a few orders and had left glowing feedback for them previously, after no reply for three days I left a new review on trustpilot pointing out all the above.

This is my review and his reply.

""

Some great food let down by appalling customer service.


Very sad to leave such a negative feedback but the appalling customer service from an MD leaves me no choice.

There have been problems with some orders in 2020 but only one was a mistake by The Sausage Man, when an order was sent out not completely fulfilled, and one went to the wrong address and sent as a new delivery the next day, the customer service on both these occasions was fantastic, although I was asked to walk to where the misdelivery was initially.

But then from December and February this year, Two of my favourite products had supplier changes and for the first one back in December (Schnitzels) I was given a credit on to my account for the price paid £16, I then made a new order in February and the 2nd product (Frikadellen) had also changed and I was offered a refund which I gladly accepted, only I've never had a reply to my acceptance or a refund.

The MD then replied to my partner telling him that we should stay away from The Sausage Man.

So I have not received one refund and have a voucher that is now probably useless to me.

The MD went from very friendly to very aggressive despite telling that they want feedback to improve and admitting they changed suppliers without notifying customers on the site.

Please see excerpts from emails below.

""I read your comment about our Schnitzel and the new provider. Unfortunately the old provider could not produce enough before Christmas and we needed to find a replacement.

I agree that they are a little soggy but I still like to eat them. However, we plan to move back to the old producer as soon as the current stock is sold, which should be in about 2 months. My college Luke will inform you, when the new delivery from the old producer is available in the online store.

Here’s a voucher code for your next order in the value of the 2 pack Schnitzel (£16.00) you bought last time in December""

""The owner and the two md’s of the company are all German and we love our German food. We really try hard to maintain a high standard, but sometimes reality kicks in. And no, we try to keep the products as German as possible – the only thing is that we reduce salt a little bit as people here don’t like as much salt as in Germany.

Pls let me know which products were not up to you standard and I will happily refund you fully for them.

If you want to discuss this further, pls see below my phone number.""

""I suggest that you and your friend Shane just stay away from us. We try our best, work 12-14 hours a day to make this online retail working and do not need complaining about nothing.

It really does not matter if the Frikadellen are flat or round and our Bratwurst has the same ingredients including milk and celery since about 8 year – absolutely no change there.

The Schnitzel are still very tasty and the Frikadellen taste better than ever. Just tried it last evening.

Just waste your time somewhere else – we really do not need anyone to tell us the address of our producer just to show off their investigation skills. I’m so tired of this.

Read our Trustpilot reviews and you’ll see how good our products are. And yes, pls write your own 1 star review. I really don’t care!""

As you can see from the reply below the MD has now chosen to further insult me by confirming that there is not going to be a refund and he will remove the voucher too.

Reply from The Sausage Man
An hour ago
As I said before - the good thing is that you don't need to buy with us anymore. So, if you are unhappy just stay away. By the way, I'm closing your and your friends account.""


So basically a refund and voucher worth almost £30 has now been withdrawn by the seller, I'm not sure if that is even legal but I cannot afford to find out, so I really just wanted to vent a little bit, but would you expect such replies from an MD of a company that makes over £4.3m a year?
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
So you ordered stock in December and February, you received the product but complained you were unhappy with it as the supplier had changed.

The company then told you to not only keep the product but also offered a full refund on both orders. Unless the new product doesn't match the description, then I'd be very impressed they gave a full refund. I wouldn't have thought they are required to state their supplier in their description.

If you don't like the new supplier/product then I guess you'd need to find a different company, but from your description I think the company acted very farly?
 

DrapedInDarkness

Distinguished Member
So you ordered stock in December and February, you received the product but complained you were unhappy with it as the supplier had changed.

The company then told you to not only keep the product but also offered a full refund on both orders. Unless the new product doesn't match the description, then I'd be very impressed they gave a full refund. I wouldn't have thought they are required to state their supplier in their description.

If you don't like the new supplier/product then I guess you'd need to find a different company, but from your description I think the company acted very farly?

The taste was appalling and the products were thrown away, you do see that they have not refunded me at all though right?

The refund was offered but not made and the voucher is gone as they have closed the accounts, not sure why anybody would accept a different product than the one they ordered as normal?

Seven orders placed at a much higher cost than the refunds promised £30 from £330 and no rudeness from me at all.
 

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Harkon321

Well-known Member
That's a fair point about no refund. I felt that, if they refunded you the full cost then that was a fair outcome. If the products were no longer to taste or standard expected then use elsewhere. I agree you've not been rude throughout but dealing with customers is often a thankless task and it might have just been one complaint too far. I agree that at the very least they should have processed the refund.
 

nvingo

Distinguished Member
...you received the product but complained you were unhappy with it as the supplier had changed.

The company then told you to not only keep the product but also offered a full refund on both orders. Unless the new product doesn't match the description, then I'd be very impressed they gave a full refund. I wouldn't have thought they are required to state their supplier in their description.
Sainsbury/Tesco home delivery:
"We no longer source our baked beans from Heinz; we have sent you Cross & Blackwell beans instead but are charging you the price of Heinz baked beans."

Customer:
"But I don't like Cross & Blackwell baked beans, I ordered from you because you promised to send me Heinz baked beans (or this is what I expected you to supply given it's what I received on a previous order)."

Is this not equivalent to what the OP experienced? Is it an acceptable way for an online vendor to behave?
Does the phrase "bait & switch" mean anything?
 

Desmo

Distinguished Member
Some customers are just not worth the hassle. I'd have just refunded you and asked you to shop elsewhere.
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Sainsbury/Tesco home delivery:
"We no longer source our baked beans from Heinz; we have sent you Cross & Blackwell beans instead but are charging you the price of Heinz baked beans."

Customer:
"But I don't like Cross & Blackwell baked beans, I ordered from you because you promised to send me Heinz baked beans (or this is what I expected you to supply given it's what I received on a previous order)."

Is this not equivalent to what the OP experienced? Is it an acceptable way for an online vendor to behave?

I'm not familiar with the products nor the product description, so am unable to give an opinion if it was similar.

In your example, Tesco would either ask for the product back and give you a full refund, or allow you to keep the product - even if the replacement product cost more. If I was sent the product and it was listed on the receipt, they would let me keep it and refund me anyway (from my experience).

That is why I said the description is important. If it doesn't state a supplier, I'm not sure what obligation they have. Ultimately a refund would have been good customer service and that would be the end of it. The issue is that a refund was promised and didn't materialise.
 

Inked

Distinguished Member
Sainsbury/Tesco home delivery:
"We no longer source our baked beans from Heinz; we have sent you Cross & Blackwell beans instead but are charging you the price of Heinz baked beans."

Customer:
"But I don't like Cross & Blackwell baked beans, I ordered from you because you promised to send me Heinz baked beans (or this is what I expected you to supply given it's what I received on a previous order)."

Is this not equivalent to what the OP experienced? Is it an acceptable way for an online vendor to behave?
Does the phrase "bait & switch" mean anything?
To a point, but it seems more like what is happening in this instance is he is buying generic unbranded beans (or at least the retailer is not specifying exactly what brand will be received by the purchaser) and they have changed the supplier of the beans they use which are of lesser quality.
He is still receiving unbranded beans, at the price agreed but the supplier of the product to the retailer has changed.

Not really a bait and switch unless specifics are given which it doesn’t sound like they are.
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Some customers are just not worth the hassle. I'd have just refunded you and asked you to shop elsewhere.

Agree, a company turning over £4.3M per year will often have to part ways with a customer that is just too much hassle.

Issues with delivery whilst the responsibility of the supplier, are not the fault of the supplier.

The issues trying to run a business during COVID are immense and I can imagine the MD had just had enough.

The Sausage Man has a 4.9 rating with 5736 reviews on Trustpilot.
With that good pedigree, sometimes you just have to let customers go who are more trouble than they are worth.

Also, the product in question, it does not state where they buy them from.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
It sounds like it was civilised and congenial until the German friend stepped in and told them they were supplying crap from Lidl and Aldi. I don't imagine that went down very well.
 

rousetafarian

Moderator
It sounds like it was civilised and congenial until the German friend stepped in and told them they were supplying crap from Lidl and Aldi. I don't imagine that went down very well.
Maybe he will post his side?
 

nvingo

Distinguished Member
In your example, Tesco would either ask for the product back and give you a full refund, or allow you to keep the product - even if the replacement product cost more. If I was sent the product and it was listed on the receipt, they would let me keep it and refund me anyway (from my experience).
I wasn't alluding to what 'Tesco' would do, just to 'the customer's' feeling were Tesco to do what the subject company did.

We don't know the 'cost' of the replacement, other than that the subject company are charging the same for it; what we do know is the customer perception that the replacement (at the same cost) is inferior.
 

DrapedInDarkness

Distinguished Member
The Schnitzels are a branded product and the replacement was clearly inferior even to the point the MD acknowledged that they were soggy but he still liked them, not like he is going to admit they tasted worse.

The Frikadellen looked like this
Frikadellen old.jpg


Big thick and absolutely delicious and then came the replacement which looked like a thin hamburger and ended up in the bin as it was like trying to eat a meaty sponge, made me feel very ill.

Sausageman2.JPG



The Tesco analagy is a good one, a changed supplier/brand is always noted and you have the chance of refusal/refund, here I've been offered it and then had it rejected.
 

DrapedInDarkness

Distinguished Member
Maybe the covid is screwing with your taste buds?

I did genuinely consider that, but the other products still tasted as delicious as usual, as I stated I did already give them a five star review bemoaning that it was sad when they were eaten as it meant they were all gone.
 

DrapedInDarkness

Distinguished Member
I'll be honest and say I do not understand the whole some customers are too much trouble, I was polite and considerate, despite previous issues I remained polite and considerate, at no time did I ever ask nor demand a refund but it was always offered, this time it was offered and along with a voucher already issued both have been withdrawn.

Does the customer really not have the right of a polite complaint?
 

Inked

Distinguished Member
I'll be honest and say I do not understand the whole some customers are too much trouble, I was polite and considerate, despite previous issues I remained polite and considerate, at no time did I ever ask nor demand a refund but it was always offered, this time it was offered and along with a voucher already issued both have been withdrawn.

Does the customer really not have the right of a polite complaint?
Of course, but there comes a point where you are better off refusing service rather than constantly having to offer partial refunds, discounts on future orders etc because the same customer is always having issues.
 
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Ruperts slippers

Distinguished Member
It's very difficult to understand what it is you actually want.
The company have tried to be accommodating, this has failed your expectations. So they no longer wish to have you has a customer.
Complain, but he still has the right to terminate your relationship. Dealing with complaints take resources and time, he's called time on how much value he places on your custom.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
I remained polite and considerate
It would be interesting to see what your German friend actually said as it would seem that is the point at which the relationship soured and the MD told him he no longer wanted his or your business. Assuming we're reading it correctly.
 

DrapedInDarkness

Distinguished Member
It's very difficult to understand what it is you actually want.
The company have tried to be accommodating, this has failed your expectations. So they no longer wish to have you has a customer.
Complain, but he still has the right to terminate your relationship. Dealing with complaints take resources and time, he's called time on how much value he places on your custom.

Umm, the refund that was offered to me, he had offered to let me know when the original supplier was back in stock so I could use my voucher then, now I have neither refund nor voucher.
 

Inked

Distinguished Member
The Schnitzels are a branded product and the replacement was clearly inferior even to the point the MD acknowledged that they were soggy but he still liked them, not like he is going to admit they tasted worse.

The Tesco analagy is a good one, a changed supplier/brand is always noted and you have the chance of refusal/refund, here I've been offered it and then had it rejected.

Is this the schnitzel? I can see no info on branding on the website.
 

Ruperts slippers

Distinguished Member
I don't think you understand, this company doesn't want your money 'At any price'

The company has quite likely spent more resources/money than your original order was worth.

When we had customer issues, we could look up how long they'd been a customer, how much they'd spent and in the end, how much we valued that custom. Then make a decision whether to terminate that relationship.

We make our own schnitzels much nicer.
 

Desmo

Distinguished Member
I'll be honest and say I do not understand the whole some customers are too much trouble
When you're selling a relatively cheap product, probably with not a lot of profit on it, there comes a time when dealing with a customer is costing you money....you make nothing from it. Now the guy has tried to be accommodating and yes, you appear to have been polite enough with this. But he still wants to cut his losses and move on.
 
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