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customer service

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The Office Dealer


I am astonished at the absolutely appalling customer service I just got from The Office Dealer (the kicker is at the end). 

Here’s the story…

The order

As I do several times a year, I was ordering some A4 white ring-binders for Jenny’s HypnoBirthing practitioner training course, and searched around for the best deal. 

Thanks to Google Shopping, I found what seemed like a great deal at The Office Dealer – £3.88+ VAT and shipping, total £64.05 – and ordered them at (according to the order confirmation) 9:33am.

The cancellation

Then, just out of curiosity, I checked one of the other results from Google Shopping and realised they did free shipping and were actually slightly cheaper as well.  Being the economising type, I checked the terms and conditions of The Office Dealer website, which say here:

“4.1 If you wish to cancel your order:
(a) you can notify us by email to before we have dispatched the goods to you;”


So, for speed, I tried to ring them on the number listed here – and got a voicemail.  I left a message with the order reference and said I wanted to cancel. Not so great.  I also sent an email marked “Urgent cancellation of order”, at 9:51am (that’s just 18 minutes after the original order).

The response

At 1:13pm I got a voicemail saying the goods had been despatched and I could refuse the order but would still be liable for shipping.  Hmm.  Not good. 

Then I got an email at 2:19pm, that said:

Thanks for your message Gordon.

Your order has already been shipped, however you have my curiosity about finding the products cheaper.

Send me a link where you found the products cheaper and you can have the goods for nothing. We don’t claim to be the cheapest like everyone one else, when it comes to 5 STAR we are.

Please refuse the goods (Fedex).

You will still be charged the shipping charge, if the goods are signed for and we also have to uplift them we will also charge a 7.95 uplift fee.

I apologise for the charges, but that is how we keep prices low. Only the customer who makes the error has to pay.

Just send me the url where you found the products cheaper and I will do a full refund and the goods are yours Free of Charge, now that’s why we are called “The Office Dealer” can’t be any fairer than that.

Many Thanks
Bill Gray

Not a great response but a very kind offer.  I forwarded the order confirmation from the other company, and asked for confirmation that my printer (who would be receiving the binders) could accept them and pass them to me free of charge.

What happened next was what I found so appalling…

How The Office Dealer managed to totally destroy their customer service image

At 4:46pm I got a phone call from Bill.  Initially I thought it was good news (kinda) as he said he’d been able to put a stop on the order.

Seeing as he’d offered, in writing, to give me the products for free if I could prove I’d got them cheaper somewhere else, I was rather disappointed at this but was willing to accept it, as at least it meant I didn’t have to pay the shipping.

But it was his parting line that took my breath away. He said, and I quote:

I’d appreciate it if you didn’t use us again – your email won’t get through.

And then he hung up!

Well, guess what, Bill Gray from The Office Dealer?  Not only will I not be using you again, I am now warning anyone else reading this not to use you either.


Was I being slightly cheeky ordering, and then cancelling because I found it cheaper somewhere else?  Perhaps, but their terms and conditions said I could cancel, and I think an 18 minute window is plenty quick enough (and I actually tried to call within about 10-15 minutes of ordering).

But if you’re going to offer to give someone products for free if they can prove it’s cheaper somewhere else, don’t then tell the customer to get lost and never come back when they do!

Rather like Millies Cookies Milton KeynesFAIL!

Tell me what you think

So come on – give me your feedback.  Was I being unreasonable?  Or is this actually an appalling way to treat a customer?


Millies Cookies? Millies cock-ups more like…

February 15, 2009
Thumbnail image for Millies Cookies?  Millies cock-ups more like…

I had the perfect illustration just this afternoon of why some businesses don’t deserve to be in business. My family and I had just finished shopping in Milton Keynes, and decided to grab a delicious cookie before we headed back to the car.  As usual, we went to Millies Cookies (the one just opposite Brunches, […]

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