Radio Parts have a customer service problem…

… and sadly, I appear to be the victim.

About 6 months ago, I bought a PVR/set top box. I went with Wintal for a few reasons: I already had a non-recording Wintal set top box which had given no trouble; and the retailer, Radio Parts Group, assured me that they have their own repairers and could offer great backup. I have to say, apart from a slightly mystifying interface, the unit has been great… well it was great until it stopped. Don’t know why, but one day it just wouldn’t turn on, so it was time to try out Radio Parts’ great backup.

After a check in procedure that was so long and poorly handled it almost made me laugh out loud (I should have known then!), the box was taken (Saturday June 14) along with assurances that turnaroud was no more than two weeks, this was important, as the Tour de France was coming up and I didn’t want to miss a minute of the early morning action.

After two weeks, I hadn’t heard anything so I rang them. No-one was available that could help me, but they made sure they had my number and said they’d call back.

The next Monday (june 30) , I call again, I’m told that they’ve got the job ticket (good), that the job isn’t ready (bad), but they’ll find out the status and call me back.

Tuesday passes: they don’t call me, I forget to chase them, so it’s Wednesday before I call again. Alas, the job is at external repairer (this is a surprise), and that the person [D] who manages the external jobs is away that day. Assured [D] will call me tomorrow.

Thursday afternoon: they still haven’t called so I call again and finally get to talk to [D]. Says he will call the external repairer right away and then call back. He didn’t, of course.

Friday: left another message and this time [D] calls back. Not good news though, I won’t see the box until at least next week. Getting quite grumpy now.

Wednesday (July 9): Rang (11am) and spoke to [D]. Thinks all the external stuff is back and will just check the consignment and call back. Mid afternoon, no reply from [D], so I call again. His extension rings out, so I leave another message with the switch. Late afternoon [D] rings back, but with no new news, will ring tomorrow.

Thursday: [D] rang – no returned unit, but he has a replacement, new unit waiting with my name on it 🙂 at last!

Friday: a day shy of four weeks after leaving the unit, we pick up the replacement. We are assured that the unit is tested and working – they even pre-tuned the stations for us.

So far, I’ve been unimpressed with the service. Sure, they say they had a busy period and that can happen to anyone, but If you’re going to be late with something, it’s always good manners to let people know. Not only did Radio Parts maintain stony silence, they failed to answer many phone calls – and only began to when I started to really pester them.

So, all’s well then? Unfortunately not! That night I get the new unit all connected up and then flick the switch. Lights come on, but there’s this noise – like an approaching Vespa – as the hard disk spins up. That’s novel – I touch the unit and it’s vibrating to match the hum. Yep, we seem to have a dodgy hard disk. The unit works, but it’s a damned annoying noise, and vibration like that is going to mean an early death for the hard disk.

I am not happy!

The next morning, I’m back on the phone. It’s Saturday, of course, so the service staff are not in. I’m asked to leave a number and they’ll call me – naturally I’m sceptical about this advice, so I ask about the email address on the repair docket “Yes, that will be read and they’ll get back to you right away” was the advice, so I compose a short, terse email indicating my preference for a very quick resolution.

Monday (July 14): no call of course, and I forgot to chase them up until 4:25pm, so the service staff had all vacated the building. Sympathetic [J] on the phones asks me to send a copy of my email so that she can make sure someone gets it and responds.

Tuesday, still no response, so I dial their number yet again and get talking to someone who listens to my story and then just says I should bring it in for repair. I asked if it was possible that they could fast track the repair or just supply another replacement unit, but all this was flatly refused. At this point I feel like exploding. After all the bullshit I’ve been through so far, they expect me to meekly bring in the faulty replacement unit and just put it back in the queue! Go back to my dodgy old VCR for the rest of LeTour and probably half of the Olympics while they fail to deliver on promise after promise? No way!

My current plan is to hope the HD doesn’t jump right off it’s spindle over the next month or so, then I’ll take it back – still well inside warranty. Not looking forward to dealing with them again, but seems I have little choice. This is a small retailer that trades on reputation – they are competing with electronics chains that have lower margins and bigger marketing budgets – I wouldn’t have thought they could afford to treat customers this way.

Advice? Well, I still think Wintal make a good product – I was never told what the problem was with my first unit, for all I know it could have just blown a fuse and I could just have been unlucky with the replacement. Radio Parts? well, it’s not over yet. They did replace the unit, so technically, they delivered, but the trouble it took me to get to that point – definitely a big black mark from me, don’t say you weren’t warned! When I do take this replacement unit back, I’ll add to this post, maybe they’ll have a service department by then, or they’ll have been more honest and renamed it to an ‘avoid giving any service’ department!

One reply on “Radio Parts have a customer service problem…”

  1. It’s really disappointing to hear stories like this, especially since I work for RPG.
    One of the techs did go from full time to casual and was replaced a month ago by another brilliant tech. In the meantime, we had to send some stuff off to a service agent. And correct, that isn’t customary.
    Our techs usually are very good, so when the goods went to this service agent [for the first time in 5 years] we couldn’t get reliable information, turn-around times increased and the sales guys got put under considerable more stress. Don’t forget that Radio Parts supplies well over 10 thousand digital boxes into the industry annually and has another 6,000 lines to deal with at the same time!
    And, as I gathered, most people don’t realise that Radio Parts supplies all the majors – harveys, retra, good guys etc as well as around 4,000 other businesses. It doesn’t have anything to do with marketing or budgets. We just sent a repair offsite and in that month, couldn’t provide fast turn arounds and the information that we are usually renowned for…

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