In yesterday’s thrilling installment I told how the guys at Fawlty Mobiles in Urmston had messed us around, fobbed us off and generally acted like huge donkeys. I ended on a cliffhanger: having finally managed to extricate the phone from chez Fawlty, would the £95 we’d paid turn out to be money well spent? I think we all know what’s coming here, don’t we?
Yes, you guessed it: they had given us back a broken, unusable ‘phone. Back to Fawlty Mobiles went my poor husband – his fourth trip there in 24 hours.
Angry ‘Phone Dude showed no surprise when my husband arrived back at his shop: it was clear that we needed a refund. We got our money back but Angry kept the ‘phone in order to remove the new screen. Angry told my husband to come back in an hour. He gave it two hours (he’s not daft) and went back to pick up the ‘phone. Guess what? He was sent away by Angry, who told him he was too busy to give him the ‘phone back and he would drop it off at our house “later”.
We’d heard the same thing less than a day ago and – unsurprisingly – decided we didn’t believe the guy. I didn’t know whether I could smell a rat, a scam or a load of something commonly spread on farmers’ fields but I knew I wasn’t going to leave my ‘phone with those guys over the weekend. You could say my trust in them had faltered – and ‘phones can contain a lot of data.
I went back into the shop myself and told Angry I would like my ‘phone back straight away. Now, I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t annoyed and dissatisfied (and justifiably so), but I certainly wasn’t rude or unpleasant- and yet from Angry’s reaction, anyone would have thought I’d commanded him to start sawing off delicate parts of his body with a rusty razor blade.
Here are some highlights of our conversation:
Me: I’ve come for my ‘phone and I’d like it back straight away.
Angry (already furious): I’m busy and I’m in the middle of something, you’ll have to wait.
Me: No. I’ve waited long enough. I want my ‘phone back and I’m not going until you give me it.
Angry: Bloody hell, I’m busy, what do you expect me to say?
Me: I expect you to say sorry and give me my ‘phone back.
Angry (turning to my husband): Mate. Have a word, will you?
Yes indeed: Angry ‘Phone Dude was imploring my husband (his ‘mate’ apparently) to ‘have a word’ with me, the implication being that he was failing to control his woman. Sexism AND attempting to rip me off for £95? What an incredibly poor combination of choices. Perhaps somebody should ‘have a word’ with Angry ‘Phone Dude and explain that if you want to build a good reputation for your business you should try apologising when you completely mess up instead of hoping your customer won’t notice their ‘phone doesn’t work and then shaking with rage and indignation when someone asks politely for their own property back.
Angry’s somewhat maverick approach to public relations took an ever more surprising turn when he ranted at me that I was “a horrible person”. Poor Angry. If his criteria for ‘horrible’ really does include ‘asking for one’s phone/ money back’ I expect he will be meeting a lot more “horrible people” in future because while I was there someone else came in to complain that their ‘phone had been returned in an unusable condition, giving me an inkling that Angry might not be very good at ‘phone repairs.
Next, Shoulder Shrug appeared in the shop. Predictably, he shrugged his shoulders at the whole thing and said, “Sometimes repairs don’t work out.” Yes, that’s true, and probably quite frequently down at Fawlty Mobiles, but what reason could there be for repeatedly setting your own deadlines then not sticking to them and not keeping your customer informed by ringing them? What reason could there be for telling your customer the ‘phone is fixed and taking £95 for the repair when it isn’t fixed? Why not admit you have messed up and apologise?
I did try to explain to Shoulder Shrug that I was just trying to give him some good advice, but he assured me he didn’t need any and I was advised by Angry to “keep your advice to yourself” – a piece of advice I have clearly failed to take. Shoulder Shrug eventually finished removing the screen from my phone and let me having it back. With an arrogant wave he dismissed me from the shop, saying, “We’ll leave it there.” Well. I think not.
I daresay neither Angry nor Shoulder Shrug will ever get as far as the end of this post, after all these are but the witterings of a mere customer, but for anyone who wants advice from someone who knows how to run a good business, here is one final piece of business advice: the only way to build up trust and good word-of-mouth for your business is to provide a good service and to keep your promises. And that, my report to Trading Standards notwithstanding, is where I shall leave it.