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Buying a washing machine from the Co-op

We recently had to buy a new washing machine. We bought a Beko machine from the Co-op. It was not as smooth a process as one might hope.

There are many customer interactions in a process like this and it must be hard, or impossible, to make them all good, all the time. Has your company has spent months, or years, improving inventory management and making a beautiful website, and all those things that happen up to the point a customer clicks “Add to cart”? Great! But, of course, there’s so much more to improve.

Here’s a breakdown of all the parts of the process including the good (✅), bad (❌) and odd (⁉️). Some of the bad points are things I’ve learned to passively accept about such processes but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be better.

  • ✅ Buying the washing machine on worked fine.

  • ❌ The many emails regarding the purchase and delivery came from or This (a) isn’t a domain I’ve heard of, never mind bought anything from, (b) sounds like a spammy made-up online shop, and (c) emails sent without a “name” in the From header, only the email address, look even dodgier.

  • ❌ Delivery windows are, roughly, a specific hour of the delivery day, which is good. But you only get notified of the specific hour late in the afternoon the day before, which makes planning anything on the delivery day tricky.

  • ❌ Text messages about the delivery don’t come “from” either the Co-op or “e-storesonline” but from “Phoenix”. Another confusion.

  • ⁉️ There’s a weird mismatch between the precision of the delivery hour “between 10:38-11:38” and the following warning: “Times are a guide only.” I can understand how the odd precision happens in the software, but still. (Our deliveries happened outside of the specified hours.)

  • ❌ Over the phone I gave some instructions for the delivery. When the driver phoned on the day of delivery, to say he was somewhere nearby, I asked if he’d got those instructions. He laughed.

  • ❌ Receiving big deliveries in the Barbican is tricky, partly because parking places for lorries are rare. There were two delivery guys so I suggested that one stay with the lorry, in case of traffic wardens, and I help the other bring the washing machine up. But we’d paid for installation and the driver, who would have to stay with the lorry, was the only one able to do an installation. So I suggested we cancel the installation. They called HQ to check it was OK, the guy at the other end checked with his manager, “so I’m covered too”, and we went ahead (and we received a refund of the installation charge). It would’ve been easier if both guys could install a washing machine which, I now realise, isn’t difficult.

  • ❌ The guy who brought our washing machine up brought the wrong washing machine up. Thankfully we noticed before he left the flat.

  • ❌ The guy who did finally bring our washing machine up spent a lot of time explaining how much work they had on and how busy they were and how much of a rush they were in, and so would I mind unpacking the machine myself (they’re supposed to do it and take the packaging away). Sure, whatever, I just want to get this over with. I made sure to write “NOT UNPACKED” when signing the “Yes, it all looks fine!” disclaimer form.

  • ⁉️ Let’s be charitable and count that guy’s general social and physical blundering as an oddity, a bit of “character”, rather than a negative mark.

  • ❌ When we unpacked the washing machine we noticed it had a dent down the front left-hand side and the panel was slightly buckled.

  • ✅ The guy on the phone at the Co-op didn’t question or quibble and swiftly arranged delivery of a replacement washing machine.

  • ✅ The second delivery guys were friendly, competent and reassuring. One of them brought up the correct washing machine — which had been double-checked at the depot for dents and re-packaged with extra bubble-wrap — and took away the dented one without hassle.

  • ✅ I installed the new machine and it works.

  • ❌ The bumph that came with the washing machine contains three separate pieces of paper about registering with Beko to activate the one-year guarantee. Each piece of paper features a different phone number.

  • ❌ So I tried to use Beko’s online service to register. The form field for entering the machine’s serial number doesn’t accept spaces, while the serial number printed on the label (in very tiny writing) contains spaces.

  • ❌ When I submit the first page of the registration form, the page hangs with a “loading” graphic. The JavaScript console reveals: “TypeError: window.optimizely.get is not a function.” Ghostery did not want a frame with an origin at … to access a frame at the domain, because it’s bad.

  • ❌ The first page of the registration form does not even display with JavaScript disabled.

  • ✅ Success, I guess: I used a different browser to successfully submit the one-page registration form.

Let’s hope this inexpensive washing machine lasts for 50 years.

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