John Lewis: incompetent, unresponsive and dishonest

You may remember from last time that John Lewis failed to deliver our new dishwasher, didn’t even trouble to tell us that they weren’t coming, and wouldn’t prioritise getting it to us subsequently. Everything that’s happened since has made a bad situation worse. The upshot is that three full weeks after I placed my order, I am sitting at home, unable to go food-shopping, in the pathetic hope that maybe, just maybe, they’ll do what we paid them for.


Here’s the timeline:

Friday 7 November: our nine-year-old dishwasher dies.

Saturday 8 November: I order a new one from John Lewis, based on their reputation for competence, professionalism and reliability. Delivery is booked for Thursday 13th.

Thursday 13 November: nothing happens. Absolutely nothing. We stay in all day, and the dishwasher doesn’t arrive. John Lewis don’t phone us. John Lewis don’t email us. I email them to ask what happened.

Friday 14 November: no reply to my email. I phone them. They have no meaningful explanation for why they didn’t deliver: they say the driver couldn’t find the house, but Google Maps takes you to point 40 m from our door. There is no offer to get it to us the next day. The next slot they offer is a week later. I cancel the order.

Later on Friday: I blog and tweet about John Lewis’s failure. Now they contact me: evidently they only care about dumping on customers when the rest of the world hears about it.

Monday 17 November: they offer me a £50 discount if I re-place the order. Stupidly, I do so — I should have gone to a competent supplier instead, but I was seduced by the discount. The new delivery date is Thursday 27th.

Thursday 27 November: we stay in all day. Finally, in the evening, we get a call from the delivery van saying they’re half an hour away from us, and checking on how to find us. Hurrah! We’re on the home stretch!

An hour later: the delivery man calls to say he drove his HGV down a steep narrow lane marked “No HGVs”, got stuck, and burned out his clutch. He is one and a half miles away from our home, but has no way to get the dishwasher to us.

Late that night: the only remotely positive part of this experience: John Lewis called us for the only time. A very helpful woman said she’d do all she could to get a dishwasher to us the very next day, and promised faithfully that they’ll keep us informed.

Friday 28 November: they don’t keep us informed. They don’t phone. They don’t email. They don’t respond to the complaint that I file (not the first time this has happened). We stay in all day. No dishwasher comes.

Later on Friday: Fiona phones them. After the obligatory on-hold time, she’s told that they’re very sorry that they didn’t deliver the dishwasher, but don’t say why not. They explain the reason they’ve not phoned is because they thought they’d phoned us but actually hadn’t.

Saturday morning (now): here I am, waiting for the dishwasher that I am 99% certain won’t arrive. Fiona is out at a long-standing appointment. I can’t leave the house to do the shopping, for fear that they will finally turn up, see that there’s no adult at home to sign for the dishwasher, and take it away.

At this point, I can’t make myself believe that it will ever actually arrive.


Put this all together. What we have is a retailer that has repeatedly failed to deliver — they are currently on their fourth attempt, and I have no confidence in it. We have a retailer that has repeatedly failed to communicate with us, including ignoring five of the eight complaints I’ve filed, and not even explaining anything on the occasions we have managed to establish contact. We have a retailer that has repeatedly lied to us, both about when it’s going to deliver and about how it’s going to keep us informed.

In short, it’s pretty hard to see how John Lewis could have performed worse, short of burning our house down.

So I am posting this for two reasons. One is just an outlet for my disappointment and anger. The other, more constructive reason is a warning: don’t use John Lewis. They will let you down, over and over again. Order from someone else. Anyone else. For myself, I certainly won’t be using them again once this sad affair is finally over.

Immediate update

Literally ten minutes after posting this …

Fiona is on the phone right now to them. It turns out they lied again in saying they would deliver it today. It’s not coming today.

The good news is, at least I can go food-shopping.

Fiona is now trying to get them to deliver tomorrow.

Abject failure-to-deliver-count: four fails and counting.

Update 2 (three minutes later)

They hung up on us. They hung up on us. They put Fiona on hold, then hung up on us, in the middle of supposedly trying to arrange a Sunday delivery.

Now what? Should I email them again? Is there any point? Should I hope they’ll phone back? Does that mean I have to stay in and can’t go food-shopping after all?

Should I cancel the order and start all over again with a different supplier? Should I drive into Bristol, physically take a dishwasher from the John Lewis branch, drive it home and try to plumb it in myself? Should I just give up on the idea of ever having a functional dishwasher again?

Update 3 (15 minutes later)

From the left-hand-doesn’t-know-what-the-right-hand-is-doing department …

I never did hear back from John Lewis to complete the phone-call that they cut off while we were on hold.

But I did just hear from their driver saying he should be with us by about 12:30. So the evidence, such as it is, suggests that they are delivering today, but that no-one in customer support knows this.

Stand by for further exciting bulletins.

Update 4 (3 hours later)

Well, it’s here — plumbed in and (as far as we can tell) working. So I guess this constitutes some kind of a happy ending. Most of all, I am just relieved that all this is over, and I don’t have to make any further futile attempts at communication with John Lewis.

8 responses to “John Lewis: incompetent, unresponsive and dishonest

  1. Useless, useless people, what a way to run a business. Waste of time, temper and patience. If no delivery today I strongly suggest you cut your losses and start over with a company that just might deliver on their promises.

  2. “In short, it’s pretty hard to see how John Lewis could have performed worse, short of burning our house down.”

    Don’t give them ideas.

  3. I thought that in your last post you had decided to go with another retailer. All you have done now is tell John Lewis, repeatedly I might add, that they can screw with customers all they like and still get the business and make the profit.

    They might have become, or at least seemed to have become, slightly more responsive after your post but that may well be coincidental and this much is as clear as your own buffoonery: They might not like your post (now plural,) assuming they have seen them at all, but at the end of the day your posts aren’t worth two shits to them in comparison to your money. Which they now have.

    And to think of what might happen if the appliance fails.

  4. Unfortunately, I can’t disagree with any of that. Like I said, “they offer me a £50 discount if I re-place the order. Stupidly, I do so — I should have gone to a competent supplier instead, but I was seduced by the discount”. My bad.

  5. But that little kid was really pleased with his penguin.

  6. Perhaps you can bill them for your time and energy.

  7. Richard G. Whitbread

    One day, Michael, you’ll look back on all this and laugh…

  8. Your thoughts in “What Holiness means to Christians” in November 03 are surely deeper than dealing with John Lewis the dishwasher dealer.

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