Deathwatch: Comet edging closer to the brink?

February 10th, 2012 65 Comments By Andy Dawson

retaildeathwatch Deathwatch: Comet edging closer to the brink?It’s not looking good for Comet – the beleaguered electrical chain has just announced another 450 job cuts just a few days after it was bought for a nominal TWO POUNDS by private equity firm OpCapita.

It looks as though the new owners are going to cut away as much fat as possible in an attempt to keep Comet going, and they job losses show that they’re cutting back their in-house repairs operation for starters, focusing “single-mindedly” on the stores themselves.

But things could get worse before they get better. It’s being reported that Samsung are yet to agree a new supply deal with Comet, which won’t reflect well on the chain if negotiations break down. Similarly, it could be another month before Comet secures credit insurance, which will make suppliers twitchy when it comes to dealing with them.

Perhaps the £2.00 spent by OpCapita was a last-ditch punt and we could shortly see another major name disappear from the UK retail landscape…

Comments (65) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Wongaporkpies May 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Comet still recruiting staff, hmmm. I admit I did ask once and even the staff member I asked said they are only basic hrs available and they change like the wind. There seemed no passion in the job from her, infact she seemed like most staff in there that day a robot!

    As a customer when I was interested in purchasing a TV, the staff were more concerned about the extras, oh you need a mains socket with this and that, you need a HDMI cable costing £99 you need a clean cleaning kit and oh a nice £299.99 remote control WHAT ! Needless to say thank goodness I failed the credit check lol.

    Admittedly there are some good staff but that is very rare, and by the comments I have seen on here, I am not surprised moral is at an all time low, and it seems inevitable that one day Comet will be like a Woolworths, an online only company.

  2. Posted by Bitterly Sad Employee May 15, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I totally agree with the above comments. BULLYING staff is the order of the day for most senior managers at Comet. Certain area managers BULLY the store management teams if they are not coming in with the numbers…They in turn BULLY the colleagues, usually by threatening them with disciplinary action basically to cover their own arses. The whole set up is totally hollow. Most of the management colleagues are so TERRIFIED of their bosses they take it out on the staff that work for them. (I apologise to the good managers that actually treat their staff well but unfortunately judging by comments made by staff in other branches you are few and far between!!) Colleagues are expected to arrive at least 10 minutes before their shift is due to start and then are forced to stay on after the store closes to tidy up…All of it UNPAID I might add. There is no incentive for these guys to do a great job for the company and the ones that do perform well are put on even more! I can remember when Comet used to be a great place to work. We turned up and knew that we would do a good job and have fun doing it…Unfortunately these days are now a distant memory :(

  3. Posted by Concerned about poorly treated staff May 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Further to my previous post of May 13th I am pleased to report my daughter has finally resigned and left Comet. The response from her manager when she handed her the letter confirmed that the right decision was made. How this manager has managed to stay in this job is beyond me, un-professional on all levels. Unfortunately Comet have lost one of their top performers because of this management style. This manager who obviously is in need of further training told my daughter that she hoped she would be very happy in her new job in a angry tone and stomped off when the letter was handed over, at no point was she asked WHY she was leaving and even went onto making her last few days there un-bearable. On her last day her manager left for the day by not even thanking her for her hard work or even a goodbye. Absolutely no appreciation given for time served there. We are considering naming and shaming this person/store but my daughter worries about future references etc. I’m appalled by this treatment of staff.

  4. Posted by Wongaporkpies May 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Ah there is nothing wrong with naming and shaming the managers name of the Comet or slagging them off in general. They don’t deserve to exist !

  5. Posted by Ex employee May 26, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Well what can I say apart from emphasis on the previous comments which are ALL TRUE and more, just that it is sad to what this company has come to from where it was.
    The Big Fat Cats are raking it in with GREED little do the pawns meaning ROMs Regional Operations Managers there next no matter what happens. This is CLEAR Strategic Operational Management, Top line then Middle Line to go, no matter how hard they try, this how Business Streamlining works or thats how it was taught at Uni when I graduated some years ago. Anyway the Bullying is there without any doubt, from these ROM’s who have been deliberatley been picked to do the dirty work to bully the Store Managers and their Sales Managers who in turn have to bully the sales people. From Doing extra hours of unpaid work, if they want to keep their jobs, and getting verbal abuse if the staff don’t deliver the figures/targets etc..
    This should be put on WATCHDOG ? Anyway we are at the brunt of it all from Managemnet to customers stuck between them both, difficult to please both when their requirements are not in sync. Customers want the Deals and Service, Comet wants MONEY, MONEY,MONEY,MONEY,MONEY and MONEY. oh yes again MONEY, and MONEY.
    Morality is a rare breed with loyalty, customer service is required and is only valued when you have nailed the customer again and again by selling over priced cables and add ons not really required !!
    Going back to the Management, don’t these F.A.T. A.R.S R.O.M’s realise that there is only so much that can be squeezed out of limited staff and stock within the stores.
    The ROM’S Should try and work as a salesperson for one week to realise what its realy like with all this unnecessary pressure instaed of throwing verbal abuse, p.s. these ORMS have been picked as they have a very LIMITED VOCABULARY so they substitute words such as F***. pi**. wan*Er* etc.. thats how they actually talk. Ihave no idea why they are in these positions of responsibility and authority. The classic Regional Operations Manager has been brainwashed and indulged in financial gain to sell his sole, Not looking at the whole picture that he is on the HIT LIST ASWELL. HA ha.
    Head Office employ these people to squeeze the final drops of left.. Time is Limited as why this company has become Limited you fools. Thank God I no longer work there anymore !!
    The company was trying to rob me when I was there by not paying me my hours due even when I clearly had Holiday left and time owed, a hassle but I finaly got some of it back with a struggle, and when I was working for them they would swindle the few pennies of commision I would have by clawing it back on another sale for no reason, the payment is a shamble. Ther Whole Company is a Shamble…!!! SHAME ON YOU COMET FROM WHERE YOU WHERE TO WHERE YOU ARE, FROM THE QUALITY STAFF YOU USED TO HAVE TO THE BUFFOONS YOU NOW EMPLOY !! RIP SOON.

  6. Posted by The Righteous One May 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Try and go back to Comet with a faulty product…

    You will basically be given a leaflet with the telephone numbers of the manufacturers on it and be told to go away…I thought that it was the retailers responsibility to sort out any issues as your contract is with them???

    It seems that they are quick enough to rob you of your cash by fleecing you with overpriced cables and surge protectors that you do not need but when it comes to helping you out with any issues they do not want to know.

    Sounds similar to another electrical retailer in it’s death throws…anybody remember Powerhouse???

  7. Posted by Cooking the Books May 31, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Just been into my nearest store and the staff there are kicking up. Sounds as though Comet are not renewing their cleaning contacts and are asking existing staff to carry out all cleaning duties including doing the loos.

  8. Posted by Wongaporkpies May 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I hate the new advert. Comet customer you only have 10 seconds? What 10 seconds to realise fuck if I buy something from here today, will I get support tomorrow if anything goes wrong?

  9. Posted by H June 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    This one is for the righteous one!

    I would like to correct you in your statements regarding a repair.

    As described all the way through this forum you will see that it is continually discussing the redundancies made throughout Comet. Service is one of the main areas effected by this hence why Comet are now using the manufacturer as the repair agents. This is not Comet relinquishing any responsibility at all. Comet accept all responsibility for their appliances but instead of having their own engineers they use a third party agents to do the repairs. This is not illegal it is very legal in compliance with the Sales of Goods Act 1979.

    All reports from a third party agent will still be the responsibility of Comet!

    As for the cables, it is not mandentry that you purchase them and if you find that you do not require them providing they have not been opened you can return for a refund within the first 7 days of purchase.

    I hope this information clarifies to you your legal rights as a customer.

  10. Posted by The Righteous One June 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    To H

    Thank you for your post “correcting” me regarding Comet’s repair policies.

    I am not saying that Comet is engaging in illegal practises when it comes to dealing faulty products. The point is that previously Comet would have taken ownership of customer issues rather than fobbing them off back to the manufacturers. I was specifically told in a store that they were unable to deal with my issue and that I would have to speak to the manufacturer directly.

    I am well aware that this is probably due to continued job losses at Comet. It appears that there are fewer and fewer staff in the stores these days most notably on the customer service desk.

    In order to regain customers Comet should be seen to be doing a better job of dealing with customers that are unsatisfied with their purchases for whatever reason. After all Comet used to pride itself on it’s after care. It was one of the main things that kept me going back there to buy my electrical products.

    Also it appears that browsing through the posts that there are actually members of staff that are reluctant to buy from their own company due to the shoddy way that they are dealt with if something goes wrong.

    As for the practise of selling overpriced cables I am not in any way saying that this practise is illegal either….Just not totally ethical.

    Is it fair practise for a salesperson of Comet insisting that a customer need’s an £80 HDMI cable for an £80 Bluray player to a customer who does not know any better? Then refusing to take it back when the customer has wised up to the fact that the advise that they were given in store was incorrect and a £10 would do the same job just fine, using the fact that it has been opened?

    This to me feels like they are trying to grab the fast cash rather than looking at the long term picture and retaining their customers through good levels of customer service.

    I am guessing that you are employed by the company that you are defending. If that is the case I hope that your future job prospects there are secure because I would hate to see another big name dissapear from the retail landscape, however I do fear for the future of Comet if it continues to treat customers the way it does….Legally (barely), but certainly not ethically.

  11. Posted by Wongaporkpies June 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm


    You are correct in saying that you can return cables as long as the packaging has not been opened. However Conmet do state on the sales receipt, that there will be a charge for handling /restocking or words to that effect. Customers will only be refunded if the item is faulty, not cause they simply do not require it or have changed their minds. However if items are purchased online or over the phone then distance selling regulations apply.

  12. Posted by The Righteous One June 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    To Wongaporkpies

    They won’t return them even if their staff have misled their customers by telling them that they “need” them even if they don’t.

    This happened to my parents who purchased a bluray player and were told that they would need an £80 Monster cable to go with it. They are getting on a bit and did not know any better so took the advise of the salesperson.

    When I went over there to set it up I was horrified when I saw how much they had been charged for this cable (bearing in mind that the bluray was sub £100).

    I went back to the store and was basically told tough luck as it had been opened. The salesperson that sold it to them was conveniently on a day off but was told that that member of staff was one of their most experienced so was very unlikely that he would have said that to my parents…Basically calling them liars…The whole thing is scandalous. I wasn’t even offered a handling charge to give them back they just blatantly refused. They must have been having a bad day figures wise or something.

    But anyway they are within their legal rights not to refund unless faulty…Rip off merchants!

  13. Posted by Wongaporkpies June 12, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    To The Righteous One

    I think the handling fee/refund will only apply to unopened items, but I could be wrong. It seems your parents had a very bad experience, seems (certain) Comet staff do not have any moral values, nor does it as a company as a whole. It seems poor sales practices will carry on, but one day Comet maybe no more at high street level (Hopefully)

  14. Posted by Concerned about poorly treated staff June 12, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    unfortunately all staff are constantly pressured to sell extras/ add on’s regardless if the customer needs it or wants it, they are given daily targets for these extras then hauled into the office by the manager to explain why they didn’t convince the customer to buy it, some staff were given warnings and even threatened with their jobs if their figures were not up to scratch.

    they don’t value their customers or treat their staff ethically, what a great company Comet are!

  15. Posted by Wongaporkpies June 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Seems most companies forget customer service and focus on targets. They don’t care if they lose a customer cause they believe another unsuspecting mug will come through the door.

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