From A to Z - putting the boot into Boots

9 October 2008

How do you treat a pensioner who wants to buy a new plug for his bathroom sink? The same way you treat a man caught with a suitcase stuffed full of headless torsos, that's how. Quickly, call the police and slap the handcuffs on:

B&Q has racked up a depressingly impressive list of complaints over the years, from misleading advertising to neglecting health and safety rules. Two years ago, B&Q acknowledged a surge in complaints regarding its kitchen and bathroom installation service. The cause of such spectacular dissatisfaction? Obviously, the company put the blame squarely on... a warehouse fire. Er.

At least you'll find honest, reliable folk in your local branch of Barclays. Unless you're the BBC reporter who went undercover last year and found evidence of staff cheating customers out of money, lying to them, misleading them where possible and selling products they didn't need.

Tough words, but if only somebody had caught the shenanigans on film...


To be fair, when it comes to our hard earned money we'll complain like hell when we think there's a whiff of injustice. Even when Barclays try to be nice, such as when they launched their Tax Haven cash ISA last year, the bank still manages to upset everyone. They did send flowers to one customer though, but only after losing nearly £4,000 of their money.

From Barclays, let's drop by another high street stalwart, Boots, circa November 2007. The home of the middle-class meal deal was advertising a vitamin B supplement that "helps the release the energy from the food you eat".

Without understanding a single biological aspect of how the hell this worked, it seemed so perfectly plausible that I went out and bought the bloody stuff, despite being neither old or female.

Thankfully, the poster was noticed by somebody with slightly more going on between their ears. Enjoy the transcript of conversations between several members of the Boots Pharmacy team and Professor David Colquhoun, chair of Pharmacology at University College London.

If you've got a tale of customer service terror to tell, let us know at [email protected]

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