Phones4U sell false hope to customers wanting iPhone4
So the world, his wife and his dog wanted an iPhone 4. Who knew? Nobody, including Apple, was quite expecting the level of demand for their fourth generation brick and consequently stock levels soon ran to zero. That hasn't stop some retailers telling a few white lies to keep their customers interested.
Bitterwallet reader Jamie was after one of the shiny blighters, and spotted that Phones4U had them in stock on Vodafone tariffs; the Orange deals tab requested Jamie submit his email address to be notified when the iPhone 4 on Orange would be back in stock. The Vodafone tab allowed Jame to progress with his order.
However, being all too aware of the stock situation, Jamie indulged in a live chat with customer services:
info: You are now connected with Carl.
Carl: Hello, you're chatting with Carl, a Phones4U Sales Advisor, may I take your name please?
Jamie: Hi, is the iphone 4 on vodafone actually in stock or is it a back order?
Carl: It's in stock, if it was back order it would say "Click here to reserve"
Jamie: ok thanks
Carl: Did you want to order that one Jamie?
Jamie: thinking about it
Carl: I wouldn't wait till long to be honest, don't know how much longer it's giong to be in stock, orange ran out about an hour ago
info: A copy of this chat transcript will be sent to at the end of this chat.
Jamie: yeah np, thanks
In fact Jamie tells us he already had the item in his online basket, and completed the purchase within a few moments of ending the chat. All good to go according to Phones4U, so Jamie wasn't expecting the following email from them two days later:
Congratulations! You have successfully ordered your iPhone 4 with us! So what’s next?
For you, nothing! We’ll be working hard on your behalf to make sure that your iPhone 4 gets safely delivered to your door. We’ll be keeping tabs on iPhone availability across the UK and will keep you updated via email. As soon as we get yours in stock, we’ll make sure you’re the first to know and will get it sent out as soon as possible.
Like we said, Phones 4U will be doing all the hard work and we promise to keep you up to date with the latest iPhone 4 developments so there’s no need to get in touch.
Ah. There was no stock availability after all. Jamie's wasn't an isolated incident - his colleague Paul went through exactly the same situation, confirming with a Phones4U agent that stock was available while simultaneously placing an order. In both cases it appears the sales agents told the customer what they wanted to secure the order there and then.
According to Jamie, Phones4U have so far refused to cancel his order - since it was only placed on Tuesday, we've brought him up to speed on the seven day cooling-off period allowed by the Distance Selling Regulations. Perhaps Phones4U haven't heard of it, or the fact that it requires clear information about the goods or services to be made available before a customer places an order.