A horrible customer experience at Hometown
The following email sent to email@example.com describes the problem. I have masked phone numbers and order number. What a contrast from the nice Tatasky experience!
Start of email
On Sat, 17th March, I purchased a Dining Table and Sofa as part of an Exchange Offer that was prevalent at that time in the Home Town showroom near Innovative Multiplex, Marthahalli, Bangalore. Advance Receipt No. xxxyyy. We were told that while the Dining Table was available for delivery in two-three days, the sofa would take two weeks.
We wanted the delivery to be done together (as well as the pick-up of the old furniture). So we were prepared to wait till Mon, 3rd April.
Around 3-4 Apri, we were informed that there was a delay in the arrival of the sofa. Soon after we started getting calls from various people - one asking when the old furniture could be picked up, another asking when the new dining table could be delivered and the third asking when the new furniture could be assembled. Our attempts to get response from the customer care (66621121/22/23/24/25) were ineffective since the phone was not picked most of the time.
I personally visited the showroom on Sun, 8th April. I was assured by the Customer Care representative that both the dining table and sofa would definitely be delivered in the coming week. I was also assured that there would be no call from various parties. The old furniture would be picked up one day before the delivery of the new furniture only. I was also given contact number of one Mr.Krishna (9xxxx yyyyy). I also made it clear to Customer Care that I would cancel the order for sofa if it did not get delivered in the coming week and was open to cancelling the entire order as well.
Nothing happened in that week and Mr.Krishna began refusing to pick up our calls.
Finally I made another to the showroom on Sun, 15th April. One Ms. Reshma, who said she was the Manager, met me. I said that I wanted to cancel the order for the sofa and wanted the dining table to be delivered. She tried to pursuade me to wait for a few days more since the sofa was on its way, but I said that I had already waited sufficient days and moreover had already given an ultimatum on the cancellation. She finally agreed and said that she will initiate the cancellation of sofa and the delivery of dining table. She said this would take a week.
On Tue, 24h April - 9 days after my visit, my old dining table was picked up. As of this moment (10.52 PM on Thur, 26th April), the new dining table has not been delivered. This is despite the assurance that the pick-up would happen the day before the delivery and no earlier. Multiple attempts to reach Ms. Reshma at 9xxxx yyyyy has not worked since the phone is never picked up. I also have no update on the refund of the sofa amount.
Can you please respond to my following queries:
1. When will my dining table be delivered?
2. When will the refund for my sofa be credited?
Thanks in advance for your early response.
End of email
If you thought that the email solved all the problems, then sadly you are mistaken. I did not even get an acknowledgement to the email, forget a response. I was contemplating the next steps like going to Consumer Court or taking some other legal recourse. Luckily, as part of the daily routine call that we made to Customer Care numbers, one Mr. Sudeep happened to take the call. He is apparently the Customer Service head and he listened to and sympathized with our problem. He also gave us his cell number which he picked when we called him subsequently.
After multiple calls to him in the next two days, finally, our Dining Table was delivered on Sat, 29th April. It took a further call or two to Mr.Sudeep and the next day to get a person to assemble the same.
Then came the question of refund. After another round of phone calls, I received an email which had an instruction to the Bank requesting them to do the part refund. I am told this will happen in 10 days. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
I would have liked to write this after the money came, but realize there may be many like me who have gone through / are going through / will go through similar experience. I didn't want to wait further.
As I understand, Hometown is like ebay for things like furniture, where they create an environment for sellers and buyers to come together and they take a commission. The problem is when sellers have supply challenges. Since Hometown is the middle man, they need to improve the customer service greatly. Perhaps other competitors like Home Center, @Home, Housefull are no better...
A quick googling brought up the following top results.
Hmm! maybe I should have read this and avoided this experience.