Wednesday, 18 January 2017

INCORRECT CAR PARK TICKETS AND MY BONCE: "DEAR WAITROSE...."

I have had my differences with Waitrose over car parking (see my Car Park Cockup post of 2 December 2016). Regrettably, their Richmond, Surrey car park clock continued to misbehave. And that has meant - you guessed it - back to the e-mails. Here's my latest exchange. 

FROM: STEPHEN GOLD
Sent: 04/01/2017  To: customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk
Subject: Car Park clock at Richmond, Surrey store

I hesitate to make yet a further complaint about shortcomings at your Richmond, Surrey store but concern for customers other than myself compels me to do so. Did you know that the car park entry point clock is wrong? Your store knows.
I was not long out of short trousers when it gave the correct time. Currently, it is ten minutes slow (give or take a few seconds).  The consequence is that the wrong time is recorded on the ticket automatically printed out on entry. It may be that the clock on the pay machines (one is currently out of action) are out by the same or close to the same period but that does not eliminate the mischief. Those of your customers who are blissfully unaware of the situation may deprive themselves of ten minutes’ parking time by counting the period their vehicle has been parked from the time shown on their ticket . I appreciate your wish to see the back of your customers and their vehicles as soon as possible after they have spent money with you. However, it is deceptive and unfair that in an inevitable rush to avoid an increase in the charge payable which could peak at a staggering £25 after three hours many customers could be induced to leave the car park prematurely. The situation is aggravated by the fact that you are fully ware of that of which many of your customers are ignorant.

Now what, may I ask, are you going to do about it? Have you considered getting the clocks repaired ? I have severals friends who are well versed in horology and I am sure I could persuade any one of them to pop into the store and put their skills to work although I would obviously recommend that they left their vehicle elsewhere.

Whilst writing, I need to draw attention to the danger presented by the rafters in the car park shown in the photograph below. Whose car park? Yours? Where? Richmond, Surrey. You will see that the warning yellow/orange strip at the back of the bay shown to the left is missing. Frankly, it is close to impossible to get out of one of the two bays concerned without hitting one’s bonce. I have done it myself.

I am not after a gift token or even an assurance of your partners’ appreciation of the time I have taken to contact you or a gossip with management. Just greater consideration for your customers -and their heads.

I am
Stephen Gold
A (now vigilant) Waitrose Customer




On 10 Jan 2017, at 07:58, Waitrose Customer Service <customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk> wrote:

Thank you for your patience Stephen while we awaited a response from the Richmond branch. 
We have now received a reply from Marc who is the Department Manager Retail Support at Richmond. 

We are currently experiencing issues with the timing of our ticket machines on random days. We are awaiting a specialist to assist us with how changing the times on the system manually.
The time on the ticket is synced to the pay stations in the car park and in branch, if the ticket dispenser is 8:55 the pay station will be 8:55. So if the printed ticket was 10 minutes early, the time running on the pay stations will be the same. Although not correct, this wouldn't penalize the customer in anyway as it will still be 1.5 hours or 2.5 hours etc. Customers are still being charged for the length of their stay.
The rafters and spaces, we will look into.
Kind regards 
Sam  
Waitrose Customer Care

From: STEPHEN GOLD 
Sent: 10/01/2017 09:29
To: customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk
Subject: Re: Car Park clock at Richmond, Surrey store  
Dear Sam 
Thank you but no thank you! Waitrose just doesn't get it. Let me spell it out. If I collect a ticket which tells me it is 8.55, I say to myself that I must get back by 11.55 or hand you over £25. But if the real time was 9.05, I will be back ten minutes early and so will have been deprived of ten minutes of parking time. 
The only fair thing for you to do is to warn customers not to rely on the time on their ticket but to check their watch - if they have one. Will you do that ?
Regards
Stephen Gold

On 10 Jan 2017, at 10:23, Waitrose Customer Service <customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk> wrote:

Thanks for coming back to me Stephen. 
I totally understand what you are saying. Please be assured that the branch are looking to fix the issue as soon as possible. In the meantime, they will remind partners to advise customers of the issue. 
Kind regards 
Sam  
Waitrose Customer Care

From: STEPHEN GOLD 
Sent: 10/01/2017 10:43
To: customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk
Subject: Re: Car Park clock at Richmond, Surrey store  
Dear Sam
By what means of communication will customers be advised ? By semafore ?
Regards
Stephen Gold

Sent from my iPhone
On 10 Jan 2017, at 11:04, Waitrose Customer Service <customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk> wrote:


Dear Stephen, 



Thank you for your email.

Cashiers and welcome desk partners would assist customers if the syncing issue arose with the clock.
Kind regards 
Sam Mansfield 
Waitrose Customer Care

From: STEPHEN GOLD 
Sent: 10/01/2017 11:11
To: customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk
Subject: Re: Car Park clock at Richmond, Surrey store 
Sam

It’s not a syncing issue. The ticket time is always wrong. It has been wrong for years. Are you going to notify customers it is wrong before or when they park and, if so, how?If not, you must surely stop charging for the use of the car park until you can get your act together.
Regards
Stephen Gold

On 10 Jan 2017, at 12:12, Waitrose Customer Service <customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk> wrote:

Thanks for your email Stephen. 

For more information, I would recommend asking to speak to Marc at the branch on your visit. He would be able to go into much more detail as to exactly what is happening and how the branch are assisting customers. 

Kind regards

Sam
Waitrose Customer Care

From: STEPHEN GOLD 

Sent: 10/01/2017 12:46
To: customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk
Subject: Re: Car Park clock at Richmond, Surrey store 
Sam

I do not wish to take up that suggestion, thank you. I would just like Waitrose to answer my straightforward questions in a direct way and in writing. Your senior management should take this matter seriously and ensure that any risk of customer deception and/or breach of consumer legislation does not take place from hereon. So what does senior management say? Are you going to make car parking free until Waitrose clocks can tell the time - or not?
Regards
Stephen Gold

On 10 Jan 2017, at 14:48, Waitrose Customer Service <customerserviceteam@waitrose.co.uk> wrote:

Thanks for your email Stephen. 

I have emailed the senior management, requesting for a detailed response as to what they are currently doing and will be doing, going forward with the car park. 

I will be in touch once I have had that. 

Kind regards 
Sam  
Waitrose Customer Care



From: STEPHEN GOLD

Sent: 15/01/2017 13:51

Subject: Re: Car Park clock at Richmond, Surrey store 
Sam

It is not an eternity since your last communication and senior management probably have little time on their hands (if you will forgive the pun) and so I am not suggesting you haver been slow in coming back to me (if you will forgive the pun). However, I thought it would be a relief to you to know that when I patronised the Richmond car park yesterday, for the first time for some years, the entrance ticket had the correct time printed on it. Whether this was an aberration on the part of the machine or the result of a senior management kick up the back of a clock or even a visit by an engineer, I cannot say but it was certainly good news. Rest assured that so long as I am allowed into the store, I shall be ticket machine vigilant. I am sure you would want no less. Of course, if senior management had any particular sentiments to pass on to me, I would be interested to hear what they had to say.
Regards
Stephen Gold 


Dear Stephen, 

Thank you very much for your email. 

I am happy to hear about the clock. Senior management never came back to me but action seems to have been taken. 
Please do not hesitate to contact me again if the 10 minute delay creeps in again. 
We really appreciate your vigilance regarding this issue. 
Kind regards 
Sam 
Waitrose Customer Care

Time to wrap that one up, me thinks.