When Online Shopping Goes Wrong: Home Delivery Network, Uni Qlo, New Look, ASOS, No Refunds, Why?

**UPDATE 25/09/2010:

Regarding Home Delivery Network, we went to collect it – it was SO FAR AWAY, must have cost about £7 in petrol for the round journey, and the envelope had no stickers on it. As far as I know, when the courier makes an attempted delivery, they stick a sticker on and write the time and date.

There is some biro scribbled on my envelope which says, ‘no access’ (untrue), then no further times or dates. Attempted delivery? Clearly not.**

ASOS have refunded one item and I am still waiting for 2 more refunds. What is annoying is it still takes 5 days or so for a refund to show up on your bank account.

Ladies…spend your money wisely.

While I’m at it, Holidaydiscountcentre.co.uk are also rubbish! We booked a holiday with them had no idea but they booked our flights with Kiss Airways, which later went bust! We didn’t even know they had used them! They are now processing our application for a refund for the flights…it’s been FOUR weeks since they got our forms and they haven’t even sent it to the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) yet! Apparently because they are “waiting” for the claims forms. What – they’re going to wait for 10,000 forms to come in, THEN start processing them?


Lesson learnt, book with a MAJOR tour company or directly with airlines and hotels.

I’ve been shopping online for years and years and have always found it the best place to snap up bargains, buy books, gadgets and just find unusual bits and pieces.

Now I’m getting rather fed up; missing parcels, stolen parcels, companies delivering faulty goods, the wrong goods, not even having the goods…need I carry on?!


I am particularly annoyed at the moment at – who else – Home Delivery Network! They are currently holding a Uniqlo parcel at ransom – they’ve had it since the weekend and 5 days later it is STILL sitting in the depot.

Excuses (I’ve called up every day this week and it is NOT a freephone number: 0871 977 0800) include:

“Well the weather hasn’t been so great so we’ve had problems” (Monday)

“We’re having driver problems” (Tuesday)

“It’s on the Van” (Wednesday)

“It’ definitely on the Van” (Thursday)

Guess what? Still a no show. I am amazed that they can hold a parcel for so long at their ransom – apparently my parcel has been loaded and unloaded on that damn van four times now – god forbid you send anything delicate with them – it would be well and truly shattered by now.


Uniqlo aren’t much better – they have no contact number, just an email contact (which takes ages) and they don’t answer their twitter (at least not when I’ve asked them a question).

When they have answered me twice, they basically just told me to wait…what they should’ve done was given me a call to let me know what was happening and did what New Look did which was immediately escalate the case with HDN. I don’t need them to track the item for me – I can do that myself, but what I don’t have the power to do, is to tell HDN to step on it. Obviously a complaining client is harder for them to ignore.

Today (Friday 24th) Uni Qlo haven’t bothered AT ALL to respond to my last message, (I put my number in there just in case they wanted a quicker form of communication).

I call Home Delivery Network again – today they didn’t even bother to put the parcel back on the van, instead it will go out on Monday – what for, another tour of Greater Manchester? I ask if I can collect it today after work despite it being a good 25 minute journey.

No…they say. They need 24 hours to “prepare” the package.

What – will they put it in a tux?

Well, the journey from where I live to their depot is longer and takes 45 minutes. Also, their depot shuts at 12 tomorrow which means I can wave my Saturday Morning lie in goodbye.

Ok then, deliver it TODAY, I say. After all you only load the vans after 12 (I called at 8.30am).

No can do, says the man, and it’s not his problem.


How will I ever repay them for this highly effective and not at all frustrating service? How? A bunch of Lillies and Thorntons chocolate is on its way to the Home Delivery Network customer service department as we speak!

Although…Home Delivery Network wasn’t always this bad. It was crap then it became quite a good service, now it’s become crap again and I think it’s because they have a huge influx of clients who use them because they are cheap, thus drivers can no longer fulfil their duties.

Anyway, if you use Home Delivery Network for delivery, please make this clear, companies! Please state this somewhere on your ordering page because I will most definitely be pressing the ‘back’ button.


Another Note:

Companies like ASOS and NEW LOOK are using a company called COLLECT+ and encouraging people to use it for returns. Obvious why – it’s CHEAP, cheaper than paying Royal Mail for those Freepost labels we get.

The benefits (so it says) is that you can track the parcel all the way back to the warehouse.

However I would not use them because:

a. COLLECT+ couriers are Home Delivery Network! They are owned by the same people! I imagine returned items are treated with even LESS respect than normal deliveries and…

b. You can return it to various locations, mainly little off licenses. I can’t speak for anyone else but the ones near me I found were actually quite remote spots; let’s just say the one that I nearly handed my things over to had a stylish fridge freezer chained to the window and looked like it was a head quarter for some rather enthusiastic skinhead ‘book clubs.’ I wouldn’t even get out of the car, nevermind hand some £100 boots over.


The other thing which has got me narked is how damn long it takes to process a refund. I am currently waiting for a New Look refund and two ASOS refunds – it’s been a 10 days now, and 14 days for the first ASOS return (the one they need to “look over” to make sure I haven’t damaged it myself…ahem).


It’s times like this I remember how great it is to buy something from a real store, where you can just pop in at any time to get a refund. I’ve heard some horror stories about retailers taking anything from 3 to 6 weeks to process a refund – that is totally unacceptable.

If you are a big enough outfit to be doing thousands of sales every day you should have adequate cover for the returns department – which when you are selling online – is going to be very busy.

New Look, to their credit, has a phone line for customers and when I have had to call up they have been really helpful.

However – the problem with these online refunds is that they disappear into the abyss – you send the item, no one can tell you anything, not even if it’s been signed in by someone at the company so you just have to wait and wait – it feels like pot luck when it certainly shouldn’t.

This has totally put me off buying clothes and shoes online for quite a while. Even if things do cost more on the high street at least I can try them on and return then when I wish.

Ah I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the dieting that is making me narky.

But here is my top 5 rules for online retailers

1. Thou shalt not use a crap courier

Yes they’re cheap but if you don’t want a mass of complaints, late deliveries and general bad feeling use a decent courier to do the job. God knows that when you are charging us £5 – £6 for shipping, you should be using a decent service. I like Citylink, UPS, FedEx and even Parcelforce is ok.

2. Thou shalt not sell sub standard products

This includes dusty, broken, used, opened, tampered with goods (*cough Fragrance Direct*). It also includes stuff that breaks after 5 days of poxy light wear (*cough ASOS*).

3. Thou shalt have proper ways of communication

That means e-mail and a telephone number for quick problem solving. Some people prefer to use email I don’t mind it if responses are prompt. If not, then forget it, I don’t have all day.

If you have a Twitter then you’d better answer the questions you get – otherwise DON’T BOTHER. Social Media for companies isn’t fun, it’s a massive pain in the arse unless you are willing to manage all of your channels properly.

Don’t turn into Marks and Spencer who totally use Twitter to their own ends, and ignore all criticism and complaints, but constantly retweet people’s compliments about Feta and Pine Nut salads. It makes you seem…oh, Hitler-ish.

4. Thou shalt sell what thou actually has

Nothing more annoying than handing your cash over only to find out that the product isn’t even there to be sold. Money back – NOW!

5. Thou shalt be prompt with refunding

You are quick enough to take our money, so please, as soon a you get those goods back don’t hang about, just give us back what is rightfully ours. And we will trust you and use you again, but drag it out and…well would you shop again with someone who withheld your money for weeks and weeks?

There I feel a bit better. I’ll feel much better once I have what I paid for and relevant refunds back in the bank, thanks.

Have you had any bad experiences shopping online recently?

Would you add any other commandments?

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  1. says

    I’ve never had any problems with delivery from ASOS or New Look. Orders from both sites usually arrive within a week, occasionally just a couple days. However, I do agree on the refunds point! New Look took 30 days to refund 18 quid. 30 days! If I hadn’t paid via Paypal, I’d have been able to take the items into my closest store and received an instant refund. If I wanted to, I could have exchanged in store too but I wanted a damn refund! And I didn’t want it in 30 days!

    My only real problems come from eBay but sadly that’s to be expected at some point when you use it so much.

    Here’s hoping you have better luck in future if you ever decide to go back to online shopping. Hard to resist a bargain!

    Chrissy xx

    • Row says

      Hi Chrissy

      It does depend on what service they use though. In the past I had no issues with New Look. ASOS – whenever I hear people complaining about their delivery its’ ALWAYS because its HDN delivering. When using ASOS I try different delivery choices – If I have next day it comes by Parcelforce, and they are good. If I get the free one it comes via royal mail and that turns up.

      Refunds – ARGH! I am still waiting. Same as you – won’t ever use Paypal again cos could’ve taken it to a store and had my money back now. So annoyed annoyed annoyed with them. ASOS are also taking ages – 3 weeks or so

      I use ebay A LOT and now every 20 orders, one may go missing :( it happens VERY rarely to be honest but it’s disheartening when it does x

  2. says

    God that sounds awful! I have to say, we’ve had issues with Home Delivery Network too. They take forever to deliver anything and their drivers just don’t care. It’s a shame that these companies just opt for the cheapest company. As for customer service, it seems that they’re perfectly happy to accept praise, but little else! I hope your issues get sorted out soon :)

    • Row says

      Home Delivery Network were ok for a while – actually today when we went to collect my parcel there were a load of new starters! I think they need new staff because they have SO MUCH business, but inexperienced couriers are the worst for giving up before even trying properly to deliver something! Hmph!

  3. Rebecca Ho says

    This is a lovely post and I am now more cautious when buying products online!
    I hope these companies are reading this and taking it in otherwise they will be losing some valuable customers!!!

    • Row says

      I wish they would take some notice! I am very disheartened by this, I am always the first to buy things online but I will stop buying from certain companies – not like we as consumers don’t have tons of choice!

  4. says

    I’ve had some problems shipping to friends in England from the USA :( I sent them registered mail, and they still ended up lost with my friends not receiving them.

    Locally, a few of the orders I placed that were shipped USPS, got ‘lost’ on their way to me, ending up in the wrong state before finally making it to me.

    It’s depressing, especially when you pay for Delivery Confirmation, that you can’t always expect to get what you order.

    • Row says

      It’s weird because we supposedly have one of the best postal systems in the world. I still think we are good but there are so many inconsistencies – when I lose post I lose them in sets of 3 or 4. I feel sorry for the people who sent me the items and have to replace – it takes an age to claim back too.

  5. says

    omg this is great post! thanks for sharing bout ur experience.. now i ll more carefull buy online hehehe .. i never have bad experience all this time buy online. but oh well i seldom buy stuffs online :)

    • Row says

      Once they have your money its hard work getting it back :( everything in the UK takes 7 days or 10 days or 30 days, they take the mick!

  6. stefania says

    I have had bad experience with arcadia group (topshop-miss selfringe-topman-dorothy,etc…)
    I live in italy, and I was so happy to buy online from some of these shops
    my third order from topshos is been lost (paid with visa credit card)
    they give back my money after one month, but I can’t buy anymore from them,
    they put me in a sort of black list, every time that I tried to make another order, they erase it_
    so, I made another credit card, second order not arrived, they refund me, but another time I’m in a black list_
    sadly,if you are in the black list you can’t buy from all the shops of arcadia group, is not fear!!!

  7. says

    i have never had a worse online shopping experience before, i bought a black bag 35 days ago, they sent me a burgundy bag. i asked for a replacement and they sent me another burgundy bag! and now i have to go to the post office send them back the two burgundy bags and when they take it, they will hopefully refund me my money in 10 days! and i have never seen a worse customer support there are tens of people sending mails and none of them solves a thing. and i am still waiting for another item i bought 40 days ago and today the customer support tells me one of my items is out of stock. i bought a shoe with a shirt that matches, i’ll only have the shoe… never buy a thing from asos.