My husband swears by John Lewis, in his eyes they could do no wrong, that has all changed this week.
The moment we exchanged contracts on the new house we went to John Lewis to choose appliances, my husband (very British) is a big believer in the extra guarantee and peace of mind that John Lewis offer. We were aware that we may pay a bit extra compared to online prices but we thought that that extra peace of mind was worth it.
Our appliances, a Miele washing machine and a Bosch dishwasher were due to be delivered and installed on Tuesday. First in the house was the washing machine, husband was extremely displeased that the installation part didn't include checking whether the appliance was levelled and quite obviously it didn't include reading the manual of the 1,000 pounds worth of washing machine. The transit bar covers were snapped off and broken instead of slotted in the relevant spaces after transit. The fitter couldn't work out how to drain the machine. A wash was started to check whether the machine could drain properly, then he didn't know how to cancel it so kept switching it on and off. He finally managed to cancel the cycle.
When we read the manual we realised that we had to run a first full empty cycle to get the machine working properly. Well, that didn't happen, did it?
In summary, his training was limited and he had obviously never read the instruction manual for the appliance he was delivering.
Why a Miele? They have lasted my mum several decades every time and they had an offer of 10 year extended guarantee so we decided to spend the money now and have a washing machine for at least a decade, a machine that has been tested to last 2 decades.
On to the dishwasher, we have never had room for a dishwasher and it is the one thing I knew could help improve my daily scheduling and juggling of toddler, household and freelancing work. I was so excited. But no one warned us in store that the dishwasher we bought may need a screw-on right angled attachment because we chose one with antiflood. The attachment in question costs £2.35 so why Bosch can't provide it as standard or John Lewis can't have it in their trucks when they know they are installing that specific dishwasher is beyond me.
Nor were we warned that, because of that, it could also need a bigger hole than the standard one on the side panel of the kitchen cabinet to run the hose to the pipework.
We weren't prepared so the dishwasher could be delivered but not installed (installation we had paid £25 for). What they could do is refund our fee and we would drill a hole, buy the attachment and install the dishwasher. However, when they got back to the truck to unpack it they called us out to say something was wrong with the dishwasher itself anyway, so they took it away.
After several phone calls to complain and make sure the washing machine would be ok, the Manager of Fitted Kitchens of the Cambridge John Lewis store got in touch. He refunded the installation fee of both appliances and said the dishwasher would be installed but we would not be charged. He even offered to come to our house himself at some point. We were told someone would be in touch to re-arrange delivery. They weren't, so I let him know a day later and he told us the timings.
This morning they attempted to deliver the dishwasher again, first issue to arise was the fact that they weren't aware they were supposed to install it and so no one on the lorry was qualified to fit it. Secondly, when bringing the dishwasher in, the lovely lino of our new kitchen was ripped in at least 2 places, one of them very visible. Tears came out of my eyes, we have only just moved in and the lino looks very much like tiles and is extremely easy to clean.
The guy was very apologetic, they left, he said he would call it in, both the lack of installation and the rips on the lino, then he came back to apologise again and let us know he had talked to the relevant people. Within 5 minutes, both my husband and I are were being called on our mobiles, his call was from John Lewis, mine from a company that John Lewis had contacted to come and install the dishwasher today.
Next week someone is coming to find a solution to the linoleum holes.
John Lewis in Cambridge has been one of my favourite places ever since I moved to the area, the best family room when T was tiny, the best place to buy baby things in town, the best service in the nursery department when I was in town without a stroller after husband went to work with our buggy in the boot of the car one day over Christmas.
Our faith in John Lewis however may be well beyond repair now.
Worst part though, we work very hard, we save money to buy things that may in the long run save as time and money to spend with and on our little family.
*Update: John Lewis has sent us an installer from an external building company this morning (still Friday 13th), he took his time to install it properly, read the manual and, very importantly, all he had to do to make sure our lino didn't end up with any more holes was slide a thin board underneath to put it in place, which he then removed and left here with us to avoid any further problems. Thank you Mick!
Update mid-afternoon of Friday 13th: I have to say that the John Lewis partners are bending over backwards to sort out these problems, they are sending someone next week to come look at our lino and how it can be fixed, and will replace the whole thing with something they stock if necessary but let's hope it won't come to that, I really like the one that came with the house.
Update, June 7th: I haven't updated this post as I have been a bit annoyed. the floor was repaired by a flooring specialist sent by John Lewis who told us to let it harden and give it a while before taken a decision before deciding whether we were happy with the quality of the repair. After his visit there was no further contact from John Lewis, which I thought was strange as they really should have followed it up, then about a week later I received some flowers with the note to the right. Hmmm who told you it had been put right? No one checked with us. Anyway, we have been to the John Lewis brasserie in Cambridge since then but it has put me off buying the snuggler we were looking to buy for the living room from there.