We placed an order with Collins & Hayes for two Studio medium sofas and armchair on 13 June 2017 with delivery scheduled for the week commencing 3 September. C&H advised 17 weeks later, and several weeks past the scheduled date, that they could no longer fulfil the order. This doesn't even begin to describe the appalling organisation of this company though, and the utter contempt shown for the customer which is quite incredible; breathtaking, in fact.
We have been subject to a sad catalogue of poor organisation, hopeless communication and mismanagement. After just four weeks, on 8 July, we were advised that our chosen fabric was now not available, apparently due to their supplier not supporting a court judgement relating to the granting of a Company Voluntary Agreement (C&H were in the process of being taken over by Sofa Brands International). We then found that finding a substitute was a task in itself as the fabric numbers their their website and in communications with the retailer did not correspond with the sample fabrics only just brought into the showroom by their sales representative, and no-one at C&H had a clue what was going wrong, admitting that “it is all a bit of a mess’. Eventually, through our own efforts alone, and after countless telephone calls that were not answered, a common experience throughout, we found a replacement fabric.
Then, on 3 August, we receive another forwarded email from C&H, this one advising that C&H had been sold to Sofa Brands International. This said, “SBI has granted the company in Hastings the licence to fulfil the Collins & Hayes outstanding order book, which we fully intend to honour”. The retailer spoke to someone at C&H to confirm this commitment, and received absolute reassurance that this would indeed happen. We were concerned to hear of this development, but took C&H at their word, given the strength of the promise to honour order book commitments.
Subsequently, the scheduled delivery date kept slipping further and further back as 3 September approached, eventually moving to 18 September, and then to the week commencing 8 October. And then we received a shocking email, advising that they would not be honouring their commitments at all.
The letter began, "Bad news, unfortunately! We won’t be able to fulfil this order at all and will have to cancel it forthwith".
The reasons that they give for failing to show honour are simply not acceptable to the customer. They would have known about the deadlines well before the event. They had more than enough time to find a way to make sure that their promises to fulfil existing orders were not empty and disingenuous. But they didn’t.
Equally, the tone of the letter is quite appalling. Knowing that this communication would be forwarded to the customer, as suggested in the email itself, and then to lead with, “bad news unfortunately!’, to punctuate with an exclamation mark of all things, demonstrates an absolute lack of care and empathy with the customers’ feelings. I am surprised that the writer didn’t add ‘LOL’, just to underline how amusing it all is.
There is not even any attempt to help the customer in their letter, to try to seek a solution, offer suggestion, or to consider any form of compensation. They claimed that the situation is “completely out of their control”, which is laughable. They tried absolve themselves of all responsibility.
It is hard to think of any company that I have ever come across that demonstrates the same managerial ineptitude, the same cynicism for the customer, and the same readiness to make and break promises as is evident with Collins & Hayes.
They will not respond to my letters, saying that they will only deal with the retailer. My advice, then, is to stay well away from this dreadful company as they cannot be trusted and are a shambles.