DREADFUL, UNCARING

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384Vaughan's review of The Gift List - John Lewis

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“DREADFUL, UNCARING”

Written on: 05/02/2020 by 384Vaughan (1 review written)

We found the John Lewis Wedding List Service extremely poor: I question whether it is legal, it is certainly not ethical. And I see see we are not alone.

For my daughter’s wedding last year, many guests purchased gifts from an on line John Lewis Gift List, at that time John Lewis took their money and banked it and the gift givers and the bride and groom both received confirmation from John Lewis that items had been purchased for them.

However, on returning from honeymoon, they discovered a number of gifts were missing. When they phoned, John Lewis informed them that the missing items were no longer in stock, but they could collect gift vouchers to the value, from the store. Upsettingly, some items were parts of matching dinner service so they were left with an incomplete set.

It is not the Gift List policy to “pick items” at the stage of purchase and payment, nor mark them as out of stock. This allows John Lewis to keep selling and accepting money for items, whether they are able to fulfil their order or not. John Lewis told me that my daughter had been informed – but the email address they gave me was unrecognisable. As only gift vouchers are given in compensation John Lewis profits from the situation and the young couple loses out.

In John Lewis' explanatory letter they conceded that when someone purchases a gift item, they are not picked and put aside. Neither are "out of stock" items removed from sale or flagged, but the Gift List Service continues to sell and accept money for items in the (vague) hope that they will become in stock by the time the items are packed to send. In my daughter's case, John Lewis simply decided not to bother to restock the items that had been paid for.

The gift givers still believe that their gifts have been received by the young couple, for they were never notified or given an option to purchase the items elsewhere. Thank you’s had to be written for unreceived gifts, rather than risk upsetting guests. Why were the people buying the gifts and paying for them not notified? No doubt that is also in their small print somewhere – entirely for their own benefit.
When I wrote to the Managing Director, Ms Nickolds, I was expecting a reputable company like John Lewis to be concerned, and to have purchased the missing items for them, since they were still easily available elsewhere, I checked. But they declined to do so - instead pointing out the small print on the contract that my daughter and son in law had signed in the store - that allowed John Lewis to exchange any items for a gift card instead. This of course leaves John Lewis profiting from their unethical processes - at their customer’s expense. Eventually John Lewis gave my daughter and her husband cash equalling the sale value of the items – which was about a quarter of the price which they would have to pay elsewhere with their own money to obtain the missing items.

Given their numerous value statements, I was somewhat taken aback that John Lewis were also not interested in learning from our experience and making improvement to their service, to at least help future customers.
Shame on you John Lewis – in this instance, you have clearly failed to live up to your published key value statements:

“DO RIGHT: We act with integrity and use our judgement to do the right thing
ALL OR NOTHING: We put everything we have into everything we do
GIVE MORE THAN YOU TAKE: We put more in, so everyone gets more out”

I am left wondering how the decision makers in this case manage to sleep at night.

I do hope, at least, other engaged couples think VERY carefully before trusting John Lewis with gifts for the biggest day of their life and the setting up of their home together.

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