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Mamas & Papas Murano cot bed - £30 for four wee replacement screws!

(2 Posts)
Skemps Wed 13-Feb-13 22:18:42

Hi all - long time reader, first time poster, however my recent experience with Mamas & Papas has prompted me post this as a warning to others considering buying one of their cots.

I have a Murano cot bed, a few years old now, but still in good nick. We're about to hand it on to some friends who have just had a new baby but on checking it I found I was missing four small screws to hold the side panels together. Not ordinary screws, of course, really strange headless ones. So I called the help line and asked to order replacement spare parts. Because the cot is now discontinued the parts are no longer held. Apparently two years is how long they hold on to these things for.

The cot bed is designed to move from a cot into a bed, so it's likely that they will be used for more than two years for a single child, never mind younger siblings who come along, or the chance to pass it on to others. So comes the first question: is two years really long enough to hold spare parts for a product of this type?

The discussion with the service agent indicated that a match for the part might be available from a parts kit from a more recent cot. On enquiring about the price for that I was advised it would be £30 plus delivery charge. 30 QUID FOR FOUR WEE SCREWS?!?! And no guarantees that they would fit either! Apparently the fittings pack is sold as a complete entity and you can't sell me the bits I'm interested in. So first they design in special fixtures which cannot be sourced at the local hardware store, and then they charge a fortune for replacements. That's what I would call profiteering.

Next on suggesting that I would like to make a complaint, the advisor indicated that she could reduce the price to £15 plus postage, again for a full fittings kit that might not fit. I declined.

Instead I did a wee bit of research, measuring the screws and the dimensions of the recess where they fit. I found they were standard I found they were 8mm M6 sized, but the only tricky part was the fact that the original fittings had no head on them at all. On closer inspection of the recess I found that it was in fact wider than the screw, so could potentially accommodate another type of head if I could find one.

So off I went to EBay, searched on 8mm M6 screws and found a pack of 10 socket head screws for £1.60 with free postage. Yes, you did read that correctly. 16p each, giving me six spares should I need them again in the future. I thought at that price is was worth a punt in case they didn't fit, so ordered them, and a couple of days later when they arrived, guess what? They fitted perfectly. So much so it was almost as if the recess was actually designed for them in the first instance. Which I suspect they probably were, but M&Ps changed the design to lock in unsuspecting customers to their customer services team for overpriced spare parts.

So I thought, "this really isn't on", and posted the story to the Mamas & Papas Facebook page.

This is the response I got:

"thank you for your post, we very much appreciate all feedback as it allows us to continually improve our products and services. We have passed your comments onto the relevant department who are looking into this and working on improving our spares service. We're really sorry that you have had a less than satisfactory experience, and we hope that this won't put you off shopping with us in the future. Thank you."

I then asked how long that would take and whether they would be updating my thread when they had resolved it. This was their reply.

"improvements to our products and services is continuous, there is no timescale. Unfortunately we will not be able to update your thread on any future improvements to the spares service. Thank you"

Unhappy with this response and lack of commitment I posted the following:

"OK, I like to think I'm a patient man. I can make the same enquiry of your contact centre on a monthly basis and post the results here if that helps. Hell, my phone contract is all inclusive so I could do it every evening and weekend. I can probably share the results on Twitter too if you like. In fact, maybe I'll set up a website and a blog and document it. That'll be good, eh? I'll also buy a bottle of champagne ready for the day that you can sell me four screws at a reasonable price instead of a full pack of stuff I don't need. Hopefully we can get there before my daughter turns 21 (she's 5 now). While I'm here I might as well ask who is in charge of spares policy at M&Ps so I can write to them too."

Hence the blog.

mamasandpapasspares.blogspot.co.uk/

And the website.

www.mamasandpapasspares.com/

And now you get to share in it.

So there you have it. It's their move. We now have to wait and see what happens next.

tallhannah Wed 10-Apr-13 10:37:21

I called the CS line yesterday. I have a cotbed that was used for my friends baby. Its a murano also, there is a slat missing. After waiting on hold for about 20 minutes, I finally spoke to a human, they said that the cot was discontinued, so when i asked if I could get one from a newer model, that is similar, I was told, that they dont have any wooden spares for any cots/beds, so basically, if you break a slat or something a year after purchase, your £400 cot is worth nothing as you can get any wooden parts, what a joke. Not the company i thought they were. Disappointed Hannah

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