ACHICA ?

(169 Posts)
phoebus Mon 30-Apr-12 14:42:33

As ACHICA is a Mumsnet Partner - (and I have nothing but the highest esteem for you, Mumsnet!) - I foolishly trusted them, as they seemed to have lots of great stuff for sale on their site, so I signed up as a 'member' a few weeks ago. - Wish I hadn't now!! - Of my 2 orders, things have gone badly wrong in both cases:

- First order (small) took forever to arrive, and then, when it did, one item was smashed. Lo and behold, I discovered that they have got NO PHONE LINE on which you can ring them to discuss any problems!! - the only way to 'communicate' with them, is laboriously and indirectly, via an 'online helpdesk' and it takes them at least 2 days to get back to you via email. OK, well I did this, and eventually I got a reply promising to send me a replacement. Which never came. So a subsequent laborious 2nd email from me a couple of weeks later, got another slow, emailed reply to say, oh we haven't got that item after all, so now we'll give you a refund. (But they'd never bothered to let me know that! I'd had to chase them up for that info) . And that refund has still not arrived, after a few weeks.

- Second order (much larger, around £500) I thought better of the next day, so I emailed the so-called 'Helpdesk' to cancel it a few hours later, as I was well within my rights, and their given timescale, to do this. Received a reply to say that was fine, they had 'cancelled it and had refunded my credit card in full'. This was two weeks ago. My credit card statement arrived today, and - guess what - it shows the full amount which they HAVE TAKEN, despite their promise not to. I've rung my card provider who assure me that I have not had this refund. Once again, search as I might, I cannot find any phone number for Achica Customer Care or complaints etc! The lack of this vital channel should have warned me at the outset.

Anyone else been taken for a ride by ACHICA? Are they just extremely incompetent, or actually a load of crooks?

MissPenteuth Mon 30-Apr-12 15:42:12

I ordered a vase from them once, as a present for a relative. Didn't have any problems, it arrived on time and in once piece.

I hope they're not a bunch of crooks; I ordered a changing bag from them a few days ago. My only gripe would be that their 'bargains' can often be found cheaper on sites like Amazon, and once you factor in P+P you don't actually save much unless it's a large item. They've been doing free P+P recently though.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 30-Apr-12 16:54:05

Hello.

We've been in touch with Achica about your post, phoebus, and they've asked us to post up this statement:

"We're sorry to hear you are experiencing problems with your ACHICA orders, phoebus. ACHICA are keen to resolve any outstanding issues so please do contact their help desk quoting 'Mumsnet', and a senior advisor will be in contact with you as soon as possible."

Katisha Mon 30-Apr-12 17:01:08

The only time I tried to order from them didn't work out. For some reason they decided to withdraw the item. I did get the refund but it's all very slow moving.

phoebus Mon 30-Apr-12 17:53:02

Thanks for these comments Helen and Katisha. I am now looking forward very much to ACHICA's senior advisor contacting me soon (as promised in yr post, Helen!...) I have indeed been trying to contact their slow-moving help desk a few times already today, so they should be well aware!

I have actually just been looking back at your last year's posts from the MN guinea-pigs who were testing out the ACHICA site using Mumsnet Vouchers - heigh ho, lot of it looks very familiar!!! - a lot of the same complaints as mine, but seemingly they haven't improved or changed anything over past months, despite the clear and spot-on feedback from the Mumsnetters involved in the trialling. Wish I'd seen all those posts before getting involved with them.

phoebus Wed 02-May-12 14:26:56

Today's update: I did get an email at last back from ACHICA yesterday (1st May) confirming that they had now finally issued both refunds due to me. So a few hours later, I checked with my card provider ... no refund had yet appeared. Same story this morning: no funds have yet reappeared in my account. It may just be 'slow-moving', and maybe it really does take a few days for funds to move over...but seems odd that funds are able to leave one's account instantaneously when the money is being taken! (Why shouldn't it be equally simple for them to credit an amount back if taken in error?)

So I'm still waiting, and still not feeling reassured......

Katisha Wed 02-May-12 18:52:10

Oh dear. .. Probably taking " three days to clear"

BIWIWhoMustBeObeyed Wed 02-May-12 18:54:34

I only tried once to buy something from ACHICA. I had been offered a £10 off voucher for my first purchase. Got to the checkout, and realised that they weren't taking the £10 off.

So I cancelled the order and have been put off from using them ever again.

TheBolter Wed 02-May-12 18:55:58

I would also like to take the liberty of advising all not to touch MADE with a bargepole either - they sent me something which was misdescribed and wouldn't respond to my emails demanding a refund/exchange. Dreadful company - there are forums out there slagging them off so I'm not the only one who's ben stung.

At least you seem to be getting it sorted out now phoebus. smile

TheBolter Wed 02-May-12 18:56:35

Sorry Phoebus,looks like it's not getting sorted after all.. hmm

efffy Wed 02-May-12 21:50:57

I've had ishoos with achica too, they completely ignored any emails I sent. So I 'liked' them on fb and joined the swarms of scathing reviews and only then it got sorted, wouldn't use them again!!

phoebus Wed 02-May-12 23:25:39

Thanks for sharing these experiences,guys, it's interesting to hear that I am not alone as a dissatisfied customer here. I'm certainly not going to let this one go until its sorted - (even if it ultimately means going to Trading Standards or whatever watchdogs one goes to in these kinds of cases......) I'll keep you updated on this thread as to any further developments, as I believe it's in the public interest!

SoupDragon Thu 03-May-12 07:26:22

Apparently they have a Facebook page. people have, from googling, had success complaining and ranting on there.

ToothbrushThief Thu 03-May-12 07:34:53

Poor customer service in this financial climate is surely suicide?

phoebus Thu 03-May-12 11:37:44

Thanks Toothbrush and SoupDragon for your input.....helpful and sympathetic! Thanks also to the Mumsnet Team who have helped me flag up my strong concerns in this situation, and - respect! - I do believe you have helped me get it resolved too now - SEE BELOW!

Yes, I have (at last) GOOD NEWS.....My refund DID - finally - appear in my account today .....Phew!!! But what a battle it's all felt like. Nothing like your normal shopping experience, that's for sure! I think you were right Katisha; they had actually sent it through on 1st May ( from ACHICA) but it seemed to take 3 days to clear (and wasn't even visible to my provider as a 'pending' payment before that).

So now I know: ACHICA is probably an honest business after all, as they have - (just in the past 2 days, mind) - made genuine efforts to get me my (originally messed-up by them) refund; and - since I started kicking up all this fuss! - I have received a direct email from a financial officer there, AND a direct phone call (although from them to me, no number given) today. BUT if I'd been a more compliant, passive customer (or just an even more befuddled, overworked frantic Mum, perhaps less vigilant over checking my credit card balance etc ).....they could have got away with an awful lot on this occasion. So my advice is, if you shop with them, be very watchful, be very proactive, chase everything up yourself and do not necessarily assume that they will be sorting out your problems, if there are any. (EG: I wasn't contacted about a previous missing replacement, or refunded for it either, until I personally drew it to their attention after a very long wait). Their products do indeed look lovely and tempting... but will they survive in today's marketplace if they don't get their customer service act together? I doubt it. I'm not shopping there again. Too painful.

MarshaBrady Thu 03-May-12 11:39:04

O crap I'm waiting for two orders from them.

phoebus Thu 03-May-12 11:51:33

Well I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, Marsha - hopefully they have now had a little bit of a wake-up call recently, because I have been really assertive and bolshie with them and they must realise that they are attracting some not-good publicity here... Statistically (? not that I know anything about statistics really!) SOME orders must go through smoothly and successfully - so here's hoping that yours is one of those.

BTW they did let me know that they have plans in the pipeline to open a customer call centre one day, so that might be the salvation of them.....

MarshaBrady Thu 03-May-12 11:54:55

Thanks Phoebus. I hope so.

It makes me nervous when there isn't a phone contact line, I didn't check. And I do love the stuff they send through by email.

I'm really glad they sorted it out for you.. in the end!

SoupDragon Thu 03-May-12 12:30:15

Your experience doesn't seem uncommon TBH. It sounds like they are struggling with insufficient staff numbers.

naturalbaby Thu 03-May-12 13:34:46

I've ordered a few bits for the kids and never had any problems. I don't have high expectations of delivery/refunds/customer service if I need it because of the type of company it is, but with the value for money I've had I'm more than happy.

phoebus Thu 03-May-12 14:24:54

Hi natural, really glad you have had a good experience in contrast to mine, and I agree that it's important to recognise that as well, in order to show a properly balanced picture. I'm not out to blacken their reputation without a very good reason.... In fact to prove that point I can now thankfully add something more positive: I have just had a (2nd) pleasant and apologetic email from one of ACHICA's customer service advisors, who has recognised what a lot of trouble I have had, and I have now been sent a generous voucher to use with them if I did wish to shop again with them in the future. (Not rushing back quite yet, but we'll see.... (is there an 'OK then, I'm mollified' emoticon?)

I have also been informed that they have taken note from all customers regarding communication, and that they are looking into a customer service line being set up; they say they are quite a young company originally 'internet-based only', but are now reconsidering that, it appears. At least they are beginning to see the need for customers to be able to speak to a human being when it's imperative, anyway. The advisor signed off with a laudable resolution to 'log all ACHICA complaints so we can better ourselves as a company'.

So all is forgiven, ACHICA, I'll give you another chance - as all the right noises are being made now. Anyone can make mistakes and learn from them and try harder next time...If they get a real grip of all these service issues, their products do look different and good, so they should be able to do well. I hope that all this is of encouragement to those who have ordered, and now started to worry after reading my post. Hope all your orders come through OK and that you get the service you wish for.

MarshaBrady Fri 04-May-12 17:00:52

Oh you should use the generous voucher sounds great, I know it's painful when there isn't a contact you can speak with when things go wrong. But I'm glad they have sent a voucher.

My light just arrived, and I'm really pleased with it. I must admit I find their daily emails quite enticing. I thought it was low quality stuff for ages (the name must have put me off) so I didn't bother to click. But lots is just general stuff that you might get from SCP etc

Anyway I got the Flos light and it looks nice. Easily pleased! smile

phoebus Sat 05-May-12 17:45:51

Glad your delivery arrived OK and you like the light! Hopefully things are now on the up with ACHICA for everyone....

phoebus Sat 05-May-12 17:55:50

I'm just trying to learn how to use a smiley now (never done it before...) so here goes .....smile

phoebus Mon 28-May-12 13:00:53

MUCH HAPPIER NOW WITH ACHICA Today my most recent order arrived
- two days early
- in good condition,
- at a very good price (thanks to the goodwill voucher I had received, following the earlier problems mentioned in the above posts).....

So, thanks to ACHICA. My confidence is restored smile. I am finally getting used to the way they operate (online only, etc); look forward to the day when they have a Customer Service telephone line, and I will be shopping with them again now.

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