Know your rights when shopping online

Q: In May this year, I placed an internet order with Bambino Direct for a Wheely Bug [a small child’s push-along scooter] and a child’s bike, which came with a free helmet. However, when my order arrived, both the Wheely Bug and the helmet were missing.

I contacted Bambino Direct and it told me the Wheely Bug was out of stock and it had forgotten to add the helmet to the order. It promised it would refund me for the Wheely Bug and send the helmet within five days. However, to date, I have received neither the refund nor the helmet.

I sent a recorded delivery letter to Bambino Direct, once again requesting the free helmet and refund for the Wheely Bug, but it took no action. I’ve sent further emails and another letter, but still not had any results.

A: After a 15-minute wait on the phone, we managed to get through to Bambino Direct’s customer services. The free helmet you expected to receive with your order is no longer available; in its place, customers now receive a free teddy bear.

While this is a nice freebie, it’s obviously not what you were expecting and is of little use in protecting your child’s head while cycling.

Bambino Direct pointed out that the free gift is "subject to availability", but was unable to explain why this meant you were told you would receive one after five days.

However, it agreed to offer £16 compensation to cover the unavailable helmet and also agreed to refund the £39.99 for the Wheely Bug.

Bambino Direct spokesperson Mark Kelly offered a "huge apology" for the company’s failings and admitted "it is a huge concern that the company has taken so long to deal with this complaint".

He also pointed out that the company was recently bought by Buy It Direct, and he hopes that, in the future, Bambino Direct will offer better customer service. "We’re looking to turn Bambino Direct around.

"So, for example, we’ll update the website more regularly, and if an item included in a promotion goes out of stock, we’ll show this online."

Success at last – but it’s frustrating to see a reputable UK company take so long to give a customer their money back, and then only after our intervention.

If you want moneywise to fight for your rights, get in touch with us here.

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