John Lewis fails to deliver decent customer service, or the right sofa

27 July 2018

Moneywise helps a reader struggling to get a sofa.

On the second week of January, we engaged a John Lewis home designer to visit us and plan a couple of revamps for our lounge and hall. I thought at £250 it was a bit pricey, but as soon as you spend over £1,000 the value is refunded. Two weeks later in the Cardiff store, we signed it off and placed the order on 5 February. It was for two chairs, a chaise longue, footstool, media stand and some shutters. We were given a delivery date of 4 April.

Problems began two weeks after that, when we were told that due to a fault in the leather of the chairs and chaise longue, they had to be remade, pushing delivery out until mid-May, at a time when we were on holiday.

The delivery was arranged for 26 May but didn’t happen, despite us waiting in all day. The items eventually arrived on 29 May. But when I started to put them together, I realised they had delivered the wrong chaise longue (we required a left-hand chaise, they delivered a right-handed corner sofa). After over an hour of fruitless calls, I get through to John Lewis Cardiff, finally, for it to investigate.

It told me its suppliers had made the wrong sofa and to get the one we ordered would be a three-month delay. Many emails later, I suggested John Lewis send us the store display chaise to give us something to sit on during this further delay, rather than cancel the whole thing. It agreed to do so, but then changed the delivery dates without telling us, calling my wife while she was in hospital, despite being told that I was the one to call.

All in all, it has been dreadful. There has been no assistance, no follow-up, no responsibility from anyone to manage the process at all. Five months after the original consultation, we still don’t have what we ordered, but most incredibly, no one seems to be even slightly bothered about it.

We feel badly let down by John Lewis and the store’s customer service.


What a nightmare, and all for something decent to sit on at home! Knowing John Lewis’s reputation for service, I was surprised about the months of problems and delays you faced, but once I contacted the company’s head office it was immediately apologetic.

It said in a statement: “We are extremely sorry for the delays that the customer has experienced with this order. The service that we provide for our customers is so important to us and this case falls well below the standards that we set ourselves. We are now monitoring the production of this order as a priority to ensure that the customer receives their new furniture as soon as possible.”

That is due to happen any day now (seven months after you started the process), so I pressed the company for a goodwill payment. It told me that it will look to offer a gesture of goodwill once the goods have been delivered and you’re happy with them. That makes sense and I trust it to keep to its promise.

OUTCOME: Reader to get goodwill payment for months of stress

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Recently I signed up for a three year fixed dual-fuel deal with Engie (a French company who are relatively new to the UK market). I then asked for a smart meter and was told that they weren't taking part in that scheme at present. I was disappointed. Is this response allowed?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

John Lewis is one of a few companies that actually care about its customers and offer a very high standard with your shopping experience.The comments of one person are not justified in judging this iconic brand and you should compare this to the many satisfied customers who come back for repeat business.

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