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We have held an Argos card for 4 years. We have used it on approximately 4 ocassions during that time. We have used the card to make larger purchases on the interest free credit scheme which has until now worked fairly smoothly. Once we have purchased an item, we pay a small sum every month during the interest free term and then settle the balance. This week however, we had our 'fingers burnt'. Almost a year ago we purchased an item for almost £400 on a 12 month interest free term - for the first few months we paid a small amount every month, we then decided we would ask for Argos vouchers as gifts at our wedding during the year. I read the 'small print' and found nothing to suggest that vouchers would not be an acceptable form of payment. This week I called up to find out how we go about settling the balance in this manner. We were told this was not acceptable and that vouchers were only accepted over the counter for goods bought in store.
I asked to speak to a Customer Services supervisor who treated me in the most sarcastic and patronising manner imaginable. I said that I had read the small print and that it did not say vouchers were not acceptable payment - the supervisor's response was "neither does it say they are" - I was flabergasted! As we are now facing settling a large balance in a few weeks time I asked that if under the circumstances an additional interest free term could be considered - the response was very emphatic - NO. I asked if she would look at our record and let me know if we were considered to be good customers - she did this and replied yes we would be. I then asked why they would not be willing to maintain a good customer. The response to this was that most of their customers are in fact happy (in a tone that led me to assume that it didn't really matter whether I was happy or not).
In researching further I find that their small print includes a clause 'Relaxing the term' which states that in some circumstances the term of an agreement can be changed. The Terms and Conditions on their voucher states that they may be used as payment or part payment for goods or services purchased at an Argos Store. I would argue that I purchased a service at an Argos Store and wish to make a part payment. The Terms on the voucher also state what they may not be used for, this includes being redeemable for cash or being exchanged under their 16 day refund policy. Nowhere does it state that they may not be used to pay balances on the Argos Card.
I now wait with baited breath to see if they respond to my letter within the two day period as stated in their small print. The bottom line is their staff are rude, unsympathetic, sarcastic and ill informed. I would urge anyone considering taking out a card to be aware that they may find advantages through interest free purchases but heaven help them if you need any form of customer service or have a complaint
I have to agree with you here, I work for Argos, and offering argos cards, is one thing I always feel really bad about, normally don't do it, unless their is a supervicer watching. The worrying thing about them is that despite the outragous rates of interest people still take them, many atually request them even when not offered them.
littleboo21 26.03.2005 23:44
As an ex-employee of Argos I can sympathise with your situation, there is no customer service training that I'm aware of. If I was you I'd take a trip to the Citizen Advice Bureau... they maybe able to help. Sarah x
mizz_behaves 25.02.2005 14:44
TRy the trading standards office if you don't get any joy!!
look forward to an update