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Surely most people will have hear of Lastminute.com, who, in a storm of hype, announced their decision to float on the Stock Market back in 2000. I've been a long-time user of lastminute.com, mainly because the gifts they provided were really unusual, off-beat and not too pricey. So how are they shaping up?
To those who've never used lastminute.com before, a brief explanation of the way they work is in order. They are, essentially, a 'middle-man', providing you with special offers and deals from selected companies. As the website name suggests, they offer many 'last-minute' deals on things such as restaurant bookings, flights (within the UK and abroad) and theatre bookings. They also stock a great line in gifts.
Well, my last encounter with lastminute.com was in some ways good and, unfortunately, very bad in others. To explain :- I ordered an item from them, which arrived broken. This was a couple of weeks before Christmas. After several attempts at contact, none of which were replied to, I eventually received a duplicate item, at no charge to myself, and right before Christmas.
This incident highlighted two things for me - firstly, that their range of gifts was still as funky and fresh as ever, and secondly, that their customser service standards had gone down the proverbial pan. It could just be the Christmas rush that was responsible for their lack of response, but to be fair to myself, I gave them plenty of time (and e-mails to an 'urgent' address) to do something about it.
Having never used their services to book hotel rooms etc, I cannot possibly comment on their level of service on that front, but I will say that their prices are very reasonable. Bear in mind that they are providing these services from another supplier, though, so you may be able to get a better deal if you can shop around. As far as gifts go, though - excellent range, albeit some of them are a little extravagant (and expensive!). Delivery time is usually very fast, although I would stress once again that the item you order does not come from lastminute.com directly, it comes from their supplier. So you have no option to specify methods of delivery - although there is usually a section in the product description providing delivery details.
As for the site itself - very nice, easily navigable, and with a very nice touch - namely, an on-line chat mode which connects you with a Customer Service representative! So if you're having problems, you can start up the chat session and have someone guide you through the site while you're on-line.
I use lastminute.com only occasionally, for that extra-special or unusual gift - don't come to the site with a specific gift in mind, just come with an open mind!