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When my old Remington clippers went walkies, I decided to do my research properly and found that the Nicky Clarke NCM14 had been awarded "best buy" status by the Which guide. I thought I couldn't really go wrong there, so I happily skipped of to my local Comet's to buy them for £24.99. (This is about 6 months ago, and now they are a lot cheaper - Amazon sells them for £13.33, and with something else on the order to take it over the £15 mark, you don't even have to pay for delivery!)
I would have given these clippers top marks, but the appalling customer service provided by both the retailer and manufacturer has let them down. To be fair I will list all the positive bits first though, and come back to the negative things later. First impressions were very good; the clippers have a sturdy feel to them, not weighty enough to turn a haircut into hard work, but heavy enough to convince you of their quality. The outside material is rubber, to give you a good grip, so that you don't drop them, or simply mess up your haircut. The blades are not made of stainless steel, as on most other clippers I have experienced, but are ceramic and apparently never need oiling. I have still put the occasional drop of oil on them, as you get a complimentary little bottle in the pack. I would say that the need for this is minimal though, as my old clippers used to pull your hair like mad if they hadn't been oiled, and these ones haven't snagged once, even if I have used the oil sparingly to say the least! The clippers come with 7 different grades, a base unit to charge it in with a separate lead that plugs into it, hairdressers scissors and comb, plus a haircutting guide by Nicky Clarke, which I must admit went straight in the bin… The battery life on these is very good, so far it's never run out, although I've been charging them about every four cuts or so. My old clippers used to vibrate quite a lot, making your hand feeling all funny after using them for a while, but these ones don't give off anywhere near as much vibrations. To clean the clippers, you simply (well, maybe not quite that easy - it requires a bit of force; the first time I thought I was going to break them!) push off the blade and rinse off any hair that's left inside it. One reason I decided to buy these clippers is that they are water resistant. Although you can't submerge them in water, you can use them in the shower, without worrying about getting them wet. The main plus point for me though, was the fact that they are cordless. For any parents out there, who regularly undertake their children's haircuts, this makes the job so incredibly much easier! Previously my partner and I used to have to pin our son down, using a combination of force, bribery and threats to make him stay still while having his hair cut. Now on the other hand, I can simply follow him around with the clippers, and even if he still hates haircuts, it is so much easier than before! The other major advantage is that you can even do it in the garden, and not even have to worry about clearing all the hair up after!
Now that I've told you all the good stuff, I'm going to move on to the negatives… Well firstly shortly after buying the clippers, after looking in the instruction manual, I realised that they should have come with a guard, for safe storage, but this was missing. I then contacted Comet, asking them how to proceed, but they just said that as I no longer had my till receipt, there was nothing they could do. I found this quite hard to believe, as I had pre-ordered the clippers, as they were not in stock, and they had to create an order with my name and address details - surely they must have had a record of this? Admittedly this has nothing to do with the clippers, I am only mentioning this so that you can imagine my frustration when I had a similar response from the manufacturer. I found Nicky Clarke's customer service number on the internet (no help from Comet in providing this) and called them to ask if they could help. They advised that I would have to pay for the guard and send them a letter requesting it in writing, even if it was missing in the pack when I bought it, so I sent the payment of a couple of pounds (can't remember how much exactly) and received an envelope a couple of weeks later. As I tried to put the guard on the clippers, I realised that it didn't fit at all - it was for a completely different model! I then again contacted Nicky Clarke (not him personally, just the people in the office…) only to be told that they no longer manufacture these clippers and were therefore not able to get hold of any spares for it. Further they would not refund my payment until I had returned the guard I'd been sent in error...
So summing it up, I think this was a really good bit of kit, and I would have given it top marks, but it's a real shame it's let down by the customer service provided! A company that is unable to provide spare parts for an item that is still being sold in shops around the country doesn't exactly fill you with confidence in them, even if the product they are selling is good…
Bearing all this in mind, I'm sure you can imagine how I felt when I the other day stepped on my grade 4 comb, which is the one I use the most! Now the clippers are pretty much useless, because I can't get hold of a spare one at all, so I guess it's time to go and by myself a new set - any recommendations anyone…?