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This isn't a full review; just a documentation of my one and only experience with thehut.com. My experience was such a farce, I feel I must document it here as a warning to others. Whilst the experience I am about to relate is undoubtedly a rare occurrence, it's worth adding it to the reviews if only to let people know that it can, and does, happen.
That said, on to the story. Are we sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin...
Having seen a date on the recent Queen + Paul Rogers tour, I decided to purchase the subsequently released live recording on CD. I searched around, as is only sensible, and found the cheapest price to be available at thehut.com- £8.99 for the CD and no delivery charge.
The site, incidentally, is well layed out, very easy to navigate and find what you're after, and the search features work well. It is colourful, and no more cluttered than other such websites.
I ordered straight away, which went without a hitch, and was easy to follow. Within two days I recieved an email notifying me of despatch.
Almost four weeks later, a package from thehut.com arrived through my letter box. This delivery, in itself, isn't something I find impressive: I know that most places, including thehut.com, suggest that consumers should "wait 28 days for delivery", but other similar sites to thehut.com have managed to deliever my requested items in much quicker time, usually with one week, and with so little to choose from between thehut.com and its contemporaries, small things make quite a difference.
I eagerly tore open the packaging to find not the Queen + Paul Rogers CD that I had ordered, but a CD entitled 'The Ultimate Yma Sumac Collection'. Puzzled, I checked the invoice, in case it was I who had made the error whilst ordering, but no- the invoice showed the information for the title I had actually ordered. I immediately emailed thehut.com for advice regarding my return of the incorrectly sent item, and was clear in my request for a freepost address that I could use, as the reason for the return of the CD was not through any fault of mine.
A little over a week later, my email recieved a response, including a printable freepost label, which I promptly printed and affixed to a padded bag. I inserted the CD, sealed the bag and wandered down to the post box.
Two further weeks later I recieved an email thanking me for returning the item, and a separate item thanking me for my recent order. The next day I recieved an email notifying me of the despatch, again, of my Queen + Paul Rogers CD.
Another three weeks later, and a package from thehut.com arrived once more. A little dubiously this time, I opened it and was relieved to see my order, complete and present at last.
To recap, it took a little under ten weeks- that's two and a half months- to recieve the item I originally ordered. The reduced price at thehut.com - around 50 pence less than the nearest competitor at the time, including postage - seems meagre compared to the reduction in service that I feel I recieved, and so I will not be ordering from thehut.com in the future. It's a shame, because the rest of the experience (apart from this one, final yet rather significant part of the transaction) went smoothly and without a hitch. I was impressed up until the point I opened the first package, from which point things went downhill.
I understand your response however if we had your contact details or had been able to locate your order we would have contacted you direct rather than through a public forum. We acknowledge that as a point of principle you do not want to accept the refund offered however we would like the opportunity to discuss what went wrong with your order so as to rectify any problems. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll gladly investigate.
temporalbandit 18.04.2006 14:33
Thanks to TheHut for responding to this review. Thanks also for the offer of a refund. I will, however, decline the offer on grounds of principle- if the offer had been made at the time, I would have been more inclined to give a favourable account of my experiences. However, as this offer has only been made after I have left negative feedback on a public forum, and as the offer has been made similarly publicly, it is obviously not standard procedure to offer a refund or any other form of remuneration when customers are put at a disadvantage through a fault of the company, and it feels a little close to some form of bribery for comfort.