I would like to make a complaint. On Thursday 14th August I purchased the following:
1 Commtel (UK) Ltd - 6M Line Cord White BT to RJ11 at £5.99 to replace a shorter cable in my place of work.
It doesn’t say on the packaging whether it is intended for home or office use, but given that my home phone has a lead that can’t be detached and therefore doesn’t have an RJ11 type connector on one end, while our work phones can be detached and do have what looks like an RJ11 on one end I assumed that this would indeed be suitable for office use.
The packaging simply said:
6M Line Cord White BT to RJ11
Replace damaged telephone line
Increase the distance you can move your phone from the socket
I did approach one of your employees for confirmation but when I approached him he let out an audible grunt, which seemed to suggest that he wasn’t in the mood for full sentences so I went ahead and purchased it and got another grunt as I left.
When I returned to the office I opened the “blister pack” carefully and tried connecting the cable to the phone I realised that there is indeed a difference between home and office phones. The connector on the end of this cable has 4 pins while I required 6.
The following day I tried returning the cable. Sadly your assistant did not marvel at my careful cutting of the “blister pack” and instead told me that I couldn’t have an exchange or refund because it wasn’t in its original condition as the packaging had been opened. I explained to the assistant that I’d read the description of the item and it looked like the right thing. He looked at me as if I’d just crawled out the Clyde and evolved on my way down Dixon Street and asked why I hadn’t looked inside the clear plastic packaging…
This is the offending item (at roughly actual size)
As you can see it’s patently obvious that this is a 4 pin connector for home use and not a 6 pin for office use, bear in mind that the pins are located on the side against the cable and that the 4 pin connectors have indentations for 6 pins too but only 4 are gold, thus making it ever so tricky to discern whether one is faced with a 4 pin or 6 pin connector when squinting and re-adjusting the plastic casing against the light (in future I will bring a torch and magnifying glass with me when I shop in your store).
With this in mind, do you expect all of your customers to come into your shop read the scant description of the product they think they want but in order to realise exactly what it is they’re buying…have a peek inside and hope that they can pick out the tiniest of details? In that case you may as well have the words “Mc Chicken Sandwich”, “Nat King Cole’s greatest hits” or “Life-sized inflatable Xena Warrior princess” printed on your cables (incidentally all 3 are probably guaranteed to increase your sales).
In hindsight I should’ve told your employee that I had eyesight problems. I wonder what he’d have said then? “You bought the wrong thing? Did you look inside? Oh, you’re blind? Well did you try smelling it? Our 6 pin connectors give off a subtle aroma of patchouli while our 4 pins smell of ylang ylang”
Of course the issue wasn’t that I didn’t look, as I examined all the phone cables on offer, and picked this one as it looked the same as the one in the office, I just didn’t know that underneath the 6 ridges of the “Registered jack” were 4 gold pins instead of 6!
Yes, the customer should know what he is buying and if he buys the wrong thing, tough luck. If I went into your shop to buy a Home computer and came out with an aquarium then that would be extremely stupid, but in the case of telephone cables I don’t think it’s exactly common knowledge that there are 6 pin and 4 pin connectors, especially when (1) the packaging of said item does not inform you clearly of what’s inside (all that is required is the words “for home use” or “4 pins” etc) and (2) according to some of the sites I’ve looked at on the internet, an RJ11 has 2 active pins, while a RJ14 has 4 and an RJ25 has 6. The item I purchased has 4 gold pins, which would suggest to me 4 active pins, therefore an RJ14. Some of the websites I looked at even suggested that an RJ11 has 6 active pins, although I did find a site which said “The 6-pin jacks are frequently, and incorrectly, referred to as RJ11 connectors.” It’s not exactly clear cut and I should think that if you are selling these it should be made obvious what’s for sale.
I’ve bought a number of items from your stores over the years and I’ve realised that quite a few come in those awful “blister pack” boxes that require scissors or a knife to open and once they are open they’re open for good. I suspect this is a con and not an issue with yourselves, but why do you insist on stocking them? Do you have a preference for blister packed items?
Are they cheaper? I would doubt that as I have purchased more affordable cables from elsewhere that usually come in those plastic pouches stapled to cardboard (you sell audio connectors in this form of packaging).
Is it to prevent theft? Again I would doubt that and given that you sell such items as “Miniature Covert Night Vision CCTV Camera with Audio” I would have thought you would have your stores covered against any potential thefts.
This is 2008, we can send shuttles to Mars, clone sheep named Dolly and even men are giving birth these days, yet cables come in boxes where the packaging is destroyed in the opening process. I would be interested if you could divulge your reasons for using this form of packaging (I have included a copy to the cable manufacturer)
As a final note, on the day I purchased the cable, Feeder’s pop-rock-grunge-emo song for spotty teenager’s everywhere “Just A Day” was playing, when I returned the following day at the exact same time to try and return the cable the same utterly abysmal song was playing, it did leave me wondering whether your staff are forced to endure the same song over and over again ad infinitum, which might explain the regressive grunting, and with that I will end with a line from that song, which probably sums up how I feel about your returns policy regarding items place in archaic packaging.
I guess you think it’s funny now, funny now, it’s such a shame