Friday, 3 October 2014

Why I won't be shopping with Smyths Toy Store this Christmas

Yesterday the NC spotted something at Smyths Toys that he thought the kids would like for Christmas. So, we went to their website, and selected to 'Click and Collect' at our nearest store - about a half hour drive away.

Did you know that at Smyths, you have to pay, or at least enter your payment details before you can Click and Collect. You can't just reserve it and then pay in cash. As the NC went to enter card details, I stopped him and said "Select the PayPal option instead - I think I get nectar points when I use my PayPal account".
So he did, and off we went, taking a slow amble via Starbucks, towards the giant toy store, knowing that even though the order acknowledgement said "Don't go to your store until you have our email confirming it's ready", we'd also read that most orders were ready within 60 minutes on a working day.

We took our chances - within a few minutes we'd had an email from PayPal confirming that an order had been placed with Smyths and the money would be reserved (although not taken from my account until the item had been collected), and an hour and 15 minutes after placing our order we tentatively asked at the Smyths store if our order was ready.

"What order, they replied?". They hadn't received the order from Head Office yet. It was probably the 'fraud investigations' it has to go through - the assistant told us. "The email does state not to come until you receive confirmation, but it probably won't be long." We agreed to have a wander around the other shops and wait for the email.

Impatiently, the NC rang up Smyths Head Office, confused about the security systems and fraud processes, as after all, we'd had confirmation from PayPal about the money being reserved, where was our order and what else did they need to know?? After 18minutes on hold, he finally got through to someone who could see our order, but couldn't speed it up, couldn't do anything with it, and couldn't tell us anything - useful huh?

Then within 5 minutes another email from Smyths arrived - I perked up, woo hoo, this was what we'd been waiting for. But no, it was an email saying that the item was still in my basket and I hadn't checked out. What??!! What on earth was going on?

The NC, who'd had enough of waiting and like me, was confused by this latest email, marched over to the store and demanded to see a manager to find out what was going on.
"Well I'm afraid we have our fraud procedures to go through, it could still take some time..."
"What fraud procedures - you have confirmed the order, reserved payment, what else do you need to check?" I questioned. "Isn't Paypal guaranteed payment?"
"It's just our procedures, I can phone IT to see what's going on if you like?".

So he phoned up, and we were told that our order still hadn't gone through the fraud procedures.
Could still be hours!
Having had enough of waiting, and concerned that we weren't going to make it back home for the school run, I decided I wasn't that bothered and asked could they please cancel the order. I'd tried - as I have an online account - but there were no options for me to cancel or edit my order either through the Smyths website or with Paypal, which I think is pretty damn poor.

"Well we can't do it in store I'm afraid, it's with head office, I can try ringing but I'm not sure they can cancel the order." The manager feebly explains.
"What happens if they can't cancel it then?" I ask.
"Well, we just have to wait for the order to come through, then if you don't pick it up, it'll be cancelled and the money released back to your account...we just have to let it run it's course". Oh yeah, that's a great idea...NOT.

So he rang head office, and eventually got through, managed to cancel the order, and explained to me that it would take 2 days before the money would be released back to me. And within minutes of me walking out of the store I had the cancellation confirmation - an automated response that didn't actually address the issues or the cancellation reason.

So I'm still confused, and here are my issues and gripes:
I can place an order, but cannot cancel or edit it.
The money can be reserved immediately, but you cannot collect your item until 'fraud procedures' are completed.
No-one can explain what these 'fraud procedures' are.
Your money can be reserved instantly, but takes 2 days to release.
In any other retail transaction I have undertaken, I pay money, then collect an item. Not pay money, wait until 'fraud procedures' are completed, and then collect an item. Can you imagine that each time you order groceries through Tesco? Or hand in your slip at Argos? How will Santa manage in a few months time??
I'm 'known' to the company - I have an account after previously ordering with them, I'm on their marketing database and receive catalogues, why do I still need to go through further security checks to buy a flipping Hexbug set?!!!

Smyths what is going on? Why the long processes? What are the processes? Why can no-one explain them? Why can't I get my order once it's been paid for? Why can't I cancel my own order? Have you heard of customer service? I gave you multiple opportunities - in store, on the phone and by Twitter to respond and resolve the situation, but sadly ended up cancelling my order because of the lack of help.

And to finish it all, the manager did not apologise for the problems. And when I tweeted Smyths yesterday I got automated responses with a link to their contact us page. Again, very helpful.

So dear reader, apologies for this rant, but as a busy mum of two, who already deals with challenging behaviour at home, I don't want any more just to buy a toy. This is why I won't be shopping with Smyths this Christmas, and I suggest if you want decent customer service, efficient resolution to any issues, and don't want to feel like a criminal for placing an order - then you might consider where you shop.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for this review by Smyths Toy Store. This is an honest review and reflects my own experiences.


  1. ive the problem that my order hasnt arrived from the courier or its been delivered to the wrong address iam in the dark ,no refund no items or any information whats going on.Wont be ordering again.

  2. smyths is useless, my advice is to not buy anything from there. The click and collect services they provide is poor very very poor

  3. Can't even find how to pay with paypal the logos are all over the site, payment option though nowhere to be found. Not impressed.