Evetech has been accused of contravening the Consumer Protection Act by not refunding customers to the full value of products which break or do not function as expected.
Many customers complained they were offered Evetech store credit instead of cash as refunds when their product broke.
They also said the value of the Evetech store credit was much less than what they paid for the product.
One customer said Evetech cited “depreciation and use of the product” as the reason for the store credit being of a significantly lower value than the price paid.
This is against the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) which imposes an automatic warranty which all goods must comply with.
Section 56 of the CPA states:
Within six months after the delivery of any goods to a consumer, the consumer may return the goods to the supplier, without penalty and at the supplier’s risk and expense, if the goods fail to satisfy the requirements and standards contemplated in section 55, and the supplier must, at the direction of the consumer, either
(a) repair or replace the failed, unsafe or defective goods; or
(b) refund to the consumer the price paid by the consumer, for the goods.
According to many complaints by Evetech customers, the company is not adhering to the CPA.
The situation became so problematic that technology classifieds forum Carbonite banned Evetech from having any dealings on its website.
Carbonite said its decision was due to Evetech’s “blatant disregard for decency with regards to their warranties”.
Evetech insider reveals what is really happening
MyBroadband spoke to a source with in-depth knowledge of Evetech’s operations and support channels, who provided details on how the retailer handles refunds.
The person provided this information with the agreement that they would remain anonymous because of their dealings with Evetech.
He told MyBroadband the employees who work in the support department cannot be blamed for the poor refunds.
“They can only work with what they are given. They always have to jump through hoops before they can help a customer,” he said.
MyBroadband asked him for details about the support and refund process. Here is what he said.
If a customer was unhappy with a product, what was Evetech’s usual response?
The support staff’s instruction was to try to get them to keep the product. If they insist on returning it, customers were informed they can return it at their cost and that there will be a 20% restocking fee.
If a customer wanted their money back because they were unhappy with a product, what was Evetech’s usual response?
The same as the above. Support staff had to find out why the customer was unhappy and try to get them to keep the product.
If they wanted to return it because they were just unhappy, the same conditions as above would apply.
Many unhappy customers would cause a scene or write a bad review and then the rules would be bent for them.
If a product broke under warranty, what was Evetech’s usual response?
It depended on the situation. If it was within the first 7 days – 10 days if it was delivered – the item had to be exchanged, although the support staff had to constantly remind the managers of this and the CPA regulations.
Within the first 6 months the same as above would apply – just a bit slower. Sometimes they would first send an item to the local supplier instead of just crediting, replacing, or refunding.
After 6 months they couldn’t care less. The item was to be sent to Evetech – at the customers own expense – and they would take the warranty further with the suppliers. The customer would have to wait.
If a customer asked for a refund because of a broken product, what were support staff encouraged to tell them?
Customers were told Evetech does not do refunds – unless they knew the CPA – and that the company could give them store credit or swap the item out for an item of similar value.
Do you think Evetech is treating its customers fairly?
No, they don’t. The support staff have to follow rules to resolve a customer’s problems or complaints.
Support staff would receive the item and test it. If it is faulty there will be a swap-out if it was within the 7 to 10-day window. It would sometimes also be done within the 6-month window, but then the stock manager, accounts, and the general manager would have to agree it is necessary.
The other option is to send the item to the supplier, and they would either swap out the item or credit it. If a supplier credits the item, Evetech will try to replace the item from its own stock, or something of the same value.
After six months you would only get supplier credit. The credit note is for the wholesale cost of the item, which means the customer gets the credit ex-VAT and ex-mark-up, and they are told that it is because of depreciation of value.
Evetech told MyBroadband they would never undervalue their customers, in any circumstance.
The company’s full statement is provided below.
We would never undervalue our customers, in any circumstance. In most cases, there is a single item that becomes faulty and would need to be tested and replaced. However, in these cases, the single item comes from a bundle, a PC build or upgrade kit. We ensure to reduce the prices on all these bundles to make them more affordable. Item purchased individually are based on MSRP whilst items in upgrade kits and custom desktop build orders are not, this results in single components being more expensive than items in kits or builds and therefore credit passed in a kit or a build will not be of the same value as if the item was purchased individually. Items found faulty in a kit or a build will, therefore, be credited based on their price in the kit or build, not as an individual component. Stock availability for swap-outs or replacements can also have an impact on this and are dependent on what is offered by the manufacturer as a replacement.
[Incorrect in-stock listings] come down to two things: Supply chain issues and delays in order processing.
The biggest contributor to these issues with stock availability is the expected ETA on stock continuously having to be pushed back due to delays, sometimes moving stock ETA back with weeks if not months. Combining that with delays in order processing due to reduced staff levels during lockdown resulted in orders being processed as “in-stock”; however, the existing stock was yet to be allocated to orders placed prior. The system works with a “first-in, first-out” system. If the system has processed a payment that was made for the same item a minute earlier, unfortunately, that person will then receive the item. Evetech takes orders online and via email; this is why we have the first-in, first-out policy after payment has been made.
When issues occur where stock is unavailable we will always offer either a replacement for similar specs or offer you a refund on the product and in most instances we offer a replacement with a better spec product if we have the stock available. Should the only available replacement be significantly more expensive we will offer it at a reduced price in order to compensate for the inconvenience.
Admittedly there was a significantly large delay in items going out to our customers. We have taken steps to keep customers informed of the delays and to make sure they were informed before placing an order that there are delays in delivery. We reached out on all our social media platforms regarding the delays, posted the official letter that was sent to us by Aramex and also placed notification banners as well as an FAQ page with the lead times and additional information on the front page of the Evetech website.
There was also a complete operational halt at the two main depots for our courier service, Aramex, which resulted in even more delays due to their backlog that had to be resolved after operations resumed at the depots. By the time that Aramex reopened, their depot was full with deliveries that needed to go out whilst working with a very limited staff base. Initially, there was a predicted 5-6 day delay for Aramex to catch up, however, the full extent of the backlog was more serious than initially predicted and resulted in delays of up to two weeks for deliveries to take place.
In terms of the customer service complaints, we have done our absolute best to ensure that we answer every email as fast as we possibly can with the limited staff that we had due to lockdown restrictions.
Since our phone lines have been active after the initial lockdown, we have been averaging 1,000+ calls received per day to our sales department with a missed call ratio of less than 10%. We do not have a call centre and have to manage all the calls internally. Emails to our sales team were averaging 3,000+ per day. That sudden influx and not being able to hire and train new staff to assist the existing sales team because of the lockdown restrictions, resulted in extensive delays.
In terms of support, it is a similar issue to that of the sales team. A limited amount of staff dealing with a monumental amount of emails and queries daily.
Majority of delays have however been resolved and orders have been dispatching at the normal lead times for some time now. Any delays that arise are resolved as quickly and with as little inconvenience to our customers as possible.
We are fully invested in improving all the systems here at Evetech so we can ensure a more fluid process from ordering to delivery and support. We appreciate our community and we want to make sure that we can make every section of Evetech as easy and seamless as possible for the best experience.