No shopping spree for irate Spree customers

12 June 2017 - 19:37 By Wendy Knowler
Online shopping is gaining popularity with SA consumers.
Online shopping is gaining popularity with SA consumers.
Image: iStock

Thousands of Spree customers have been waiting weeks for the delivery of clothes they’ve paid for‚ thanks to staffing problems at the online retailer’s third-party run Johannesburg warehouse.

And the backlog looks set to last another week.

The company - South Africa’s leading online fashion store - has come under fire from many of the estimated 6‚000 let-down customers for failing to keep them adequately informed.

Ronelle Munsami of Durban North ordered and paid for a R499 pair of boots on May 29 with the standard promise of “delivery to your door within two to four working days”.

A week later when there was still no sign of her footwear‚ she got an email from “the Spree Team” apologising for the delivery failure‚ and explaining that her order was “still part of a backlog of orders that we are busy processing at our warehouse”.

“Please also note that due to this backlog our call centre is experiencing high call volumes‚ please expect delays when contacting us.”

A week later‚ along with thousands of others‚ she’s heard nothing more and she still hasn’t got those boots.

“What's very worrying is that Spree does not appear to be responding to Facebook posts or emails and I tried calling their customer care number several times a day for most of last week with no-one picking up‚” Munsami told The Times. Another customer‚ Gisella Vigliotta‚ had a similar experience after placing her order on May 28.

“The message on their website is that they are experiencing ‘high orders and call volumes’ and to expect delays‚ but they are not communicating with customers about when to expect delivery‚” she said.

“This is not the service I would expect from a brand like this.”

However throughout the weekend and for most of Monday‚ it was business as usual on Spree’s Facebook page‚ with a stream of advertising material and only a few responses to complaints posted by empty-handed customers.

That prompted Prince Kamogela Raseroka to post: “You people are busy posting here but you are failing to respond to your customers. “It is clear there is a dilemma. Be fair and honest with us. We have paid you. We need to know what’s going on regarding the orders.”

Responding to the Times’ query‚ Spree’s head of brand marketing‚ Kim Hawkins‚ said the company’s (unnamed) service provider had made changes to its staffing component in the warehouse‚ causing delays in the fulfilment of orders.

“We were aware of the planned changes‚ but we were not expecting the ramifications to the extent that we’re experiencing at the moment.

“We share our customers’ frustration as our service provider hasn’t been able to give an accurate estimate for deliveries…” she said.

“We are so sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers as a result. It is not the experience that we want our customers to have‚ and we are working very hard to rectify the mistakes and get the orders delivered.”

The backlog was expected to continue for the remainder of this week‚ Hawkins said.

By late on Monday the company was responding to all Facebook complaints.