The Times has picked up on an issue which has been bugging and annoying (and worse) many consumers in the UK recently. They’ve been dealing with an online pet product trader called Not In The Dog House and they’ve received abysmal service to the point where the Trust Pilot rating is 1.3 out of five.
According to The Times there have been numerous problems in dealing with this online business. The customer service has been so bad that a Facebook page was set up with around 1,300 members. They support each other and gain some success in getting refunds. In addition, there is a petition online seeking 1,000 signatures to do something about this allegedly fraudulent trader.
The basic problem appears to be that people make an order and the order never arrives. And then when the customer chases up an order and promises are made, it isn’t delivered. And then the customer seeks a refund which is promised but that, too, is never provided.
For example, Michael French, one of the administrators of the Facebook group said: “Thousands have ordered goods that were not delivered. They recount the same experience: non-delivery and then emails claiming the order was dispatched and tracking details will follow but neither happened.”
Further, Mr French added that, “People requesting a refund are told one has been authorised and will appear within 5 to 10 working days. But in most cases it never appears, forcing customers to request a bank chargeback to be reimbursed. Most banks are helpful but some are not.”
The BBC’s Watchdog, in March, reported that they had received 50 complaints about the website. Not In The Dog House apologised and blamed staffing problems and supply and delivery issues.
Since those declarations, there has been no improvement. The online businesses run is from Harrogate by Will Wright, a 32-year-old web developer. He admitted when interviewed by The Times that a large number of customers had been let down but that the issues were historic. He blamed system problems and problems in his personal life. He said at the time that orders were being fulfilled.
Mr Wright has, apparently, left a trail of debt and failure. For instance, The Times established that over the past 26 months he and his various companies received 56 County Court judgements. They all relate to unpaid debts totalling more than £75,000. Of the 56 judgements, 51 remain outstanding.
Google has been criticised for allowing the website to advertise using Google AdWords when many customers feel that the website should have been pulled.
In addition, British trading standards and Action Fraud have been accused of failing to protect thousands of dog owners from a rogue online trader.
The latest news is that the Not in the Dog House website is down for maintenance but I have accessed it through an internet archive website (see screenshot above). Comment: this would appear to be a way to avoid responsibility. They were probably receiving too many complaints and were unable to cope so the answer was to simply shut down the website. It has not, however, been deleted. This would therefore appear to be a temporary pause.
Investigations about the website indicated that it wasn’t fraudulent as it was functioning to a level at which it could not be assessed as fraudulent.
And apparently, every time Trading Standards approached about unfulfilled orders and failed promises, the unfulfilled order was then processed and the customer received a refund. This prevented taking action against the business.
Mr Wright has not responded to The Times on the question as to why he shut down the website but it does say that it is under maintenance.
Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.