Jessops CEO Neil Old says the high-street chain tightened its controls after customer Michael Brown reported that his Fujifilm camera was not the ‘new’ model for which he had paid £380.
Speaking to Radio 4 programme You and Yours, Michael from Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, said: ‘When the camera arrived in the post, the actual box… was tatty and it was only on close inspection that I realised that, in fact, it wasn’t new. There were various issues with it… finger marks on the viewfinder, dust on the accessory shoe and where the shutter release was.’
Michael, who received the camera on 28 April, added: ‘There is a frame counter on these cameras, which indicates they have been used when you put in a new SD card – which in this case I think indicated in excess of 300 pictures had been taken with this camera.’
Michael said he phoned Jessops customer services and was told to return the camera for a replacement.
You and Yours presenter Peter White acknowledged that Jessops had strengthened its online presence, but said the programme has heard from other customers with similar problems to Michael’s, and he asked Old how this could happen.
Old responded: ‘I’d like to take the opportunity again to apologise to Michael. I know he spoke to our customer service team and I know they work very hard to put matters right and I know they apologised to him but I just want to be clear from the outset… this wasn’t the case of a camera that had been previously sold to a customer, returned and then, if you like, recycled. As soon as I became aware of the issue… I began a full investigation into just quite how this could happen.
‘And what happened was – and Jessops isn’t alone in this – when a product or a camera is at the end of its life we very often recall it from the stores, we take it back to the warehouse and move it back to the manufacturer, to enable us, with the space we have, to get the new products into our stores and out on display.
‘What became apparent was… if a customer placed an order online at the point at which it was passing through the warehouse, it transpired that our third-party logistics supplier didn’t have the sufficient process and controls in place to prevent the camera being sent out to customers.’
‘Are you saying this couldn’t happen again? White asked.
Old replied: ‘I can absolutely assure you it can’t happen again because as soon as I became aware of that… I immediately suspended all product recalls until I was satifisfied that our third-party logistics partner had the controls in place to prevent this from happening again in future.’
White further challenged Old over its service, citing negative reports on customer reviews website uk.trustpilot.com and asserting: ‘Online service does seem to be still a real issue for you.’
Old said 97% of Jessops deliveries are made within 48 hours, and acknowledged the company’s need to compete on price and rival companies such as Amazon which are ‘raising the bar continually’.
The show compared the failure of BHS to the predicament Jessops faced when it went into administration in 2013, before being rescued by entrepreneur Peter Jones, the current chairman.
‘The old business, which we weren’t directly involved with had opened far too many stores… it really wasn’t meeting the needs of the customers,’ Old said, adding that the business wasn’t able to adapt fast enough with the rise of the internet and growth of smartphones.
‘What Peter was able to do… was listen to customers and rebuild the business.’
Among the measures Jessops took was matching the high-street price to that quoted online.
To listen to the full interview, visit the You and Yours website.