To: Charles Walton
Kybotech Limited
Dukeries Industrial Estate
Claylands Avenue
S81 7DJ

Re: Garden Buildings Direct order

Dear Mr Walton,

I’ve two very happy children who love their new log cabin. We’ve also three friends with similar aged children who have expressed a strong interest in buying similar and my advice is always the same – do it, they’re great, just don’t ever buy it from Garden Buildings Direct…

  • We planned to construct the cabin in good time before our scheduled holiday in late August and our son’s christening in September and so ordered on 27th
  • You emailed the same day to tell me to say delivery would be within seven days as stated on your website (by 3rd August).
  • You emailed me again on 29th July and 2nd August to say my order was being processed and you would contact me again as soon as it was ready.
  • On 7th August I called you to find out where my order was but could not get through to anyone.
  • A voicemail was left for me on 12th August saying the delivery would be dispatched over two days because of its size and that it was planned for the end of the week (two weeks overdue).
  • I tried calling a total of six times from my mobile while at work to explain no-one could accept the delivery on your chosen date; I was on hold for a total of 37 minutes across all calls but when I reached position one in the queue I was automatically cut off.
  • I emailed you on 12th August to reschedule for the 18th and 19th August as this was the first opportunity I had to reschedule my work and take the required time off as leave; you replied with an email to say my request was being booked.
  • Delivery arrived in full mid-afternoon on 18th August – I did not need to take two days off work but I did need to buy two large tarpaulings to keep the materials dry as the delivery delay meant we were in a patch of bad weather.
  • I started work on the build on 19th August and realised there were missing parts: I tried calling you and was on hold for 24 minutes before speaking to someone. I was told that all requests for missing parts had to be done by email because it was dealt with by a separate team. I explained the urgency of the build (holiday and christening) and asked for other options or someone else to talk to – I was denied this and told replacement delivery is a standard three to five days. I had to put the build on hold, including dismissing the help I had arranged.
  • I emailed the address provided and explained the urgency; I also provided my home and mobile number so I could be contacted to discuss requirements. I emailed again on the 20th in the morning, at lunchtime and again at 2pm as I had not received a reply. I requested that the parts – two small pieces of timber – were couriered to me for the following day and referred them back to the original email trail for details.
  • I received a reply on 20th August at 16:50 simply asking me to confirm the missing pieces (number and part number) – there was no evidence that my emails had been read or my needs understood. After confirming the information required I received another email saying the parts would be produced that day and with me in three to five days.
  • I recovered a parts checklist from the supplied paperwork: it clearly shows no checks were made when parts were packed for delivery and not all parts were checked at manufacture or delivery to the loading bay. The ‘final part checking’ sign-off is also incomplete.
  • I rescheduled our family holiday and my annual leave accordingly to ensure we were able to accept the pieces and continue the build before the pending christening. Build restarted to bring the cabin up to as high as possible without the missing pieces; help was arranged accordingly.
  • On 25th August I emailed again asking for an update on the missing pieces; I was emailed back saying this would be chased and the parts delivered “by a third-party courier”; we were unable to hold back our holiday any further and had to go on leave for a shorter duration with this situation unresolved.
  • On 27th August I emailed you again asking for an update – four weeks after the original order and eight days after informing you that you didn’t deliver all of my cabin. I received a reply saying the parts would be delivered on September 4th.
  • This was not particularly convenient to us so I tried to use the reschedule delivery link – this did not work so I emailed you back with a screenshot of the failed link, requesting delivery either on 28th or 29th August in line with your three to five-day promise and use of third-party courier. I said that if these dates could not be requested then we would have to stick with the 4th as this was the least inconvenient date available.
  • The following day saying the parts would be delivered on 1st September, not a date requested and not in line with our requirements. To prevent any further delays my wife cancelled my daughter’s day trip so they could stay in and accept delivery (as I was back to work).
  • At 9am on 31st August I received an email saying the parts were being prepared for dispatch: this was followed by emails at 20:40 that evening stating it had been dispatched (presumably to the third party courier), then again 6am and 6.30am saying it was on it would be with me in around thirty minutes, traffic depending.
  • At 7.11 you emailed me to say that delivery had ‘failed’ and you would contact me to reschedule a mutually convenient day. At 7.18 you emailed again to say it had automatically been rescheduled to the 4th At 7.25 I received a text message from you saying delivery would be with me in thirty minutes.
  • The parts arrived late afternoon, delivered by your staff and not a third-party courier as promised, on 4th September; these were the wrong parts, but fortunately they were longer versions of what I needed so I accepted them and had to cut them down to size myself. The build restarted, again with additional help arranged at cost to us, and was finished only the night before my son’s christening which rather spoiled the build-up and celebration.

I’d like to think areas of improvement for your company are self-evident but I am happy to discuss this further if you wish, and provide you with the documented evidence to support all of the points above: I have reprinted this letter on-line at https://aptaim.net/2015/10/05/experience/  and will endeavour to embed the various emails, documents, phone records and photos over time for ease of access.

It is fair to say that our customer experience is the worst I have ever encountered, a feeling clearly replicated by those mentioning your company on Twitter, and it’s easy to see how their themes apply to my experience. For example, the huge discrepancy between the content of the emails I received on 1st September, the text message and what actually happened that day along with something your driver said when delivering my missing parts on the 4th suggests you never had any intention of delivering that day and it was always going to be when most convenient to your delivery schedule, rather than convenient to your customer.

I would like to have the confidence to be able to once again use your company and recommend it to others, and so as accountable person for your company I am expecting the following in a written response from you as a result of this letter:

  1. A full explanation of why things happened the way they did.
  2. A statement of what compensation you believe I should receive and how this will be paid.
  3. A description of the steps you will take to improve customer experience in the future.

Yours sincerely,

James Andrews

From:    Resolutions
To:        James Andrews
Date:    Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Dear Mr. Andrews,

Thank you for your email. We appreciate customers who let us know when things aren’t right. Both positive and negative feedbacks are important to us. It will help us improve and work more on our customer service.

We are really sorry for all the hustles and inconvenience that happened regarding the delayed delivery of the replacement parts that you have requested.

Rest assured that this will be forwarded to our logistics team to make sure that this won’t happen again.

As much as we would like to, we are not allowed to provide any monetary compensation for what happened.

If there are some parts of your order that needs replacing, just let us know and we will deal with it as a priority.

We can assure you that all these negative feedbacks will be prioritized and carefully investigated and considered for us to provide a better customer service.

Kindly let us know if how would you like us to proceed regarding this matter and as soon as we receive your response, we will deal with it as a priority.

Once again, we are really sorry for what happened It was not our intention to cause you any trouble, please accept our sincerest apology.

Kind Regards

From:    James Andrews
To:         Resolutions
Date:     Thur, Oct 8, 2015 at 09:28 AM

Thanks for your speedy response however it is wholly inadequate as it fails to answer my points and takes no account of the additional costs, lost annual leave, stress or shortened holiday that your company’s failure to deliver as promised has caused. As requested, I would like you to proceed by answering the following queries, the latter three which remain unanswered from my complaint letter:

1) Why wasn’t my complaint letter read by, and responded to, by Mr Walton the addressee?
2) Please describe the limitation or restriction in place that does not allow you to provide monetary compensation.
3) Can you provide me a full explanation of why things happened the way they did.
4) Can I have a statement of what compensation you believe I should receive and how this will be paid.
5) Describe the steps you will take to improve customer experience in the future.


From: Christopher
To:       James Andrews
Date:    Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 2:59 PM

Dear James,

My name is Chris and I am the Chief Operating Officer at Kybotech.

I wanted to contact you personally to apologise for the issues with your order process.  I can totally appreciate your frustration throughout the process.

I really appreciate your offer to let us restore your faith in buying from us in the future.  I would like to offer you 20% off your next order as a gesture towards this.  Clearly the only way for us to restore your faith is to give you a World Class Service on your next purchase and I would very much welcome the opportunity to do this.

Best wishes

From: James Andrews
To:       Christopher
Date:     Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 9:39 AM

Dear Chris,

Many thanks for taking up my complaint personally as I see this as encouraging progress.

As I am still without answers to any of my questions and your company’s Twitter feed continues to identify newly dissatisfied customers, I feel I must decline your offer: there is no evidence that I would receive the type of service you aspire to. However if your 20% offer was in the form of a refund of what I’ve paid to you then this would be acceptable – it wouldn’t cover my excess outlay or reimburse my family’s lost holiday but would be enough for us to draw a line under this complaint and move on.

I look forward to your considered response.
Thanks again and best wishes,

From: Christopher
To:       James Andrews
Date:   Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 10:11 AM

Hi James

Thanks for your email.

Sorry you are declining the offer.

If you do change your mind at any point, please do let me know.

Apologies again for the problems you had.

Best Wishes

From: James Andrews
To:       Christopher
Date:   Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 10:25 AM

Right – so that’s it from your company then? I shouldn’t expect any more dialogue or correspondence over my complaint?

From: Christopher
To:       James Andrews
Date:     Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 10:50 AM

Hi James,

We clearly fell short of your expectations on your order.  I am very sorry about this.  Our processes have been reviewed and updated as a result and our staff have been re-trained where required.

I would love to prove to you that the vast majority of our customers get a fantastic experience when buying from us, hence the substantial discount available to you for placing another order.

On the rare occasion that we  do get it wrong, either myself or one of my senior team will personally call the customer and discuss what we got wrong and what we have done to improve as a result.  I and my team have offered to call you but you have insisted for a written reply, which is then being published on your blog.

My offer of a call remains, I can assure you we have worked hard to resolve the issues and move forward.  If you give us another chance and place a new order we will be able to demonstrate this to you

Best Wishes,

From: James Andrews
To:       Christopher
Date:   Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 2:07 PM

Thanks Chris,

I must first point out that I have not refused a telephone conversation: my request for a written response was made as a direct influence of the wording on your complaint procedures page [http://www.gardenbuildingsdirect.co.uk/help/complaintsprocedure]. As it stands I’m not averse to a chat, though at this stage I wonder what detail you would give me that has not yet been covered in our correspondence; a pertinent standard used within healthcare is that something hasn’t happened unless it’s written down, and in the continued absence of answers to all my outstanding questions I can only assume nothing has been changed or implemented.

This goes some way to explaining my use, like the vast majority of people, of a blog – this is a factual record of events providing transparency and openness, and I see it as in no way different to your own use of social media. However if you have concerns about this or feel it is a barrier to coming to a resolution then please say so – I haven’t had an opportunity to update this with our recent exchanges yet and will now hold off until I hear back from you.

Unfortunately the idea I would give you more of my money after being subject to your catalogue of errors and terrible customer service is farcical. I’m now of the opinion that a partial refund is my only option and I await either a discussion on implementing this or your explicit refusal to provide one.


From: James Andrews
To:       Christopher
Date:   Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 9:22 AM

Hi Chris,

In the absences of your usual swift response I thought I should drop you a quick line over my outstanding email. I’m aiming to update my blog over the weekend so a reply would be appreciated.


From: James Andrews
To:       Christopher; Resolutions
Date:   Sun, Nov 15, 2015 at 11:42 AM

I appreciate this is a bit tardy but I’ve been away on leave and with work, and was similarly giving you the benefit of the doubt over the recent half-term holidays.

I was contacted by Matt from your local Trading Standards about two weeks ago; he said he’s dealt with your company before, had discussed my case with you and I should’ve heard from you the following day or so. This is obviously not the case so my outstanding request of October 15th remains please – a partial refund or your explicit refusal to provide one.


From:  Christopher
To:       James Andrews
Date:   Sun, Nov 15, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Hello James

I am sorry my responses haven’t been good enough for you.

There is nothing more I can add to my previous emails which in summary was a substantial discount on any future orders.

Like most businesses we pay Trading Standards an annual fee to provide us with advice and counselling on various issues. You may or may not be aware that this is how Trading Standards are now funded, by businesses paying for advice time with their local office.

If you have made a Trading Standards complaint, Matt or his manager, Sarah, will be in touch with us to discuss it and find a resolve.

Once again my apologies
Best wishes

From:  James Andrews
To:       Christopher
Date:   Sun, Nov 15, 2015 at 12:15 PM

Thanks for an unexpected response on a Sunday, but I’m disappointed this is your final position.

Your responses haven’t been good enough – your company offers terrible customer experience when they make a mistake and I feel let down by the situation and the dishonesty. One of the three families originally interested in getting a cabin of their own have recently done so from an alternative provider, and as a result of this experience I won’t be recommending you to others contemplating a similar purchase.

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