Many a slip … bet they wouldn’t do this to George


OK, I know this is very much a First World problem but when a company promotes itself with slick advertising and mucho flannel about caring for their customer, it’s sometimes worth pointing out that there can be a huge gap between their promise and their delivery … or many slip between the cup and the lip, as the old saying goes.

As long-term Nespresso addicts, we upgraded to the new Vertuo machine in November last year and were immediately won over by the quality of the coffee – we also drink a lot in Sydney cafes (or did) – and much larger quantities in some brews.

What does this have to do with apartments? Thousands of people are working from home, far from the coffee carts and shops that they’ve grown used to (if they’re even still open) and machines like this are now in high demand.

But  couple of weeks ago the machine started leaking and we called the helpline. The woman on the line told me to use the descaler. Since we only use filtered water and I had recently descaled, I said I didn’t think that would work but she insisted so I tried. It didn’t work

Then she said to try resetting the maching to factory settings. No joy.

Then she said the machine would be picked up for repair the next day. There was no replacement machine loan available in Australia (although there is in other territories). I said machines that new should not be breaking down.

She said it was within Nespresso’s “acceptable limits” for repairs and I would not be getting a new machine. I told her it wasn’t within my “acceptable limits” nor would it be in Fair Trading’s. One hour later, a TNT courier was at my door to take it to the repair shop.

Well done for prompt service, no points for knowing when the machine would be picked up.

The helpline person had told me we would be kept fully informed about every stage of the progress of the machine by text message, but the repair would take 5 to 10 working days. That was Thursday March 12th.

By the next Tuesday (17th), I had heard nothing so I called up and a customer repair person, who called me back. He told me the machine had only just arrived at the repairer. I said the repairer was a 15 minute drive away so where had it been in the intervening five days?

Again I was told it would take 5 to 10 days for the machine to be repaired. I said that would mean one week from then, and the customer support person agreed and said to be sure to let him know if the machine arrived back unexpectedly because sometimes the repair people didn’t tell them.

Today, Monday 23rd, expecting the repaired machine to be returned withing the next 24 hours, I got a call from the third “customer support” person telling me that the machine would be ready within 5 to 10 working days and since it hadn’t arrived at the repairer until Tuesday 17th, that would mean the end of next week.

I explained that the machine had actually arrived at the repairers on Friday the 13th (unlucky for some) at the latest, and the end of next week would be three weeks or 15 working days.
Then I said:

“This is just a courtesy call, isn’t it. You don’t actually know if the machine has been repaired, do you?”
Nespresso: “It takes 5 to 10 working days …”
Me: “Now you’re just telling me numbers of days.”
Nespresso: “We don’t like to send machines straight back to the customer without several days testing to make sure it doesn’t break down again.”
Me: “OK, but you can’t say if anyone has even looked at the machine, can you?”
Nespresso: “As I said, it takes 5 to 10 days …”
Me: “Have they started repairing it?”
Me: “You don’t know, do you?”
Nespresso: “I … um … haven’t received that report, no.”
Me: “So you are just calling me up to make me think everything is OK, but you don’t really know.”
Nespresso: “Sometimes they don’t always tell us.”
Me: “Call me back when my coffee machine is fixed. And, by the way, this is pretty poor show for a nearly-new machine.”

End of conversation. Nespresso customer service person goes off asking herself how she ever got into a job fielding complaints from coffee-deprived customers.
Meanwhile, all my favourite cafes have been closed.

I have to say, the Vertuo coffee is really good and in decent quantities, and the machines are quiet. But their repair people and their customer service staff really need to get their act together.

And if I get coronavirus from standing in a queue for takeaway coffee, I’ll be having words.

UPDATE:  It’s now Day 10 – received a text today saying the machine needs a spare part and it will be fixed asap, whatever that means.  So much for 5 to 10 days.  What took them so long to discover the fault?

UPDATE 2:  Day 11 – A very pleasant woman on the phone says that if the machine can’t be repaired within the next few days, we might get a replacement … but probably not in the limited edition colour we bought. Sigh. Waiting … waiting …

UPDATE 3: Day 13 – Two things arrived today. A response to a very angry email I sent four days ago – again reiterating the number of days I should expect to wait.  And the coffee machine turned up, repaired and raring to go.  Normal service has been restored.  The world is going to Hell in a coronavirus handcart but I am now fully caffeinated, so all is forgiven.

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