JD Sports and Homebase among worst companies for customer service, Which? survey finds

The closure of stores across the UK through the pandemic put pressure on major UK retailers online services

DIY retail chain Homebase (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Homebase, Sports Direct and Carphone Warehouse have been found to have some of the worst online customer service among UK major retailers, according to new research from consumer group Which?

The increase in online shopping after the pandemic forced stores across the UK to close, pressure was put on digital retail platforms for the first time.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • Which? Surveyed more than 5,000 consumers who had experienced an issue with their order between, March 2020 to March 2021 to find out how the companies dealt with their complaints
  • Sports Direct, The Range, Carphone Warehouse, Debenhams, Homebase and JD Sports were the lowest ranked companies, receiving the same one star out of five for overall customer service.
  • Marks & Spencer and Screwfix were the top two performers in the survey, with both averaging five star ratings for customer service.
  • JD Sports and Homebase – as well as Appliances Direct, Sports Direct, Funky Pigeon, Scan, Debenhams and Carphone Warehouse – received one star ratings when specifically asked about helpfulness of staff.
  • One JD Sports customer said they lost out when they ordered some shoes which never arrived and could not get in touch with anyone in customer service to resolve the issue.

What’s been said?

JD Sports said: “The forced closure of our stores during the national lockdowns stimulated a significant surge in online orders resulting in unprecedented levels of demand across all our online sales channels.

“At the same time, as a direct result of Covid-19 and the requirement to apply strict social distancing measures across our operations to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, we had to reduce the number of colleagues that were working in our various distribution centres and transition our colleagues in customer care to remote working.”

Adam French, consumer rights expert at Which?, said: “The pandemic saw some of the best and worst of customer service.

“But with online shopping now becoming the norm, we should get the same level of customer service when shopping online as when shopping in a store.

“When it comes to spending our hard-earned cash online it is essential we know which retailers we can trust to put right anything that goes wrong.

“With the extraordinary growth in online shopping set to continue as we emerge from the pandemic, retailers who are falling short must up their game to make sure no one is left frustrated and out of pocket because of bad customer service.”