Jessops, you are just incredible.

Over the years, I have made a lot of purchases at Jessops. Cameras, paper, camera bags and so on. Sometimes because it was good to go and see the products, sometimes for the convenience, but often purely because I wanted it now and it was in stock.

More recently however, Jessops have been in financial difficulties, going into liquidation in 2007, but the brand being rescued by HSBC so it could continue trading. Understandably, stock has noticeably reduced in the stores, from ten years ago when the shelves were crammed with cameras, to maybe 20 or so in my local store today.

So, this morning, we made a decision to buy a Canon IXUS 220 HS for my wife (plus I’d like to play with the slow motion video modes!). Going online, we found that the Jessops in Camberley had them in stock, so I used their “Collect@Store” service to reserve one. I received the email and the reservation number, and we duly jumped in the car and set off to the store.

Once in the store however, it was a different matter. It took the sales assistant a couple of minutes to find the camera – she knew of the reservation, quoting the camera model to me once I’d announced that I had reserved one.

Eventually, she discovered that the one unit in stock was the one on display. We would accept this, looking at the camera it was actually in pristine condition, so all was good. That was until her colleague pointed out to her that they would NOT sell the product because the manager (name of Paul Chapman) had dictated that it should stay on display. I explained that not only had we reserved it on the website, but had made a special journey to collect it. No change in decision. Also that I had in the past purchased a lot of goods from Jessops, but recently less, because the stock situation was so poor. No change.

“Would you like to order one?” I was asked. Frankly, if I’m going to do that, I’ll get it from Amazon, it’ll be a bit cheaper, and I won’t have to travel into Camberley to pick it up. (Also, I’m uneasy giving Jessops any cash up front, given their financial situation). So, I told them, either sell it to me now, or lose the sale. They refused.

I left the store, checked on the Comet web site, checked and reserved – bingo! £10 cheaper too. Collected and purchased, no hassle at all. Plus, by the way, oodles more cameras on display than the ‘specialist’ store called Jessops – and you can handle them all.

So, Jessops have a strange policy, the little stock they have seems to be for display. In this financial climate, surely if you let a customer leave your retail store without making a purchase, they will almost certainly get on the web and find it elsewhere. What’s the point of ordering something from a bricks and mortar store when you can have it delivered to your home for free?

I’m pretty sure I won’t deal with Jessops again. I mean what’s the point?

Jessops, you need to think about this carefully, you will surely go out of business soon if you carry on like this. Mr Chapman, think carefully about letting buying customers leave your store. You’re not only losing business, you’ll be out of a job. I’d love to hear your rationale for losing a sale and making money.

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9 Responses to Jessops, you are just incredible.

  1. Karen Benson says:

    The manager of our local Jessops (Nottingham) was very rude to me when I was in the market for buying a Cannon 5D mkii. Despite me being the one asking the questions,she was more interested in trying to talk to my husband about the camera (who knows nothing about photography) than me, and inferring that I was a very lucky lady having this kind of camera bought for me (my money!!). I knew exactly what I wanted, and wanted to know what price they would do it at. They refused to give me any kind of quote if I wasn’t going to buy it there and then. I’ve never stepped foot inside a Jessops since, and will never buy from them again.

    • simontaylor says:

      I did mention to the staff that if they refuse to sell stock to customers that the chances are that they will go bust and lose their jobs!

      Probably lucky that they even had a 5D in stock. Hope you got the camera after all (probably somewhere else). To be honest, Amazon and Warehouse Express are pretty good for pricing, just stores are good if you want something today!

      Shame that Jessops don’t want to capitalise on that idea.

  2. So true about jessops, I used to love their shop and use it all the time. But now the staff have so little real knowledge about photography they just read off the box to tell you about a product…. Now when I buy a new camera or lens it comes from Warehouse Express or Grays of Westminster, Two shops with fantastic customer service and product knowledge, Both highly recommended!!

  3. Same here. have a love hate relationship with them, sometimes they are good, with knowledgeable staff & other times they are idiots.

    Once, many moons ago, I saw a 2nd hand camera that I fancied in their Slough store, bought it & tried to use it. But it wouldn’t work properly. Thinking it was me & that I had suddenly forgotten how to use a camera, I persevered. However it was obvious that there was something wrong with the camera, so took it in to them to have a look at & be repaired. I collected it a few days later after it having supposedly been restored and then went off on holiday. But again, it wouldn’t work. At that point I was in York, so took it into their York store, explained the situation, that despite their repair department having supposedly repaired it, it still wasn’t working. They had a look, decided something was definitely wrong & then proceeded to check my warranty. “Your warranty only lasted a year and is now out of date” I was told (so basically hard cheese in other words). I said “No I paid for a 3 year warranty” and was told that I hadn’t. I insisted I had & they checked again & then said “Oh yes you do have a 3 year warranty”. They then said they would take ‘my’ camera in for repair & that I could use one of theirs, which I did & then took it back to ‘my’ store when back from holiday. I think in the end I got a refund on the camera, nut not cash, I had to ‘buy’ goods from Jessops to the value of the camera, so not even a chance of getting something decent elsewhere.
    Moral of story, don’t EVER buy a used camera from Jessops.

    Another time I had been bought a basic tripod for Xmas. It didn’t have a swivel head and no option to change the angle of your shot, so I walked into the Hammersmith branch in my lunch hour (15-20 min walk with a stick!). I asked if I can exchange it for a tripod with a head that moved. The staff looked at me as though I was talking Mandarin or something. “Oh we don’t have ANYTHING like that! “And I should walk to another shop! What???? A camera shop that doesn’t have a tripod with a moveable head? So I had a look round myself & hey presto I saw one (in fact several) with a moveable head & said I’d like that please. “Well its more expensive that the one you’re returning, you’ll have to pay more”. So? All I want is a tripod that actually is fit for purpose, not some stupid thing that doesn’t even move.
    The staff seem not to keep up with current ‘street’ trends on photography, they seem to know nothing about strobist techniques and other things that photographers talk about these days.
    On a positive note, I’ve had some very interesting & helpful conversations with Jessops staff as well. Just wish they had a more efficient staff training programme, so that you knew each time you went into s store that the person you were talking to actually knows what you’re talking about and doesn’t look at you with a blank stare.

  4. simontaylor says:

    I think they have a policy of hiring photography students, which sounds ok, until you realise that these are people who are learning about photography, probably don’t have much money to invest in it and also have less experience that most of the customers going into the shop.

    Camberley used to have some great staff, very enthusiastic about 8-10 years ago, but now, they seem to be a bunch of jobsworths doing what the absent manager has said without using any initiative. Which makes for disgruntled customers (and losing them).

    My spend with Jessops has gone down progressively over the last ten years, to the point where it will be zero from now on. My spend on photography has progressively increased (much to the dismay of Mrs. T). Jessops have missed an opportunity, not only with me, but no doubt with many others.

  5. simontaylor says:

    So, after the blog and a further email to customer services and the CEO of Jessops, a nice lady (Rebecca) from customer relations just called me.

    First, she explained that the reason the camera could not be sold was because it was missing a charger (why the staff didn’t explain that, I don’t know), and really it was a mistake on Jessops’ part because they would normally only list stock as available if they had more than one unit in the store for exactly this reason.

    She apologised and is sending a £20 voucher for my trouble!

    I will also be meeting with the regional manager at some point to see the work that she assures me that Jessops are doing to repair their brand name. They are opening/have opened new stores in Kingston, Guildford and Southampton that will improve the image, presumably with better qualified staff.

    I explained that staff training in customer service is paramount as is some experience with photography as many of the staff in these stores do not inspire confidence when discussing photography matters.

    I’ll visit one of these new stores soon and report back on what I see. I really do want these stores to be successful, but to do that they have to sharpen up on the way they deal with customers in general. The people most responsible for that will be those on the front line, so Rebecca and your management team, let’s see what develops!

    Rebecca has convinced me that Jessops are willing and concerned, they recognise they have problems, but want to fix them. Many companies would simply have fobbed me off, claiming something like ‘E&OE’ on the website. She didn’t, which is a great sign.

  6. ASIC69 says:

    Hmm, I wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t emailed the CEO, more than likely it would never have ever been taken up.
    I had to contact the CEO of a company once, it was the only way, even then it took a few iterations as they then discovered how crap their own team were.

  7. Simon Taylor says:

    Over a year on, I have not used the card, in fact – I gave it away. A friend of mine, who works at Jessops suggested that the reason they would not sell the camera was because I had refused to buy a case, memory cards or spare batteries with it.

    These are the items where Jessops make their real money, not on the camera sale.

    Coming from a member of Jessops staff, I’m horrified if this is how the store carries out business. I was tempted into the store with a reserved item to buy, but because I would not buy profitable extras, they decided to refuse the sale. Disgusting.

  8. Jim says:

    Mr Chapman has indeed since lost his job. Sorry the company went bust though.

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