Open Letter to Homebase

Customer Services Department,
Beddington House,
Surrey. SM6 0HB.

20th August, 2001.

Dear sir/madam,

I am fed up with your company. As a new house owner, I have only recently come into the market for gardening equipment. On the two occasions I have bought things from your company, however, I have had nothing but grief.

The branch in question is the Bromborough (Wirral) branch, which I now learn is (along with certain other Homebase stores in the region) shortly to close. I can't say I'm at all surprised.

On 3rd July this year, I bought a Qualcast Classic 35s petrol lawnmower from the store. I was given a small discount because the box and instruction booklet had been thrown away. I contacted Qualcast for a replacement booklet. They were superb and sent one right away. It wasn't until I read the booklet, however, that I discovered what else had been thrown away, namely:

  • two covers (one internal, one external) for the air-intake
  • a moulded foam insert to protect the air intake
  • the allen key to open up part of the engine for maintenance purposes
  • the screw to hold the petrol tank in place
  • the bracket to fix the grass box onto the mower

…all fairly important components of a viable lawnmower, I'm sure you'll agree.

By the time I learnt about these missing parts, I had moved the mower to my new house, 70 miles away from your Bromborough store. I was reluctant, therefore, to return it. Fortunately, once again, Qualcast (who, unlike your own company, clearly do give a damn about customer service) were fantastic, providing all of the missing items free-of-charge. Are Qualcast aware, I wonder, that they are having to provide additional support to purchasers of their products simply because your company is selling them with half the components missing? I am copying this letter to them just in case they aren't.

I visited my parents in Bromborough yesterday. Despite my better judgement, I decided to take the opportunity to buy a top-of-the-range hedge trimmer from your store… Guess what? That's right: there was a vital component missing (the bracket to attach the handle to the trimmer). Once again, I only found out when I was back home, 70 miles away. When I opened the box, it was immediately apparent that I wasn't the first person to do so: some of the polythene bags containing the smaller parts had clearly been opened and re-sealed with sticky tape. I can only assume that another customer had already returned the trimmer because of the missing component, and your staff had simply put it back on the shelf in an attempt to fob it off on the next mug (me) who came along. This time, I was not prepared to ring up the manufacturer of the equipment for a replacement component. Instead, I elected to make the 140-mile round-trip to return the offending item, and to purchase a (cheaper, working) replacement from Do It All.

In light of the above, I hope you understand why I will not be doing business with your company again. If this is the sort of service you offer your customers, I might as well go to B&Q.

Your customer no longer,

Richard Carter

P.S. In the interest of consumer awareness, I have published a copy of this letter on my popular website at:

c.c. Qualcast Head Office
Gruts website

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. I too am having huge problems with some goods from homebase. I work for a company who supplies garden equipment (i better not name the campany) Working in the parts department I come across a huge range of machines both popular and not, I have never before been totally stumped on getting parts. It's a qualcast strimmer model ggt4502 from homebase, while it is branded qualcast it's really been made under licence by homebase. the thing is 7 months old and homebase no longer sell strimmer line for it. so now ALL of those strimmers are useless! meaning people have to go out and but another. at least the goods we sell we make sure you can get parts for. Stick with honda, flymo or husquvarna I say. and anything with a briggs and stratton engine!

  2. Its not so much the shops that sell the items. Have you ever tried to get a repair on a mower its a bloody feat. And when you do get a repair none of them know what there doing. There's a definate problem in this area. So frustrating. You would hope all the years in business these company's would get it right . na.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *