I’m a big fan of TP products. We have its swings at home. So when I was in the market for a see-saw, I ignored other makes to go for TP, despite that it’s not the cheapest.
The Spiro Hop is a see-saw that’s also a ‘merry go round’ of sorts. Children sit on it and they can spin round. The Spiro Hop has what look like two Space Hoppers that you sit on.
Here it is on the John Lewis website, where I bought it last year. It clearly says it’s for four years and up and that each seat can take up to 35kilos (equivalent to about five stones). My six year old weighs nowhere near that, neither do any of her friends (I weighed that at aged twelve for goodness sake).
Anyway it’s been used maybe a dozen times. And this is what’s happened to both seats. the bouncy ball elements have been taken out, please note my feet in the first one, wearing Chanel’s Paradoxal (latest shade, hello!).
Now, this is crap. Not at all what I expect from a child’s see-saw after many years of use, never mind hardly any. The only excuse is if really fat kids have been on it and bouncing as if their next Happy Meal depended on it.
And they haven’t.
So I wrote to TP Toys and John Lewis. Anyone who is familiar with my writings over the years will know that I am a big fan of John Lewis. Huge. But very occasionally the online service isn’t as good as it could be. All staff of JLP are partners, but not everyone who works on the online side of the business is. This shows.
I met the MD of John Lewis, Andy Street, in late 2008 when we both did a programme for Radio 4 (The Long View). I told him this, that the on-line customer service sometimes lets the side down, probably rather gauchely as I was heavily pregnant and taking no prisoners that day (oh dear, anyone who has been pregnant, or has had a pregnant partner will know what I mean).
I know the head of customer services, because we had a lot of dealings last year over a cooker I bought. I could have just emailed him. But I didn’t. I emailed the general customer service email this:
I purchased the TP Spiro Hop from John Lewis last year (John Lewis order no: XXXXXXXX, 30th April 2009). Because I’d not long had a baby, it took us a while to put it up – the late summer – and since then it’s been used maybe a dozen times.
I write as a big fan of TP Toys and John Lewis, but I’m really disappointed by this product. I will attach some pictures and you can see what’s happened to both seats – they’ve broken. The see saw has not had anything unusual happen to it, other than children playing on it, which is surely what it’s intended for? The weight limit as printed on the JL website has never even remotely been exceeded, either.
Can I have your thoughts please?
John Lewis Direct operate a 28 day return policy. This means that items can usually be returned, free of charge, for any reason within 28 days from the purchase date for a full refund or replacement. This period has now passed and as the item in question was not damaged upon delivery, or faulty, we are unable to accept it back for a refund.
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused.
If I can assist you further, please get in touch with me.
I can advise that receiving feedback from our customers, both positive and constructive, is crucial to the on going improvements we are constantly striving to make to both our service and our website. I would also like to inform you that your comments regarding your purchase have been retained for consideration within future enhancements of our service.
Please contact me if you require any further assistance.”
Update. After I posted this I sent another email to John Lewis, because I really think its reply is not up to it. I said this:
Do you not have any other feedback for me or comments? Do you think this product is fit for purpose?
I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed with my response.
I am currently unaware of any problems associated with this product; however, I have made the relevant department aware of this matter. They will investigate further.
Thank you for also taking the time to write to us regarding this matter. Receiving feedback from our customers, both positive and constructive, is crucial to the ongoing improvements we strive to make to both our web site and our services.
If I can be of any further assistance, please contact me.
John Lewis Direct”
An update: 12 August 2010.
TP and I have been in regular contact. I still haven’t returned the seats to them, but have managed to take them off and put them in an envelope. Did I say ‘take them off’? I barked instructions at my boyfriend to do this and he did so.
TP offered to replace the Spiro Hop, saying it had sold many thousands. But I’ve really gone off it. Although I said this wasn’t about a refund or a replacement, the more I thought about it (and read comments that most of you put on FB rather than here, tsk!) the more I thought that I should have something to show for my £88 outlay. So I asked them to replace it with the wooden see saw.
This is fab. I will write a review of it in a few weeks/months when it has lived a little.