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Pixmania shop review

March 27, 2006
Keywords:

★☆☆☆☆

The good: Cheap prices
The bad: French specifications, no local returns, questionable warranty
The ugly: lousy communications, price changes when you add item to your basket

The title of the post is a bit misleading as I did not actually manage to shop at Pixmania.co.uk. I tried my best but the shop was not competent enough to accept my money.

Pixmania.co.uk is an online shop that specialises in cheap electronics, especially digital cameras.

I opted to pick up my items from a local pick-up shop as this seemed very convenient. I was also hoping to save the £10 delivery charge but instead there was a £10 service charge on customer pick-up orders.

The items arrived promptly at the pick-up store but that is where my problems started.

The staff in the pick-up store was not able to charge my debit card as it involved getting an authorisation code from their bank.

It was obvious that the staff person was inconvenienced that he was required to call their bank. He was then a bit abusive on the phone. I was told repeatedly that there was an error at my bank.

The following communication with Pixmania was very difficult. Their call center is located in France and they were not familiar with the local pick-up shop procedures nor about standard UK debit card usage.

The automated email which is signed by James Felix (Customer Service Director) announces to use the contact address [email protected] This address bounces however and the only way to send email to Pixmania.co.uk is to navigate through their FAQ (frequently asked questions) and hopefully finding an appropriate previous question.

The company operates from France and all electronic items are according to French standard. This means that instruction manuals and electric plugs are French by default. Pixmania calls this "European specification".

The local pick-up shop I visited was handing out UK 3-pin adaptors and instructions on how to download the manual in English from the manufacturer's web site.

For me the main reason for buying an item in the UK instead from abroad at a cheaper price is the assurance of an UK warranty. Due to the French operation of Pixmania I am not sure whether you can take a faulty item to the manufacturer in the UK or whether you have to deal with the manufacturer in France.

Pixmania states that certain faulty items will be dealt with by the manufacturer; others will have to be sent back to Pixmania in France.

An additional oddity was the way Pixmania prices change in real time. Wen I originally tried to add my item to the basket, I was returned an error (in French). Temporary problems are quite common on web sites so I just navigated back to the product. This was 10 minutes later and the price had gone up by £12.

After failing to pay for my item in the pick-up shop, I was told to put through a second order online and pay directly online. Again, the product I was interested in had gone up by £9 and was not a bargain anymore it had once been.

This bad experience of shopping at Pixmania is really my fault. I should have read some of the Pixmania.com reviews at the Review Center before making my decision.

An overall value of 1.2 out of 10 after 141 reviews is a really poor score. Only 6% of the reviewers would recommend to use Pixmania.com.



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Comments

  1. Kristofer Says:

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    I had in interesting experience with a seller on eBay. They didn't change the price but it took several weeks for my product to be delivered. I called and emailed and eventually it was evident they'd f-d up. So in my review of them after finally receiving the product I wrote a comment about bad service and long delay and gave them poor grades. They responded by automatically sending back that "BEWARE OF THIS NON SERIOUS BUYER: STAY AWAY FROM THIS BUYER"... That's kind of unprofessional in my opinion.... but the ebay companies are desperate to get the highest ratings...

    David says:

    Yeah, you can find some rotten eggs on eBay and neither eBay nor PayPal seem to be too keen on helping.

    I prefer buying from private persons (with high rating).

  2. fabrizio Says:

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    i bought a tv lcd on pixmania ebay; after 4 days I received a TV which had broken glasses. i wrote them immediately. they told me to wait their investigation on the shipment. i didn't know anything about this investigation since their customer care always answers that they retire immediately products damaged. after a month they refuse to retire TV, refuse to refund me and they say that they are not involved. they don't explain what bartolini courier told them. I'm going to meet a lawyer. i paid them 600 euro. [email protected]

    David says:

    I am sorry to hear that fabrizio, this seems to be a clear case of a company failing to treat a customer properly.

    Another reason for everybody to avoid shopping at Pixmania.

    Good luck with the case while pursuing your legal options!

  3. Mark Smith Says:

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    I have had the worst experience with these people.
    I ordered a 50" Plasma TV, and they sent me a Dyson Vacuum cleaner. And have refused t refund me, even though I refused the item on delivery. This was 2 months ago.

    I am blogging it on www.pixmaniac.co.uk

    David says:

    I have read about your experience with Pixmania and can only recommend to seek legal help as soon as possible.

    Did you use a credit card for the purchase by any chance? My credit card company has been very good with putting pressure on companies that did not delivery (products, services) what I paid for.

  4. Mark Smith Says:

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    Hi David. No - unfortunately not - just a Visa Debit. We are in the process of legal action - just don't know how a company like that can get away with such thievery. I heard they are affiliated with the Dixons group so that explains a lot.

    David says:

    Yes it does explain a lot ;-)

    I always try and use a credit card versus debit if possible, even if I have to pay a pound extra because I have been burnt a few times before.

    Giving the company your debit card details gives them direct access to your bank account with little protection for you.

    Use of credit card is better protected (from the customers point of view) and the risk of charge backs (money is returned in full to the customer) puts a pressure on the selling company to perform well.

    Good luck with the legal case, let us know of any resolution.

  5. Mick Phillips Says:

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    I've used Pixmania for several years, having bought a number of items in that time, but always with the knowledge that should something go wrong I might be in with a fight. I was right.

    Last August I bought a cheap DVD player as a spare. It went wrong almost immediately. I had to pay to return it to France (from my home in Italy), which cost more than the player itself. During its return to me after repair (they nobly paid for that) it was lost by the courier. I was given a voucher (no money-back option, despite asking) for the original cost of the DVD player.

    So, let's imagine I use that voucher to buy the same model of DVD player, to replace the one lost by Pixmania's courier - I will have to pay postage, so effectively paying delivery postage TWICE for one item. Communicating by email via their site (no direct email address given), was painfully slow and the replies were often stock and irellevant. Eventually, I was asked to call customer services and given a number. This turned out to be their 25cent/minute (plus tax) call line, on which the first time I was kept waiting for at least 15 minutes before I put the phone down. The second time an operative sounded very concerned about the situation and promised I would receive an email. It never came.

    I decided to cut my losses, use the voucher and forget about arguing about the postage (which, by the way, is not cheap here in Italy – minimum €9.90 - the rates in Britain, for instance, are far better). When I tried to redeem the voucher I received an on-screen message that it was only redeemable against Pixmania products. Further phone calls, further promises of an explanatory email - nothing.

    So, this morning I decided to try it again, thinking that if I could only buy branded Pixmania products I would, just to put an end to this sorry episode. This time I got the message that the code was no longer usable.

    I've mailed Pixmania about it, but if and when I eventually get to spend that voucher I will never again use Pixmania. This has been a rip-off, good and proper. Lesson learned. I'd rather pay more and use a local supplier with whom I can deal face-to-face.

    David says:

    If there is an Italian equivalent of a "small claims court" I would take it up with them!

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