Customers queue through night for discount Hoovers - but none work

Sharon Cumber and her daughter Michelle with their Hoovers outside Poundstretcher in Sheerness. See National story NNSUCK Bargain hunters have been left devastated after queuing overnight in the freezing cold to buy cheap Hoovers - that did not work. A group of desperate discount devotees queued for six-and-a-half hours for the £15 vacuum cleaners when a new branch of Poundstretcher opened. But Sharon Cumber, 56, and daughter Michelle, 22, were left heartbroken after the bargain buys from the store in Sheerness, Kent, were faulty. The pair, who were third and fourth in line for the opening, have now blasted the retailer and claim their complaints are being 'fobbed off'.

A PR exercise by discount store Poundstretcher has backfired, with customers furious about bargain vacuum cleaners that don't work.

When the chain opened a new store in Sheerness, Kent, on Friday, it promised that the five customers who were first through the doors could pick up a £280 cordless Hoover for just £15.

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Some customers queued through the night - up to six and a half hours - in freezing temperatures to get their hands on one.

However, it has now emerged that the vacuum cleaners may not have been such a bargain after all, with the five 'lucky' customers all discovering that they don't work.

Despite charging the devices for 12 hours before use, as the instructions specified, the vacuum cleaners failed to turn on. While there's no explanation as to why, it seems possible that the rechargeable batteries failed after a long period without use.

"I took the Hoover back on Saturday as it did not work. I have now found out that none of them worked and all five have been returned," David Hollamby tells Kent Online.

"All I've been told was to leave my name and address and they would get back to me next week some time."

Other dissatisfied customers were told that the store would have to contact the company's head office, and that it could be a week before they got a response.

Legally, when a product doesn't work, it's the retailer that's responsible for sorting things out, rather than the manufacturer. Customers should be offered a replacement, a repair or a refund for an item that's unfit for purpose.

In this case, a refund might well not satisfy customers who spent hours queuing for the £15 appliance.

Poundstretcher is distancing itself from the problem, saying that Hoover has agreed to sort out.

"We have been in contact with the manufacturer who has confirmed that they will be dealing directly with the customers to resolve the situation satisfactorily," it says.

Disappointed customers can call Hoover's customer service department on 0344 4995599.

Inside the home of the entrepreneur behind Poundland
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Inside the home of the entrepreneur behind Poundland

Steve Smith, the man who founded Poundland, lives in a 13-bedroom Shropshire mansion - which has its own pub and snooker room as well as an indoor pool, a dining room that easily sits 18, and an entrance hall that's as big as most London flats.

The clever businessman opened his first Poundland in 1990 in Burton upon Trent. He sold his share of the business in 2002 for £50million and bought his luxury home.

The property is one of three owned by Smith - with another in Florida and the third in Majorca.

Mr Smith's luxurious home is a big step up from his modest background. 

Smith, 51, is now living the life of luxury in his decadent living room which has its own jukebox.

The snooker room inside the 13 bedroom Shropshire mansion owned by former Poundland boss Steve Smith.

The luxury pool inside Steve Smith's palatial mansion in Shropshire. 

Poundland boss Stephen Smith outside his 13 bedroom mansion in Shropshire standing next to his Lamborghini.

Despite having enough money in the bank to retire, Mr Smith didn't want to stop working just yet.

Smith is now working on an online pound shop called Like the stores themselves, it will sell everything from food and drink to stationery, tools, party-ware and home and beauty.
Smith is convinced he can carve out a niche through sourcing different products and pricing them all at £1.

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