Homebase and B&Q fail to deliver in survey of online customers

Homebase, B&Q, House of Fraser, Sports Direct and WHSmith have been rated the worst online retailers in the UK, according to an annual Which? survey.

Shoppers complained about Homebase.co.uk ignoring complaints and selling products that were out of stock in a survey of more than 7,500 Which? members asked to rate the online shops they used over the last six months.

The highest rated shops were all specialist retailers, topped by LizEarle.com, RicherSounds.com and WexPhotoVideo.com which all achieved an overall customer score of 93%.

The lowest ranked online retailers in the UK, according to the latest survey by Which?
The lowest ranked online retailers in the UK, according to the latest survey by Which?

Homebase ranked last with 57%, achieving just two stars for its range of products and two stars for value for money.

The online stores of two Mike Ashley-owned brands – HouseofFraser.co.uk and SportsDirect.com – were both in the bottom five on 60%, just under B&Q’s website DIY.com (59%), and WHSmith.co.uk (62%).

HouseofFraser.co.uk received complaints about its delivery costs, while one WHSmith customer said: “I ordered something only to be told three months later that it was out of stock.”

At the top of the table, WexPhotoVideo.com customers praised the camera specialist for its range of more than 20,000 pieces of kit and availability of knowledgeable staff via email and live chat.

Perennial favourite RicherSounds.com drew praise for its “customer-focused attitude” and “excellent value”.

The top ranked online retailers, according to the Which? survey.
The top ranked online retailers, according to the Which? survey.

Which? Magazine editor Harry Rose said: “We continue to see the same brands performing poorly in our survey, with some of the bigger retailers offering disappointing levels of service and inferior websites which often seem to run out of stock.

“Our research shows that if you value a genuinely enjoyable shopping experience, then you might be better off with a smaller brand that can offer a more personalised service.”

A Homebase spokeswoman said: “Following the sale of Homebase in June 2018, we knew there was work to do to improve the shopping experience for our customers.

“A big part of this has been improving our website, and we’ve already made hundreds of changes, such as introducing a new ‘search and filter’ function and adding over 16,000 products online.”

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