Argos under scrutiny due to Black Friday mess

National retailer Argos is under scrutiny from the media after being overwhelmed with orders on Black Friday. The company, which issued a profits warning after it suddenly chose to roll out a same day Fast Track delivery service earlier this year, is going to be the subject of a BBC Watchdog investigation.

Argos reported that it was processing 10 orders a second at the peak of the Black Friday rush and this soon made for chaos within the company as the demand on its delivery fleets built up to unmanageable proportions. Its Facebook page had hundreds of complaints from angry customers who had not received their goods.

The company had attempted to level out demand for the predicted spike by offering free, Fast Track delivery throughout November. This apparently did not stop the massive spike in demand on the day itself. In a statement released on Tuesday 1 December the company said, “We’re really sorry for the delays in getting through to customer services.”

This has not stopped the storm of angry customers giving vent to their anger. One woman is reported as writing on Argos Facebook page, “Placed an order from Argos in Farnham for fast track delivery Sunday night…..did not turn up! Rang to re-arrange delivery for Monday night … did not turn up!!! Rang back to re-arrange AGAIN for delivery this morning between 7.00 and 10.00am … did not turn up!!!!!!!!! Have just phoned AGAIN to complain and the girl hung up on me …”

As the surge of demand abates and the backlog of orders are despatched it has emerged that the consumer programme BBC Watchdog is investigating the issues and will be reporting on the issues in the coming week. Such publicity really shows what can happen when a business doesn’t adequately plan for a sales event, and Argos is going to feel the pain for some time to come.