A rant about CEX Kingston Upon Thames branch

Posted on May 12, 2007. Filed under: Life, London |

Lots of bloggers do nothing but rant on their blogs. I have tried to avoid this, and, as far as possible, viewed what ever subject I write about either in a positive or even handed manner; failing that I try to sweeten things with a dash of humour. However, as I am still part gutted, part annoyed at the (non-) service I received today at the CEX Kingston Upon Thames branch, I shall rant forth…


I went in to CEX Kingston (a UK store that deals in previously owned games and DVDs) just after lunch today and I picked up boxed sets of Millennium series one and two DVDs off the self.  Taking them to the counter it was discovered by the member of staff who served me that box set series one was missing discs. I decided not to take series two as the store had a boxed set of all three series. I went away to decide what to do. Having decided to have the complete series 1 -3 boxed set I returned. Only to be told that there were discs missing from series two and three in the complete set! I pointed out what had happened earlier and suggested they cut their losses and sell me the series two box set I had seen previously and series one from the ‘complete’ box set. This, I was told they could do not – as they could not break up a box set. When I pointed out that they couldn’t sell the complete box set as it was missing discs they agreed, but still said there was nothing they could do! Which makes no sense at all from either a commercial or a customer satisfaction perspective.


This is not the first time I have wanted to purchase something from the Kingston branch only to be told they couldn’t find the discs. In fact, it’s something of a lottery at this branch. I’d say 30 – 40% of items I have wanted to buy could not be found, although the boxes were on the shelf. They ‘lost’ all the discs for a box set of Stargate SG-1 (series 9) and they didn’t ‘find’ them until I rang CEX’s general enquiries line. This isn’t the case with the company’s other branches. I have used all the branches in and around London (expect the Rathbone branch) and they have been OK. In fact, I praised CEX as a company in my blog only last month (https://gunner54.wordpress.com/2007/04/11/sci-fi-on-the-cheap/).




Except to say I have sent an email to CEX outlining my dissatisfaction. Watch this space for details of any reply…


And another thing… the Kingston branch smells awful.

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28 Responses to “A rant about CEX Kingston Upon Thames branch”

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And theres more… Kingston Branch never stamp the exchange vouchers before they issue them, which other branches tell me they should. They hardly ever check discs for scratches, etc. – resulting in some very poor quality discs. Most of the staff do not know the correct way to handle discs – I now have a collection of their thumb, finger and palm prints (and probably some DNA samples) on DVDs purchased from that branch. On two occasions two different members of staff couldn’t work out how to get the DVDs to fix on to some slightly unusual centre holders – I worked it out for them!

CEX are currently advertising for an Assistant Manager at their Kingston branch. http://jobsearch.monster.co.uk/getjob.asp?JobID=57257045

Some of the key skills / role requirement they are looking for are:

1)Active management of department (merchandising,cleanliness and general presentation)
2)To behave in a professional manner at all times with both staff and customers
3)Excellent interpersonal skills and managing conflict skills
4)To deal with customer complaints where possible or ensure smooth escalation process to Store Manager
5)Understand the importance of customer service

Cleanliness? Customer service? Professionalism? Hohoho, I can feel my ribs breaking under the strain…

On May 17th I received the following email from CEX:
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Firstly I’d like to extend apologies on behalf of CEX for the unnecessary inconvenience experienced at our Kingston store – I’ve also sent a copy of your e-mail to the stores management for review.
I have checked our stock holding and it appears Millennium Series 1 & 2 are currently out of stock; as all CEX is stock is purchased from our customers I wouldn’t be able to suggest a re-stock date. http://www.cex.co.uk is connected to each CEX store, as soon as one is purchased online availability will be updated.
Once more please accept my apologies, please feel free to contact us on 0845 345 1664 and a member of our customer service team will be happy to assist.
Kind Regards
Stefan Cadogan
Customer Service Manager

Having received a ‘sorry’ email from CEX (see previous comment) I was to some degree mollified. To the extent that realising I would be passing the Rathbone branch today (a branch I had never before visited) I went online to see what DVDs, etc, were currently in stock at that location. One box set that peaked my interest was ‘The World at War.’

On enquiring at the desk whither the box set was available, I was told a definite, “yes.” I was also told to look at the rack containing DVD box sets or in the glass display cabinets.

On searching I could not find the box – neither could the guy at the desk when he looked at the back of the display case. After searching for 2 more minutes he gave up – completely! I asked him if this meant that the set was not in stock he insisted that it did not, but offered no further assistance. I suggested he check to see if the DVDs themselves were in their pigeon hole. He refused to do is as it was “pointless” as it was a case of ‘no box no sale.’ I explained that this action would have a point, for if there weren’t any discs it would indicate that the set was in fact not in stock and any further searching would prove fruitless. To which he again explained that he couldn’t sell the DVDs without the box.. and anyway he had done all the searching that was he thought was required.

To be certain I hadn’t missed the set I looked around the store again. Guess what I found? No, not ‘The World at War’ set, but standing in an obscured corner of the display case… a box set of the complete Millennium TV series! The very DVDs that were the root cause of my dissatisfaction with the Kingston branch. I pointed to the set and told the sales guy, “I’ll have that one.”

Being in the display case meant that the set’s DVDs hadn’t been taken out and put elsewhere – less chance of some of the discs getting lost or damaged. However, I was to be further disappointed… on checking the set it was discovered that…. there were discs missing! Another round of “sorry… but that’s it.”

Every day is groundhog day for me at CEX

Cex.co.uk are cr*p. I bought something from their website. Was a nightmare!!! I would never buy from them again.

I went in there today to buy something with a voucher and was told, its cash only, no vouchers … and I went to Kingston specially.

Gunner54…… Dude you need to get out more

This is a bit of a joke as i constantly visit the Cex store and love the fact that it is so much cheaper than the rest of the high street, the queues can be quite daunting and they do sometimes return saying that they cannot find the item that i wish to purchase however the customer service is always excellent with a genuine willingness to help people rather than just sit there staring blankly at you. I also love their product knowledge you can see that the majority of time these people do genuinely enjoy their job. I think what i am trying to say is if you dont like CEX don’t shop there, people arn’t forcing you too only your personal want of a bargain is..

Gunner54…. I work in retail and it is people like you that make it so hard to get through the day i know Cex policy and the way that there stores are run through a close friend of mine, and they have such a hard time from consumers having a go and getting aggressive. What i don’t think you guys understand is that it is not always the individuals fault that they cannot find an item or all of its contents alot of people work in retail and get a had time because of someone else, why not be a little bit more understanding and not such a stuck up pig!!

I worked in retail for many years so I know an stroopy customer when I see one and I can’t see one in my mirror. There are a few people who work in CEX who are friendly, helpful and have a good depth of product knowledge. There are some, as there are everywhere, with an MA in BS. I never get ‘nasty’ with a counter hand (I know what it feels like) even when they feed me a line that I have heard a hundred times down the years. At the heart of CEX is a great recipe for a business that is benificial to it and it’s customers – my first mention of it on this blogsite praised the company! But it currently lacks discipline and is perhaps underfunded. It probably pays peanuts to its employees and we all know what you get for peanuts.

As to the suggestion that if I don’t like the level of service offered I should shut up and not deal with the company. While I may agree with the latter suggestion I can’t agree with the former — unless customers complain or highlight under performing companies the levels of service will not improve, in fact, they are likely to drop even further.

Interesting to note that all three pro-CEX comments were posted on the same day by three ‘different’ people, writing in slightly different styles, Anonymous, Luke and Anima at 11.48, 11.55 and 12.00. Still, more interesting is that on checking the stats of the comments I find…. shock, horror, probe… that not only do they all all came from the same IP address they all carry the same email identity! And Luke, if the email address name isn’t false is actually female. Well, well well…… I could not possibly comment…

Ok fair play all three of the above comments
were by me, however the fact that only myself
and yourself are posting on this blog must
clearly show that no-one has any severe
issues with kingston on most parts your chatting and replying
to your own posts!!! How many consumers have
you met that will make a blog about a single store
and update it so reguarly?? sad?…maybe!
but hey who am i too comment on how you like too spend your spare time please continue as i much enjoy
reading your points.
hugs n kisses

Well that’s refreshing anonymous! I guess the reason I ‘go on’ about CEX Kingston is that I was at first impressed by the whole trade old for nearly new ethos, only to be disappointed by a lot of disappointing visits and non-transactions. However, the last few times I have been in to the Kingston branch (I am persistant and ever the optomist) I have been pleasantly surprised. They have found all the stuff I wanted to buy and it all worked. The staff has improved in helpfulness and product knowledge. And the place no longer smells! So praise were it’s due!

Even if what I have written on this blog, said in person in the store, or written to the CEX head office, has had no influence on the the improvement in the branch, I am still happy I made the effort. All of us have to continually make sure we get the best service we can, from stores, goverment and any other organisations we deal with, otherwise, if we settle for second or third best that’s what we’ll always get.

As to your comment that it is only interesting to me… the blog has had nearly a hundred hits resulting in six comments (mind you as four were from you do they count?). And don’t forget my last few comments were in answer to your comments, LOL.

Having put that subject to bed, what else can we disagree about? LOL

and they all lived happily ever after

I guess the ‘anonymus’ comments are made by Luke from Head office – check your cex-reply IP adress vs those four anon adresses, probably the same.
I’ve had all kind of pleasures with cex, that they are unable to find 50% of their stock is fact and what I count on if I go to a branch. Checking with customer service’s no good as my friend Luke hates my accent and willfully misleads regarding availability…
Could go on for ages about all the sh*t experienced with this company, but got better things to do than stoop down to cex-level…

I recently went into the Hounslow branch of CEX. It did not smell. All the stock was on the shelf in an orderly and tidy manner. The sales assistant was friendly, polite and efficient. The discs I wanted were all found and in perfect condition.

Yesterday (fool that I am) I popped into the Kingston branch. It didn’t smell either. Unluckily, neither of the two games I wanted could be found. The assistant who was serving me asked a more senior member of staff for advice and assistence, who replied (in front of me) “If you can’t find them how do you expect me to?” I asked this one what he thought had happened to the disc as the boxes were out on display? He said, “when we tidied the shelf and found the discs we probably couldn’t find he boxes so we binned them.” This didn’t make much sense as the boxes were displayed exactly where you would expect them to be – a small triumph in itself for Kingston branch! Whatever, the boxes were then thrown into the bin!

And the music is too bloody loud!

I agree with gunner54’s opinions and it includes the Harrow branch. Why is it that the branch in Harrow and TCR and Watford are full of goths?

Rude customer service, enormous queues in a queueless system, and in Watford, it stinks and is boiling hot in there.

All i can say is that CeX should begin to look at Customer Service in their firm’s Aims and Objectives if they want to continue thier success.

…Abd dont get me started on the online stuff yet…

hey, i know this rant is a million years old now but i just wanted to say a few things. firstly i don’t think gunner is being totally unfair. i work for CeX and i love my job, it’s brilliant to work with people who are really interested in what they are doing, unfortuntaly not all stores are as lucky as mine and it is a min wage job. some people work for the money and some work for the job. i’d say most of the people in my store do it for the job but this isn’t always the case. the only thing to do really is apologise and just hope you have a better experience next time!

Hello, i am a worker at CEX Kingston, unfortunatly what you are saying is true, kingston was run badly in the past. After the entire staff was replaced they set up a whole new management and order.
just to let you know everything is now running smoothly at Kingston and we have a 95% chance of having the discs unlike before. =]

Thanks for the comment CEX Worker. I have always liked the idea behind CEX’s business. But, I realised that the quality of branches varied greatly, my local (Kingston) being the worst I have visited. Its encouraging CEX did so much to improve the branch. Who knows it may be one of the best now!

So, to every CEX customer who complained on this blog, other sites and to CEX direct – and to CEX for making the changes – Good for you…. Job done!

ha i changed the whole bloody store! i stayed till 4am in the morning one night doing stock checks trying to make sure we had all the disks for you lot! last staff were all theifs thats why nothing was ever there! cex basingstoke is the best.

yeah marco,you changed everything single handedly..

You say there’s a 95% chance they’ll have the disc. Last 4 times I’ve been in there they’ve not.

Not to mention the time a few weeks ago when the assistant (the only one at the counter) insisted on not only stickering up a load of boxes, but the discs too, THEN he decided to put them into the filing system. All while there’s a huge queue growing, all holding things they’d like to buy.

Today I visited again, lured there (Kingston) by the website’s promise that they’d have a game in stock. Lo and behold, no game.

You’ve had the last money you’ll get from me, CEX. A shame, because the Kingston branch has forced me to never shop at CEX again, even though some of your stores (Croydon) are well stocked and staffed.

I too have had grievances at this and other cex stores such as a lack luster approach to serving customers and they never have any cash when selling things amongst others but with all due respect I think u r just having a moan for the sake of moaning please don’t be offended by my comment I’m only making an observation

What better reason that just to have one? However, if more people moan in this country, we might get a superior service for the top price we pay now for third rate – Estate Agents I’m looking at you!

The reason they sometmes dont have enough cash is they don’t have a daily float and depend on customers paying in cash.

I believe Kingston is under different management – whatever, the shop is larger, cleaner, tidyier, and the staff much better….! I dont suppose moaning caused this, but it didnt hinder it either…

SIX YEARS LATER and the mismanagement from the top-down (it’s a franchise system, meaning the overall organisation lazily makes money from simply charging local franchises for the branding and marketing. Hence there’s time/money to protect the brand (with the sock-puppet lying comments above, shamelessly, too, how pathetic). But no money for the day-to-day functioning of the business, like decent staff (no I don’t care how much you love the STUFF you’re working with, if you’re too pussy to refuse to do the job until the stock-control/theft/mis-management issues are sorted out then you’re nothing but a pathetic bitch – and being on minimum wage and SCARED to lose your job (as are many) is NO excuse! Look at it this way – if you’re going to be paid to have no principles and no scruples, and blame the computer / stock system / management for the problems that are wasting another human being’s time (x1000s over the country) – you may as well get paid more than minimum wage, otherwise become a cleaner – no-one will give you hassle for the system not working well then.
If a system that one knowingly participates in is corrupt, it is a moral duty of everyone to disobey it. Like Martin Luther King said: “One has a moral duty to disobey unjust laws”. EXACTLY the same.
Cex employees and apologists are the utter scum at the bottom of the capitalist pile. What bothers me is their ignorance that if we band together, we don’t have to feel alone, isolated and scared to speak out. It may not be life and death – but if someone wastes their time (=money) at CEX, they then have to go make it up elsewhere – maybe missing out on time with their kids, or having to charge more in business to make up for lost time earning. Meaning EVERYONE IN THE WORLD IS AFFECTED – as what goes around, comes around and everyone’s connected. Idiots who do their daily lives in ignorance of this very simple principle DESERVE to have their ignorance thrown back in their face. Idiots who think that just because they’re not being paid much they can act like arseholes, deserve contempt and being treated as such. ANYONE who is a robot to money – a lackey to capitalism and nothing more (won’t do anything decent unless paid, is selfish like a good little capitalist must be, has no initiative since capitalism only requires cogs in the machine that don’t question), well, they should kill themselves – or at least wake the fuck up and think what world is being created by their ignorant tolerance of inhuman systems that DON’T EVEN WORK EFFICIENTLY LIKE INHUMAN SYSTEMS SHOULD AT LEAST DO (Cex, Train system in the UK, many others where design principles and efficiency/intelligence is subjugated to selfish vested interests and short-term shareholder-brownnosing).

You sounded half way credible until you have to say, and anyway, they smell. Shame!

“Letter of Complaint Despicable Customer Service at Hounslow CEX Store Staff Member AMY”
Dear CEX Customer Service Regulations Department Help,
I recently visited your store and on my arrival I noticed a lady smoking on the front of the store clearly it was cannabis as the smell was very strong & extremely potent. Later I witnessed here working in the store naturally I was shocked horrified hence totally inconceivable as she was an employed member of staff working for cex store Hounslow. (I will be also reporting this to the Police smoking illegal drugs in public place)
She clearly was feeling hot on a cold day and took her shirt off behind the counter serving customers where her vest was only exposed once again morally totally incomprehensible behaviour. To make this situation further aggravating for customer namely because her front and back body was covered with big massive tattoos of disgusting & degrading sexually provocative ink images which was exposed hence totally unprofessional behaviour that created an extremely unpleasant experience for all the customers as she was very intimidating & her behaviour towards the customer was very vulgar, disconcerting, rude & aggressive speaking incoherently total disregard acting inconsolable with discontent.
I asked her what’s your name she replied ‘Amy’ I explained to her that I will be reporting her actions to ‘Head-office’ She shrugged her shoulders and said/replied back with a racist comment “jiggabboo” to my face that is a horribly offensive comment”. I have independent witnesses who can vouch, witnesses with Tel.
Hounslow CEX fails to offer cash when items are being sold always saying cash not available only exchange vouchers only being offered. This is very misleading as clearly in your terms and condition it says: ‘Sell-Cash, Exchange-voucher, which is never, honoured whatsoever in Hounslow cex store. Hence why l be also reporting CEX to Trading standards for deliberately misleading your customer under the consumer trading act rules regulations hence deliberately misleading or depriving information falsely which CEX ‘Renege’ in every ‘Cash-Transaction’. Because this problem has been ongoing now for many years and not just an isolated incident it is very disconcerting & Transparent that CEX Hounslow breach their own Trading polices, Terms & Conditions. Truly regrettably uk’s ‘Obstinate-Store’ to visit aka: “HOUNSLOW-CEX” {Sack them get new Compassionate-Staff}
Yours truly,
Ms Simran Kaur Gill.

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