A rant about POWWOW by its customers

We found this online and thought it was interesting – We are amazed by the power of the Internet to bring together groups of previously unconnected people. Everything below is taken from an online blog about POWWOW started up by an ex customer.

“Please don’t hesitate to contact me – a rant about Powwow Water

I don’t usually go as far as to rant in written form; I prefer a brief spout of verbal abuse into thin air. But there are of course exceptions to every rule and seeing as I’m now blogging, why miss an opportunity…

My office, like most, has a water cooler. I think it’s fair to say it doesn’t rank very high on the list of objects I think are important. No one talks by it, not many people even use it. But for the last 4 months it has become my arch nemesis, or more precisely, its owners have.

Our story begins back in December of ‘08. The water cooler broke, spilling water all over the floor. It wasn’t the first time it had happened, but whatever, no big deal, just ring the company (Powwow) and get them to replace it. But of course Christmas and New Year got in the way, so it took them a few weeks to come out. Eventually the cooler was replaced by a new model with the engineer commenting that the old model “did have this problem”.

“Of spilling water all over the floor?”

“Yes”

Ok, whatever, replace it with the new improved model, we’re done.

The new model works great for about 5 minutes. Then it breaks. It refuses to dispense any water, which is pretty much its only function in life. Apart from keeping the water off my floor.

Then it leaks on my floor.

So I’m back on the phone; an engineer will be with us within 48 hours. Of course no one turns up, so back on the phone again. Engineer booked, he will be with us shortly.

Two weeks later and the phone rings, it’s the Powwow Engineer.

“Yes mate, coming to fix your water cooler but your address isn’t right, I can’t find you”.

No one has ever had a problem finding us before; bills make their way to us in a timely fashion. I direct the engineer to the office. Twenty minutes pass.

“Yes mate, still can’t find you, I’ll have to leave it, other jobs to do”.

I have mates. He is not one of them. I suggest that perhaps I could put the cooler out by Junction 8 of the M40 where he might come across it, mate?

But that’s the end of it – the engineer can’t find us, it’s not fixed and a note is put on the system for someone else to come out and sort it. Presumably this time they will send someone who isn’t a complete idiot.

No one turns up for 4 weeks so I am forced to assume they are all idiots.

Bills keep arriving, we keep ringing them and informing them we want money back, we aren’t paying them a cent for a water cooler that hasn’t worked in months.

Eventually two letters arrive from Powwow. The first is a credit note for £20. The second is a bill for £30. Not getting it are they?

I’m done with water coolers at this stage, I’m having nothing more to do with it and it’s going in the bin as far as I’m concerned. Someone else takes up the case and finds similar frustration. You ring customer services, explain everything, they note it down and then promptly do nothing. Its like 3pm is frontal lobotomy time at head office (which incidentally is less than 5 miles from my HQ).

So, long story short, it’s a tale of sad customer service which reached depths of incompetence I have never before seen. No company has ever been this bad at keeping promises and meeting expectations. We’d cancel the contract, but no one comes out to collect the damn thing and we keep getting billed.

But then, light! Yesterday an engineer appeared at 9am without any due warning and replaced it. 24 hours in, it’s still working. But then today I get the final straw – in the form of a mass marketing letter from Powwow.

“Powwow is pleased to announce the launch of the most exciting website the bottled water market in the UK has ever seen”. I sh*t you not. The most EXCITING WEBSITE EVER (for bottled water). They follow this up with more great stuff. “This is a huge step forward in our company history… join us in supplying any good news you think would be of benefit to Powwow”

There are two really amusing parts to the site which warrant further investigation:

Mission Statement

“To provide the best Customer Experience to our customers and to monitor and manage customer relationships, ensuring the highest standards at all times”. I’m not convinced they’ve nailed this one yet. But it’s nice to have ambition. The Mission Statement is followed by a note from the top:

I am Robert Kitley – Chief Executive

“Customer feedback is invaluable to our business, and I would therefore welcome your thoughts about Powwow Water. Whether you just want to say “well done”, or perhaps you have an idea for us, please don’t hesitate to contact me or one of my Senior Management Team”.

I’m not one for hesitating and I’d love to talk to Bob (can I call you Bob, or would “mate” be more appropriate?) but of course, you don’t actually provide your contact details, just the general customer service line. So I ring them. It takes a fair while for anyone to respond, but a bright sounding woman answers the phone (must be pre-3pm).

“Do you have a ship-to number?” she as

“No I’m afraid not, can I speak to Robert Kitley please?” I respond.

“Err, I’ll see what I can do”.

In all fairness to the woman, she did well. I wasn’t expecting her to know who he was, perhaps she didn’t, but she did manage to find his number and connect me.

Robert sounds suspiciously feminine when he answers. Perhaps it’s his PA. I ask to speak with Robert. It doesn’t sound promising.

“Have you spoken to Robert before?” she enquires.

“No I haven’t, but I have a letter from him here asking for my feedback, so I thought I’d drop him a quick line”.

Now she thinks I’m a total nutter.

“Maybe I can help? I deal with most enquiries” she responds.

“Well I’d prefer to speak to Robert, he asked me to get in touch on the website.”

“Can I take your number and I will see if he can call you back?”.

I see what she’s doing. I use this tactic at the office all the time, mostly for recruitment companies. Them and nutters.

I give my number and thank her for her time.

No call back yet. I’m not hopeful, this is an area in which they have been historically bad. If he calls me back, I’ll keep the cooler. Otherwise I’m fully open to suggestions on what to do with it.

Don’t hesitate to contact me (through the comments)…

***UPDATE – 16/04/09***

So, I got call back! But alas, ’twas not Bob. It was Chris, a very pleasent fellow who wondered if he could help. Nice thought, but what I really want is to speak to Bob. So the message was relayed – could Bob please get back to me?

***UPDATE 2 – 17/04/09***

Today another letter from Powwow – this time its a credit note! 50 squid back! They are getting better at this customer service lark, now if only Bob would call me…

***UPDATE 3 – 3/08/09***

We’ve had a fair few comments now from the general public showing their dissapointment at Powwow’s service, but nothing from the company itself.

Or have we….

For you see the 3 “positive” comments (there were others which I deleted) have been coming from a bunch of different names using the same IP address.  I did a quick lookup and the results weren’t exactly surprising… If you aren’t sure what you are looking at in that image, its showing that the IP address of the person posting the comments is the same as an IP address registered to Murray White / Powwow.com. So instead of actually addressing our issues, they are wasting time posting false reports of how great they are. What’s even funnier about this is that the practice is actually illegal. Go POWWOW!

OUR COMMENTS

#1 by Walked out at August 22nd, 2009

Won’t worry about Mr Ian Close, Head of Sales anymore – he’s now an ex-employee too!

#2 by POWWANK at August 22nd, 2009

Thought Ian Close was head of collections?

#3 by Steve Kennedy at August 24th, 2009

What a laugh. Not only are POWWOW confused about their customers, I have not had a POWWOW water cooler for several years now, but Murray White the debt collection agency that POWWOW use, are amazing inept at communication. Received a thrid letter from them requesting payment. Have been trying to contact them for the past 3 weeks. Called the glascow office and get told, there is a problem with that line, I will get someone to call you back. Still waiting.

On top of this, POWWOW send ouot a letter requesting direct debit mandate to be signed. No account details, just the direct debit mandate form.

#4 by Anni at August 24th, 2009

Just wanted to join the ranks of disgruntled customers. Repeated unanswered emails and phone calls, murray white on our case (half-heartedly) to collect an invoice we’ve already paid and two water coolers with faults – one not working at all, the other tasting like algae even though it was “cleaned” a few weeks ago. I want to move to another water company but can’t even get hold of them to get rid of the current coolers. Anyone know the penalty for just scrapping the B****Y things?

#5 by Waterman at August 24th, 2009

I used to work as a Manager for Powwow and left after 5 years as I could not stand the goings on. I was hoping it would be a great carreer but they have really cocked it up. I work for another water cooler company now and if you really want to make Powwow listen vote with your feet! Don’t put up with rubbish service there are loads of really good local company’s out there who want your business and will look after you. Vote with your feet !! Change today yes it will be hassle but it will be the best think you ever did.

#6 by ex emplyee at August 24th, 2009

reference #4 They will try charge you £75 for scrapping the cooler. But in the 10 years i worked there there is no set procedure to bill you. Because they have not got a clue who has and who hasnt the correct amount of coolers, you can just say that the cooler was collected months ago, and they will have to prove that it wasnt,,,,,, trust me this shower of shit management have not got a clue how to do things like this….

#7 by Big Billy at August 24th, 2009

Having read the comments on this website I am not surprised by much of it. However what surpises me is the tolerence level of people who have been at the end of rubbish service for years but still continue to trade with powwow. I can only assume that it is because people really do not know what happens behind closed doors

1) Allocations; whilst you think your not paying the charges detailed in those nice letters I would be very careful to look at the way your money is allocated to your account. A switched on credit controller who is under instructions not to refund any charges on your account may allocate the invoices incorrectly to cover the charges leaving you to pay an already paid invoice at a later date. A mistake may just happen.

2) I doubt your coolers are been cleaned within the BWCA guidelines, it is very easy to check there should be a card at the back of the machine. If there is not then you need ask them to provide you with proof that the cooler has been cleaned. Remember you are paying for this service, the card is your record that the cooler has been cleaned.

3) The mathmatical skills of a water delivery driver are similar to those of a golfer in the 19th hole, very very bad. If you are been targeted on the number of bottles that you delivery, and you are dropping of large quanties of water then a mis count is very possible.

Powwow trade with some of the largest companies in the UK, LloydsTSB, Open University, NHS, MOD, many local government contracts, Barclays Bank, all of these companies will have asked to look at the corporate social responsibility documents, HR Policies, as well as other documents relating to the day to day running of a company they wish to trade with. Is an organisation that has over 100 case awaiting an employment tribunal sticking to these policies. Possible not.

i think that as a customer I would be taking a very serious look at what was going on with my account, it may only be small fry, a few hundred quid on water over 12 months might not seem a lot, but I would not go to tescos every week and put up with an item been scanned twice, only to get back home and find out all of the food is out of date.

Fianlly to clarify, Ian Close now works for murray white, Sean Robinson is Head of Sales. Robert Kitley is CEO but the Chairman and Owner Jim Parks runs the show, and is responsible for everything. Managers at Powwow don’t go to the toilet with out asking Jim.

#8 by MIke at August 25th, 2009

I just wanted to say that we have picked so many new customers because of powwow poor service that’s it’s a shame they are giving the business such a bad name ..

We work very hard to keep the customer happy and they should realise that the customer is king

#9 by xxxxxxxx powwow at August 25th, 2009

Scotland has had great managers and leaders who have been respected by all who have worked for them. Jim Park take note, respect does not come from your wealth it comes from the way you achieve it! Good luck to all the staff and customers who have moved on from this fiasco.

#10 by Huey at August 25th, 2009

I am an ex employee of Powwow. I cannot tell you how dispicable a person Jim Park is. He was introduced to me as a Sir Alan Sugar like individual. You could not be further from the truth. Sir Alan Sugar is a respectable Entrepreneur, Jim is nothing more than a lying, two faced, cheating b*st*rd. You should see what he’s doing to his customers now …… charging for bottle deposits and not giving them back. Doing more than the necessary sanitisations so he can over charge his customers. Someone wants to look into this(panorama) it is not ethical and he really is damaging the industry. Still what goes around comes around Jim, and you’ll always wake up with a tiny winky no matter what you do to make up for it !!!

#11 by ex emplyee at August 26th, 2009

It has also come to my attention that Jim Parks has told the BWCA where to go!!! and the last year ALL depots failed there audit for Health Hygine and to this date no depot has retaken the audit to try and pass. The major customers such as the BBC, BAA, Liberty Guard, etc would love to know this. No engineer should even be doing sanis, because the depots have all failed there audits. This is the phone number for the BWCA 01923 825355, Mike Barnett would back this up if you ask him for 2008 results !!!

#12 by perplexed at August 26th, 2009

Are they going into administration? have been trying to contact powwow for 2 weeks without any answer – emails, phone calls, online assistant etc. We were meant to have 2 new water coolers delivered 2 weeks ago but the only contact from them has been to chase unpaid invoices (which we are not paying until they get the amount correct). And when I ask them to transfer me to the right people I am put on hold AGAIN. We are going to move to new supplier – any suggestions?

#13 by Ben at August 26th, 2009

I must say that at the moment I’m reaping the benefits of Tap Water.

It’s a revelation. We cancelled our Powwow account some weeks ago now and have heard nothing from them. Sent numerous emails, phone calls, letters. They simply don’t / won’t respond. I’m considering the next course of action might be to co-ordinate a day on which we can all go visit their HQ and dump our water coolers in reception…

#14 by Baz at August 26th, 2009

Just wanted to say PLEASE don’t blame the guys on the frontline at Powwow, the people left there do the best they can in a bad situation. They know how bad customers are being treated, but anyone who dares to speak their mind or who doesn’t fit the Murray White idea of a good employee (in other words, anyone who spends too long actually trying to help customers) is marched out of the building, put on ‘Garden Leave’ and never seen again.

You only have to read the links posted in earlier comments to see what kind of record Jim Park has as an employer, he has no regard for employment legislation and no respect for other people at all and people there are scared to even breathe in front of him because of his temper, he speaks to his staff like they are pieces of crap. Trouble is there’s not loads of jobs about at the moment to choose from, and the senior management at Powwow know that and are abusing the situation.

#15 by Mel at August 26th, 2009

Our water cooler broke ( again) , leaked and warped the wooden floor.

9.10.8 phoned to report fault, customer service unsatisfactory

10.10.8 wrote to cancel.

21.10.8 spoke to C- it has not been recorded that we wished to cancel- she said we have 90 day notice period which we must pay for, we said in that case we’ll have cooler fixed.

22.10.8 phoned to chase appointment with engineer- spoke to R-

we wil have to put in a request to invoice department for invoice reduced for period without water. We need a ticket no 46562467 for this

then revealed there is a ‘rejected’ tab on our account- received 12.10.8- receipt of cancellation letter? Reminded them we decided not to cancel if they will fix the thing.

29.10.8 spoke to M- she apologised that the engineer has not been- said that he came 24.10.8 and nobody was in. This was not true-we gave our opening hours and had been promised a phone call one hour before- we had no call and no visit.

M ‘will ensure that someone comes tomorrow or Friday.’

Nobody came.

30.10.8 spoke to C, said we are unhappy and want to cancel- where is proof of 90 day notice period? C agreed to fax through our service agreement

chased

received a copy of service agreement from J- but not a signed copy- so no proof of what he says we signed.

J said someone

would be here before 5- says we cancelled on the 23rd- (argh!)we said we just want it removed- so the fixing people won’t come because we cancelled, and the cancelling people won’t collect because they think we haven’t.

did not arrive before 5pm

31.10.8 CM called again- P said-ticket on for 14th January…

Complained to A – team leader

we asked to waive cancellation period- she offered a month

we Pointed out we have had no water for 3 weeks anyway so are already paying for a period without the service

A agreed to change cancellation pd to Month+ three weeks

A assured us would come on Monday 3rd- said she will put on a note requesting we be first collection of the day

S answered 3.11.8 when CM called to complain we have had no collection -said according to records we are due a collection tomorrow.

We were v angry, filled her in on conversation with Amy. Sam spoke to Amy- her email requesting urgent pickup has not gone through.

we asked again to be referred up.

Ext no 7229 S

we told her we will not be paying any of the 3 months charge and will be complaining

4.1..8Spoke to Mandy- confirmed coming today

Driver collected 1 full (which he broke) and 3 empty bottles same day.

9 months later, engineers still turn up to service the cooler we no longer have, no amtter how many times we tell them.

And they are still trying to bill us for the three months notice period.

#16 by Taste The Difference at August 27th, 2009

Ha Ha all this reading is absolutely fantastic and I feel so sorry for you people that are still having to deal with Pow wow.

As an ex employee myself I can’t believe they are still trading and trying to save a business that died in 2004 when Nestle bought Powwow. Up until that day Nestle Watercoolers (as it was) was a profitable trading business with excellent customer service. Then the merger with Powwow happened and it all went downhill. All the previous management we’re brushed out of the business and all the muppets from the non profit business (Powwwow) were put in place to guide the super big ship, what they actually done was sink it.

In 2004 the business made 10.9 million loss through spending money on flash cars for reps and management and buying useless data for a quarter of a million quid, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. 2005 SAP was implemented into the business as Nestle’s global platform with the UK, namely Nestle Waters Powow as the guinea pig………WRONG!!!! Dirty Data started the rot, like a terminal illness it slowly killed the business, with million upon millions lost every year there after, centralisation started to take place and depots, bottling plants, staff were all shown the door. When I left 2 years ago the problems caused from 2005 were still evident, invoicing issues, sanitisations not being carried out, coolers breaking down especially when no new cooler stocks were bought after 2004. Customers always were given reconditioned stock that was 5yrs old when the merger happened in 2004, a cooler only reallly has a life of 5 yrs but Powwow seem to think they run perfectly at 10yrs old.

The in house politics was always easily seen and deflected away with no purpose of resolving this led to small cracks getting bigger. I was once part of a great national company that had a local feel and customers loved it, when I left we were a laughing stock.

Two years on has seen the company sold to Lomond Hills (Scotland) and all the previous staff have mostly been culled or put on gardening leave. Now all the remaining customers are being chased for outstanding sani’s, un paid bills and then they receive a letter saying basically “we know we’re crap, we’re gonna change it and to do that we’re putting 15% on your rent, 10% on your water and putting your sani up to £20 !!!!! and for that Mr/Mrs lovely customer we’ll give you a 10yr old cooler, crap water in shitty bottles and we won’t give you any service what so ever, but we will charge you a premium for it.

#17 by Ben at August 27th, 2009

Just a quick note to anyone from another water company who wants to promote their services:

I’m sure you are great but I can’t allow you to post recommendations to your own company here. I’ve no idea what your service is like and if I leave any “advertising” type comments up here I’m essentially endorsing your product and company.

I’m sure you will understand, any issues contact me directly – Ben at ht2 dot org

#18 by current employee at August 27th, 2009

As a present employee I thought I’d add my thoughts to this thread, people at Powwow discuss this blog in hushed tones to make sure higher management don’t hear.

The anger of everyone on this page is utterly justified. I see on a daily basis how poorly Powwow customers get treated and despite everything that happens, nothing seems to get solved. I’d love to say this is because we spend all day playing Ping pong and watching the world go by, because at least that would mean that despite all the anger we would have a pleasant working day. But this is far from the case.

As has already been mentioned a good few times, jim park is not a nice man. In so many ways he’s almost like a comic book villain, and it would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the fact that this guy is causing so much stress and anguish to so many people – customers and staff alike. In my opinion he is completely motivated by greed and greed alone, and seems to attempt to warp every department into a money processing machine. Is this how you get rich? Maybe. Is this how you provide a good customer service experience? No.

I wish I could provide an easy solution for how to fix this, but essentially Powwow is at the mercy of the whims of Murray White. When you get a letter saying that “Powwow has referred your debt to Murray White”, this is bullshit. Murray White make the decisions, always. Often the first thing anyone at Powwow hears about this is when an email goes round notifying that a batch of threatening letters was sent the day before, or even when a customer finally gets through and tells us about it.

Keep in mind that while jim is angling the entire business into collecting money, no attention is being paid at all to the fundamental flaws that already exist in the processes from the nestle days (incorrect information, bad billing, poor routing etc)

People who answer the calls at Powwow take the brunt of the anger and are powerless to take preventative measures for future issues. Not because they don’t want to or don’t try to, but simply because murray white carry out actions before anyone at powwow is notified, and without looking into any notes on the account.

Add all this to the already flawed systems in place, and the backlog of bad information from the nestle days and you have a crippled business, on it’s knees scrapping for pennies and making empty threats it cannot carry through.

I would ask just one thing, which has already been mentioned earlier in the thread: please don’t take it out on the staff in the office. I’m sure everyone here knows what it’s like to have rent to pay, kids to feed and food to put on the table. While many people are able to leave this business afer witnessing or bearing the onslaught of jim’s disgusting behaviour (I’m sure you’ve all noticed the turnover), others can only grit their teeth and bear it.

Do you really think that jim’s going to be bothered at all if one of powwow’s customers storms down to our oxford office and shouts at a member of staff until they burst into tears? Is that going to make anyone feel better? As a customer, do you think it’s ok to take out your anger on anyone who is at hand? The first person to answer the phone? Please, I know you have all been screwed around with endlessly but try, try, try to understand what your anger is doing to some of the people in the office who’s only offence to yourself was to answer an ever ringing phone.

When powwow causes you distress, it’s for the duration of a letter or a phone call (I know, they can be damn long calls with all the waiting, but still). I trust that you are all able to be levelheaded and carry on with your day after that – even though murray white will surely send you another bogus threat a day or two later I’m sure you have far better things to be doing. Now compare that to the staff at powwow who have to spend from 8 til 6 5 days a week experiencing that distress being directed squarely back at them in every email and phonecall.

The worst part of your day is our entire day.

I suggest a far better use of your anger and dismay is to report jim to the various authorities and governing bodies, as described by other people in this thread. He can’t continue to trample over people this way – and I guarantee that if this turned into a serious legal matter (as it hopefully will if we are all able to direct our energies as such) it would have the unwavering support of everyone at powwow past and present.

That turned out a bit longer than I expected. I’ll be checking back from time to time and I’ll do my best to be as utterly honest as I can if anyone needs any more information.

#19 by Ernie at August 27th, 2009

I would ask that any vitriol is reserved for the owner and not the company itself, or it’s employees. My fear is that as the problems become public, customers will vote with their feet – as is their right – leading to further job losses & depot closures which will only punish the staff who are working extremely hard, under increasing pressure & ridiculous demands. I agree the way to go is to target The Owner publicly. People take out their problems on the staff, when all roads lead back to him. Any action should be taken against him, not the company. There is a climate of fear, as if anyone says the wrong thing, then they’re out. Didn’t exactly make you excited to go to work in the morning

#20 by Nikki at August 28th, 2009

Hi,

I am currently on hold to pow wow.. have been since quarter past 9.it is now 11.03 no word of a lie.. i ended the day yesterday on hold to them for 45 minutes, i’ve tried every different number i can find.. i’ve emailed 4 different email ad’s.. finance team, customer service etc, filled out a contact form on their absurd website..and no one has got back to me. all i want to do is TALK TO SOMEONE AND ORDER SOME MORE BOTTLES OF WATER.. jesus christ, they’ve always always always always always been bad, they generally lie about when deliviries are going to be made, and claim they’ve never heard about a delivery or you ringing previously if you question them about it.. this has happened about 4 times.. but this is horrific.. i don’t physically know what i’m supposed to do? we need more water in the office.. can anyone help me? shall i just throw the thing away, send an email and a letter saying it’s over.. and be done with it? I JUST WANT SOME WATER.. It really is a complete joke, anyone that works there should be ashamed of themselves.. i NEVER EVER write about stuff like this on the internet. i think it’s a bit sad. BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. please get in touch if anyone knows of anything i can do.

#21 by Karen Tee-Boon at August 28th, 2009

It’s nice to know I’m not being victomised on my own.

I gave three months notice in April for our two coolers and racks to be collected in July. My original letter was e-mailed to customer services, contact us, customer reponse and the finance team, I also faxed the e-mail and posted a copy by special delivery. True to form I heard nothing to acknowledge my termination letter, so I e-mail, faxed and posted again and Jack from their retention team called to discuss why I wanted to terminate; gave my reasons poor to non-existant customer services, sporadic deliveries and cost. Jack kindly gave me until the beginning of July to think over my cancellation request as customer services had improved 100% since they moved away from Nestle, my reply ‘really is that why I had to chase up a reply to my termination letter that was e-mailed twice to 4 different departments, faxed and posted’! He couldn’t comment!

To date I am e-mailing all departments and posting on a daily basis, they have been told we’re not paying for any rental after our termination should have taken place on the 20 July 2009; but as yet all my efforts to communicate with Powwow have hit a big black hole.

I did have a telephone call from customer services from a chap called Andrew, but he didn’t want to talk about termination and collection of the coolers and racks, he just wanted to know why we weren’t buying water from them! I kid you not.

I am waiting for a credit for 6 bottle deposits, our final invoice and collection of the said coolers and racks. It looks like Murray White and I have a date with destiny; my Company Solicitor and I look forward to this with relish!

Bring it on Powwow, I have a whole dossier of copy e-mails, proof of faxes, proof of postings, telephone calls logged with dates, times and names, let battle begin.

#1 by raj at May 13th, 2009

Hello ben

I must say that your views on powwow water company are absolutely spot on.

They mess up invoices , my cooler has been changed 5 times in 4 months, they don’t get back to u.

Also they make fake promises and continue sending u invoices even after you have told them that they are working it out wrong.

They send u refurb coolers which leak the water hours after install.

I cannot get in touch with them anymore as they seem to be all sleeping.

Maybe they need to drink some of their water to snap them out of the trance.

They do not seem to be bothered with one cooler in a domestic environment.

#2 by Gemma Hose at July 2nd, 2009

Hi there,

ive just read your rant about powwow and have a very similar story which also began in december 08 with a bill for work carried out on our water cooler in 2007 that they had apparently forgotten to invoice us for at the time- so obvioulsy after not being able to find any evidence of what this charge was for asked them to send the orginal documentation or a signiture from the person who had done the work they were telling us about- a month passed and we heard nothing- then we recieved a debt collection letter- we hadnt to this point been sent any other correspondance and so got on the phone to them – it seemed like we were getting somewhere but alas it was not the case and since then have sent around 8 emails made numerous phone calls and spent a lot of time on hold, we have now decided to cancel our account but even this is proving very difficult- when you first get put through you have to give- account number, name, address etc etc then the person on the phone tries to put you through to retensions department- surprise surprise- the line is busy- so i get put back through to the orginal call op who tells me they can not do anything so will have to take my details and call me back – i have done this 3 times now, so this time asked to stay on the line- after being on hold for 35 minuites i still could not be put through to anyone who could do anything with our account and the orginal call op could not even access our account information- in the end i was put through to someones voicemail so after about 40 minuites of phone calls this morning i am no closer to cancelling our account. I am now writing a letter of complaint- but as no one has responded to any of my emails im worried this is just another waste of time- do you have any suggestions for dealing with this awful company?

#3 by Ben at July 7th, 2009

Hi Gemma,

Thanks for your thoughts – its nice to know we’re all in the same boat!

I never did recieve a call back from Robert, so I wouldn’t hold your breathe when it comes to the letter!

My suggestion would be to write the letter and CC it to every senior manager you can find in the company. Then maybe it will ruffle a few feathers.

And I would suggest that anyone else reading these comments with similar experiences puts them up here – whether Powwow want to start a dialogue with us or not, it doesn’t matter, but what is obvious is that people are finding this sort of page when they are searching for Powwow – and that can’t be good for business!

Ben

#4 by Leanne at July 20th, 2009

Thank God, I was beginning to think it was just me. Currently on hold whilst trying to get through to the accounts department, been on hold 38 minutes and counting.

I have worked for my company for over three years and since I have been here we have not had a water cooler – there is only 2 of us in the office – however the previous occupant of my chair did take up their free trial offer and they billed her £2.33 for late return of equipment which was paid in May 06. Now Powwow has sent me a bill for £8.92.

I have emailed the accounts team twice and tried to ring on numerous occasions but cannot actually get ANYONE to answer the phone.

I have tried getting myself put through to other department “in error” but no-one answers the sodding phone.

I would love a “powwow” with anyone that works there.

How can a customer based company operate like this?

#5 by Ben at July 20th, 2009

Your timing is un-canny Leanne! We’re just having another Powwow debate here in the office – 3 pieces of mail from them in 2 days, one of which tells me that they are introducing a 15% penalty fee for late payment! I think you can expect your bill to go up before it comes down!

We also had the single most confusing letter I’ve recieved – a “statement” of account” – which offers no explanation as to what it means but it seems to list transactions that date back 817 days (their term, not mine) and reaches the conclusion that we owe them £15.68 in minus 8 days time!

Maybe I should ask for a 15% reduction for invoices issued too soon….

#6 by Caz at July 21st, 2009

How true all this is. I am trying to sort out an error on our account from 2006, yes, I’ve phoned, emailed, faxed all to no avail. (Did get through once after waitin for half an hour and the nice girl said hold on one moment while I transfer you and promptly cut me off, grrr) Latest straw is they are going to charge me interest on unpaid bills, or they will take further action.

I am waiting for them to take the cooler away, cancelled contract in April, but I’ve had no acknowledgement from them. I’ve had anough time wasted hanging on the phone, writing letters etc. It’s ony a relatively small sum and I’m sure others would say just pay it. But why should I, they are in the wrong. They shouldn’t keep getting away with it.

I agree the statement of account is worthless, I woud like someone to explain how the hell we are supposed to understand it. There are credits not applied, just a list of invoices and credits, really useful.

Is there anyone we can turn to to get this fiasco sorted out? Ian Close – Head of Collections, James Needham-Finance Director, do these people exist?

#7 by raj at July 21st, 2009

Hello everyone

I also have received letters about 15% penalty charge on outstanding amounts effective from 20 july.

How can they do this when the invoices are wrong and its their fault.

Also you ask them to send the correct amounts and they do not bother to calculate your bill properly.

I have phoned many times but it leads to nothing and so i email and they do not reply.

When they do finally reply its a case of “we will work on it, leave it with us and we will get back to you”

But they do not get back to you and in the meantime the incorrect bills are pouring in and you do not feel like paying until they have it right.

By the way i am on my 10th P1000 water cooler in just 2 years. The others (all refurbished units) conked out and a few spilled many litres of water all over carpet and through floorboards.

The usage is very low as this is a house with 2 people and still these coolers fail.

This company is the worst company i have ever dealt with and other companies do not come anywhere near the incompetence of this one. When my water runs out ,it may be time to say goodbye and thanks for nothing but stress.( I thought water was meant to be good for you) Much less hassle with tap water.

#8 by Sue at July 21st, 2009

Hi,

I’ve also recieved the letter about the 15% penalty charge and I had to laugh or tear my own hair out!! I too have tried repeatedly to contact them. I often manage to get though, but I’m always promised some one will call me back and of course they never do.

The bills are wrong, it also has leaked and I was asked 3 times to confirm that I had their new bank details by email. (I was under the impression I didn’t work for them) I have today sent an email asking them to remove it . I would not have believed a water cooler could be this much of a problem.

If anyone finds the elusive Robert please let me know

#9 by Ben at July 21st, 2009

Wow – very impressed by the numbers of people finding this post. Also very dissapointed by the similarity we are all reporting in the service!!

Clearly this isn’t a series of isolated problems, the company has systemic issues which customers (and potential customers) need to be aware of.

As for Powwow – well this is likely to be some of the most insghtful customer feedback you’ve ever had, maybe it’s time to take note?!?

#10 by Caz at July 28th, 2009

Well the cooler was collected yesterday, hurrah, Does this mean they will sort the account out. I probably think not. I will take a leaf from their book and ignore their letters etc and see what happens.

#11 by stuart at July 29th, 2009

Good look in getting hold of anyone! We have been sending e-mails for months to get rid of invoices we do not owe.

Their web site does not work anymore!

Robert Kitley’ direct number never gets answered or replied too either. BTW that is 01865 398320 for anyone wanting to try it!

We sent 100 same day emails demanding a response …you guessed it nothing back!

So I am going to ignore them and hope they take me to court….. it’s going to cost them big style.

Oh yeah just to re state everyone call BOB on 01865 398320 there is an answering machine to leave abuse on !!!!!

#12 by AliB at July 29th, 2009

OMGoodness – is someone bugging my office and recording my every frustrating PowWow conversation ??????

#13 by Ben at July 29th, 2009

I don’t advise abusing Bob’s answer phone, but a nice message telling him your problems (as he asks on the website and in correspondance) should of course be welcome!

#14 by katie at July 30th, 2009

anyone up for contacting watchdog with me? i’m sure anne robinson would have had something to say about this joke of a company.

I am beginning to wonder if pow wow even actually exists seeing as all correspondance is ignored and all phone calls are dealt with by a third party call centre who incidentally share their offices with crossrail as i had the pleasure of listening into to some representative conversation whilst on hold for the 20th time yesterday.

my story is spookily similar to many of those posted on here except the water cooler itself is fine, sitting here cluttering up our office and causing a potential fire hazard. however i struggle to see what use it is without water to put in it. we ordered water back in may – it didn’t arrive after the first week so i rang to chase – they said it would be another week. another thirsty 2 weeks later still no water. i ring again – they say it will be delivered on sunday – WTF! no one is in the office on sunday so I tell them to cancel the order and I will go somewhere else. thanks very much. two days later we have gone with another company who have delivered both a water cooler and the water to go in it within 48hours. we write pow wow letters and emails telling them that we want to cancel the contract – no response until joy of all joys a letter a week later detailing a ’statement’ of £230. this means that we apparently haven’t paid a bill for oooh 8 months so we refuse to pay as this is not possible. a week later and despite more emails and unanswered phone calls to pretty much every department of pow wow we get another ’statement’ of a different amount – possibly plucked froma lottery of nonsensical numbers, not only that but we will be charged the infamous late payment fee. I ring up tell them to go and swivel on a large one and threaten trading standards if noone responds in the next 24 hours. next day we get a phone call from someone asking if we would like to be put through to the customer complaints department – however this seems to have vanished alongwith any ounce of common sense and 25 minutes later no one has responded. an embarrassed call centre representative tells us that they are sat right next to him but aren’t picking up the phone. perhaps they have slipped into a dehydrated coma? or maybe they are just a mirage in the pow wow oasis of customer service. we shall never know. all i do know is that we have some stupid water cooler sitting redundant in our offices with 4 empty bottles of water and if none gets back to us soon it’s going to be thrown out with the rubbish where it belongs.

spoke to someone from trading standards today who basically sais that unless they respond to our correspondance the debt collection cannot be taken to court so my advice – dont part with a penny.

#15 by Skye at July 30th, 2009

Hi, fellow haters of Pow wow,

I have been a customer of this company for over three years now and i have to beg to differ with you, pow wow have always been punctual with there deliveries, the delivery men are kind and friendly and we pay for the service and water promptly without any problems, i have indeed had a chat with Robert Kitley as their had been a minor blip when they left Nestle, but the problems were resolved and i am extremely happy with everything they have done!

So just a quick thank you to a few people from Pow Wow…Ian Close for help with finances, Sarah Gill for solving any queries i might have had and a general all round cheers!

Pow wow are such a huge company its hard to keep everyone happy but they do try their best.

I do hope things get better for you all but as for me i will definitely be sticking with pow wow waters!

#16 by Ben at July 30th, 2009

Well its nice to have someone with a good experience!

To be honest with you Skye we work with considerably bigger companies who are considerably better at keeping everyone happy, but each to their own.

FYI we have this week cancelled once and for all. The latest batch of misinformation and demands to come from this company have pushed us over the edge

#17 by Skye at July 30th, 2009

I am really sorry to hear that Ben,

best of luck with the next water company you decide to go with. who did you speak with that cancelled your contract?

#18 by Ben at July 30th, 2009

Not sure Skye, I no longer deal with the situation in my company

#19 by Skye at July 30th, 2009

oh ok then, well all the best, take care x

#20 by david wiggly at July 31st, 2009

they are all lun directors

#21 by Ben at July 31st, 2009

whats a lun director?

#22 by midwiffer at August 3rd, 2009

i love powwow. great service

#23 by Ben at August 3rd, 2009

You should all know that every “positive” response on this blog has been completed by someone who works for Powwow, using their company network. For evidence, see the bottom of the post.

Nice one, now you are actually breaking the law to boot…

#24 by raj at August 3rd, 2009

I could smell a rat when comment no 15 was posted.

It is obvious that this is someone from powwow and probably high up in the ranks.

I have talked to quite a few members within powwow ( none were managers or with high postions within the company) and these people are as fed up as we are!

But their jobs pay the bills and they (sigh) just have to get on with it.

#25 by By George at August 7th, 2009

We have no problem with the machine just the none stop invoices for stuff we haven’t had. They never reply so off to trading standards and the local court.

#26 by Ben at August 7th, 2009

Two more letters today. The first is as follows:

“Dear Customer

Following a post implementation audit of our new computer system we have discovered errors in our sanitization pricing. The attached invoicing corrects these errors.

I apologise for the inconvenience that this additional invoicing may cause and I look forward to recieving your payment on agreed terms”.

The second letter is a debt collection notice telling me that a debt (looking similar to the previous charge) is 120 days overdue and has been passed to “Murray White Ltd” (who, by the way share a whole host of DNS information with Powwow – same company?) for collection.

We have already cancelled our account some time ago now. I have no idea what either of these charges are about, or why they apologise with one letter and re-invoice me, only to get the debt collectors in the next letter.

I think this lot will go firmly in the “ignore pile”. If they really want to try and take me to court over £12 I think they will find themselves on the end of a summons to answer their employees contravention to EU law on this blog post.

#27 by Powwoe insider at August 8th, 2009

I too find the above comments overly familiar but I am not a customer, i happen to be an ex employee.

Firstly as many of you may have assumed “powwoe” (a term coined by one customer) do not treat their employees any better than their customers.

Countless employees have resigned, been made redundant or been sacked only to be replaced by a high turn over off temporary staff. no knowledge, no training, lots of call backs.

So who’s in charge of this farce? Well, this link may give you some answers: http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/01259452700

with regards to Katie’s comment, unfortunately watchdog wont be much use. Powwoe supply the BBC and it’s doubtful that they would embarrass themselves by using a company that appeared on watchdog.

What would I suggest? If you get good service, great, count yourself lucky. If you don’t there are still a few good people in the company that can help you, always take names.

#28 by Ben at August 8th, 2009

Thanks for the comment and the link – gives me a few phone conversations to look forward to! At least this time, they will be calling me.

Does anyone know if Murray White are just a subsidary that Powwow “outsource” their finance collections too?

This really sounds alot like those companies featured in a recent Dispatches programme on C4:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-33/episode-1

#29 by Caz at August 10th, 2009

It’s all getting very interesting! I also have a letter saying that Murray White are now in charge of the debt. Had a great time telling them how there was no debt to pay, in fact Powwow still owe us return of deposit for two bottles, believe that’s £14. Would be interested to know if anyone has actually been to court and won. My boss is not happy with the amount of time spent dealing with this and will shortly tell me to pay the invoice anyway. Shame really.

#30 by N Blake at August 10th, 2009

I am sick to death Powwow. Below is an extract of a letter I sent to Murray White. Just like the rest of you – I have not had a response from either Murray White or Powwow from the letter below – or the other numerous communications to them!

They are asking me for in excess of 2 grand – yes 2 grand. I am so tired of this company to the extent that I wish never got involved with them! My case has been going on for over 3 years!

If they want to take me to court – bring it on – I will have my lawyers walk all up and down their xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx!!!!! I have done everything in my power to try and resolve the issue – BUT THEY JUST DON’T GET IT!

————————————

Murray White

21 Fifty Pitches Way

Cardonald Park

Glasgow

G51 4FD

XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 2009

Dear Sir/Madam,

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

I refer to your letter of XX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 2009.

I cannot believe the incompetence, lack of professionalism and inadequacy of your client in respect of this case. Still it continues – unbelievable – really, really unbelievable!!!

A few of the matters to be resolved:-

•I have still not to date – been reimbursed in respect of the damaged hardware and cleaning required because of the broken alcoholic drink by the powwow employee in my kitchen? There has been numerous communications in respect of this – but your client has still failed to act accordingly.

•5 different water coolers were delivered – they all had faults. Why did your client take it upon themselves to bill me for up to 5 water coolers when I only ever had one at any time? Numerous communications to try and resolve – but again your client failed.

•A number of bills for maintenance that never happened. Not just for the sole water cooler – but all of them!

•Not acting on termination requests.

•Frequent change-over of delivery drivers – resulted in none delivery of water. As a result – a water cooler I could not use.

•Due to the unavailability of the specific water cooler – it was replaced with an upgraded model – which I did not request. Your client took it upon themselves to bill me the difference!

You would not believe the intensity in respect of trying to deal with this company – the incompetence is incredible – it is an absolute disgrace.

Now you have the audacity to bill me unsubstantiated charges of £XXXXXXXXXXX, including a late payment fee of £XXXXXXXXXXXX

I suggest you go back to your client and get your facts completely straight.

XXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

#31 by Ghandi’s Flip Flop at August 11th, 2009

Ridiculous. Powwow have been chasing me on all our accounts (we have more than 10, one for each site) for invoices dating back to 2006. They sent me a pushy letter demanding I prove they’ve all been paid. I did some spot checks on the 100 odd invoices they were querying… every single one of them paid.

I phoned them a few months ago and told them to do their own job, and that if they were expected me to do it I may have to bill them for my time… which is worth more than faulty water dispensers.

They’ve now transferred the ‘debt’ to Murray White Ltd and oh what a surprise Murray White Group have recently aquired Powwow.

Seems like a perfectly good company has been turned into some kind of scam. Dont know about you but I always liked tap water anyway

Good luck!

#32 by Peter at August 11th, 2009

I thought I was the only one with problems with Powwow. Thank god for the internet, did a Google search and found this website.

I’ve got connections with the trading standards and am now in the process of making a formal complaint.

I’ve had enough of these Powwow cxxxs!

#33 by Ruth at August 11th, 2009

I had a water cooler in my house a few years ago when Pow Wow offered a deal to company directors to supply a free machine. After I moved on from the company I had the contract terminated at my house – the cooler was returned and I settled the outstanding balance. 2 years later they start chasing me for payment of my final invoice which they had actually credited back to me at the time.

When I contacted them a rep said that she could see it was not an outstanding amount and that she would balance it on the system. Howver I then received payment demand letters from Murray White who had increased the “outstanding amount” with a late payment fee. After many hours of holding for both Pow Wow and Murray White to try and get the matter resolved I decided to make a payment just to get them off my back.

The end of it you think? No way! I have just received another letter from Pow Wow saying that the balance is still outstanding and that they will passing on the correspondence to Murray White. I have tried to contact them on the number they have given me but no reply. What a nightmare!

Glad I’m not the only one – but these are the kind of things that mess up your ability to get mortgage approvals etc. Especially seeing the extent of their incompetence and that mine is not a rogue case I feel that I want to have the Office of Fair Trading brought in or some other government body. What does anyone else think?

#34 by Brian at August 12th, 2009

We have been with them 9/10 months and the sad thing is I wasn’t even bothered about both the coolers not working properly most of the time and never dispensing cold water it is only when the invoicing went crazy and they cashed cheques and re invoiced for the same amounts threating legal action that I took issue. Have been trying to speak to someone for 3 months but suffered all of the experiences above. When I have spoken to someone they always say it isn’t there normal job and they are just maning the phone for the day and three occassions have advised that it is such a mess behind the scences that I should go elsewhere. As for the poor engineer who has to turn up every few weeks to mess about with the machines but never fix them…….I don’t have the heart to keep having a go at him he looks like a broken man already!! POW WOW are so big I can’t believe it can be run in this way. I also have concerns about the tatse and quality of the water. If they have finacial problems which are effecting their customer services I hope the proper procedures are being followed re the hygine conditions for cleaning out old bottles and filling/transporting the new ones.

#35 by Powwoe insider the second at August 12th, 2009

Response to #34 – they are definately following proper procedures for cleaning…you may have noticed that the frequency of your cooler sanitations has increased, “bob” done the same trick at the previous water cooler company that had the misfortunate of employing him – more sanitations, more invoices, more complaints, less customer satisfaction!!!!

#36 by Powwoe insider the second at August 12th, 2009

#33 Murray White/Powwow cannot directly influence your credit rating at all this could only be done following a sucessful court action in which they have to prove your invoices are outstanding and substaniate their additional charges – as you say they are incompetent and you have paid. Furthermore, if they cannot manage a simple process of correct billing/payment allocation (basic accounting) or handle correspondence – they are not going to be able to take all their clients to court!

#37 by takes the wow out of powwow at August 13th, 2009

i used to work for powwow and i can tell you it is as frustrating working for them as it is for you to call in. having to tell you guys things we know full well are unlikely to happen. i wasnt really taught enough to try and help you efficiently or at all i guess. murray white own powwow and dont seem to have much more interest than colecting your cash. and hence the majority of people are trying to get your money and the minimum people are actually bothering to answer your calls/emails. if they do, it seemed to be to asses how much you owe and to try and get it off you. my suggestion would be to find proof of your payment and if you cant ask for SIGNED proof of deliveries.they werent always on the system. if they cant provide it surely they cant prove you actually recieved the goods and hence not prove you should pay? can they?

#38 by PW at August 13th, 2009

#37 – I also used to work for Powwow until Jim Park (company director) took my team in to the canteen yesterday and fired us on the spot. It seems he has his wife and step daughter working at the H/O now, isnt that sweet? Reason for being sacked by the way – Not bringing in enough debt, But the funny thing is the systems are so terrible no one has any clue what company owes what. I was one of the many people who actually cared about the customer issues and tried very hard to resolve them, but with limited/no training all I could do was pass the issue on and knew nothing would happen. It seems me trying to protect the custom they had wasnt as good as getting this debt in (the made up figure). It was a very frustrating position knowing I was going to get a complaint and then still asking for the £245.67 they apparently owe from 2007. Alot of the staff there do their best and mean well. Seems everyone is terrified for the positions from speaking to my friends that are still there. I thought he was just bitter because Scotland lost 4-0. Surely thats not a reason to dismiss someone?

#39 by PW Insider of many at August 13th, 2009

I recently worked for Powwow through a recruitment agency, as I had just graduated in Oxford and needed a little extra cash before returning home. I was told that the company had just been taken over and needed extra staff to help turn the place around. Now I know I didn’t work there long, from about June to August in all (actually in terms of Powwow that’s an eternity), however, I soon realised the company had more than just a few major flaws. I did Business and Management as a degree and that place frustrated me on a daily basis, but then again I was just the ‘temp’. O.K it was clear the new owners had bought a bit of a dud, but I soon realised why. Through office gossip and overhearing conversations I noticed the potential motives behind the acquisition, apparently when the current owners purchased powwow it was owed a lot of money, about £18million altogether. Now this may be gossip, but I was told by someone who had been there a while that the reason they only have temps and the reason for there reinvigorated efforts to collect debts was to bring in as much money as possible and get out. Now like my colleague above I did care about the customers and really wanted to help them but the level of autonomy we were given was so minimal that most of the time we could only pass the problems on. There staff allocation was poor, there management of vital services such as distribution was poor at best, and there concern for customers was non-existent (speaking for the managers that is). The Murray White link mentioned above is also true, and the (dis)organisation along with powwow seems like a nice little family run place. Anyway that’s the end of my little rant, I would like to say to anyone that would like to take this to a watchdog organisation or higher, please don’t hesitate to contact if you should need a witness. Ben the blog master will know how to contact, and in that old powwow fashion ‘I’m always happy to help’.

#40 by Caz at August 14th, 2009

#32 Peter, how about sending this link to Trading Standards. I for one would be very interested in what they have to say. Please let us know how you get on.

#41 by raj at August 17th, 2009

Hello all

This scenario is gathering pace faster than i thought and may soon hit the mass media.

Going back only 3 months , this website would be listed as number 4 or 5 on a google search of “problems with powwow”

Today i notice its number 1 !!

Its like the music charts and ben ( who got the ball rolling) could have his moment of fame soon. I bet murraywhite hate him as they (pow wow )have been pushed to the number 3 slot on a google search.

#42 by Ben at August 17th, 2009

Good isn’t it!

I do hope this does gather momentum and gets noticed by people who can make a difference at the company. All of the people posting here have had their lives made worse for doing business with this company and thats a pretty sorry state of affairs to be in.

By the way, anyone still left wondering about the Murray White / Powwow connection, read this article – its the same company, the Murray White Group owns Lomond Hills Water, which in turn brought the Powwow brand at the start of this year.

#43 by Bi at August 18th, 2009

Powwow is totally rubbish!! I’ve been calling their order number in these two days, and every calls I made could NEVER go to anyone!! It keeps put me on hold for ovrer 20 minutes!

AND YES THEY MESSED UP MY INVOICE!!

#44 by ex employee at August 18th, 2009

i feel sorry for the people still there to be honest…its only a matter of time before it all goes tits up and eveyone is out of a job!

Jim doesn’t deserve the people he has working for him…he was rude, impatient and didn’t understand the work that was actually being put into the company by everybody else, he just saw the figures on a sheet of paper!

and by putting everybody on collections because thats all he cares about is ridiculous! if i was a customer of powwow’s i would try and cancel….and QUICK!

#45 by Andrew at August 18th, 2009

They should win an award for the worst customer service department ever. Infact, does one even exist!? We can never get through to anyone….

The one time we got through to someone, they couldn’t help because they don’t have any account details, and just took messages!!!

We canceled 6 weeks ago (which was a job and a half). Not only because they often failed to deliver any water, but because the price was going up (its already higher than a few other water companies I have found).. The driver who collected the bottles, was told he wasn’t to collect any coolers….. he said he had at least 6 to collect that day!

We just received an invoice for the next quarters rental… and the cooler still hasn’t been picked up!

A monkey could run the business better than the people presently in charge!

#46 by Keith at August 18th, 2009

It’s just not even funny dealing with them. I didn’t realise the connection between Murray White and Powwow which actually makes a lot of sense. We’ve had problems with Powwow waters since 2005 (when it was Nestle). No matter what we did they couldn’t get an invoice right. We had one cooler and we were being billed for 5! We finally ended the contract & Murray White got involved. They were chasing us for £6k (it’s one cooler over 4 years). They started threatening court action so we paid half while we sorted out documents to prove we were overcharged, now with shown them the proof and we are owed a refund no one will talk to us. Still should be fun to take legal action against them, they sure as S**t deserve it

#47 by Powwoe insider the second at August 18th, 2009

It’s perfectly clear that phone calls and letters to powwoe are not going to work, and as a water company is valued on the basis of the number of coolers they have in circulation, they are not going to be too quick on collecting them!

So pay what you believe you owe, leave your water cooler at the door, refuse any deliveries, keep all correspondence (for court evidence as well as for the total comedy value of it) and watch Jim and Bob drive the company into the ground.

Just a pity about all the genuine people that have been trying to do a good job, this is not fair on them or the customers!!!

Any more word on the Office of Fair Trading? BBC watchdog?? HMRC (tax dodge perhaps)???

What about the likes of the BBC or RBS, they are massive customers of powwoe , does any know anyone in a senior position that would be interested in this site?

#48 by Walked out at August 18th, 2009

I acutally work for Powwow, or did until last Friday – when I walked out!

It is a frustrating company, but please try not to take your frustrations out on the lower levels. There is no help whatsoever from the managment, who to be fair are nothing but bully boys and everyone fears for their jobs, temp AND permenant and all are trying to find other jobs, but it’s not so easy at the moment.

The reason accounts aren’t being updated is because the software to confirm payments prior to the takeover isn’t working. Sales Ledger has boxes and boxes of letters from customer saying they have paid, but know why of checking it. So if you’re being chased for money, it’s doubtful they will take you to court, because they can’t prove it!

As someone else commented, the company can’t function for too much longer – Powwow aren’t even paying their suppliers. Hays Recruitment pulled all their temps out of the business last week because they are owed several thousand pounds and several other recruitment agencies have threatened the same!

The employees get grief from the customers and abuse from their managers! So glad I have a husband with a stable well-paid job that has allowed me to walk away from it.

#49 by Dr Eric Asher at August 19th, 2009

Correspondence sent to Pow Wow: enjoy!

—–Original Message—–

From: Dr Eric Asher

Sent: Fri 8/14/2009 3:25 PM

To: customerservices@powwowwater.com

Cc: customerservices@powwow.com

Subject: FW: Dr Eric Asher account *******,Kindly reply please

—–Original Message—–

From: Dr Eric Asher

Sent: Fri 8/14/2009 3:23 PM

To: financeteam@powwowwater.com

Cc:

Subject: FW: Dr Eric Asher account *******,Kindly reply please

Powow water:

This email was sent 8/10/09.

Not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement.

What IS your problem?

I called again today and was kept waiting for 15 minutes so far, far too long, hence this email.

A prompt reply would be a good start.

Yours,

Dr Eric Asher

—–Original Message—–

From: Dr Eric Asher

Sent: Mon 8/10/2009 7:36 PM

To: financeteam@powwowwater.com

Cc:

Subject: Dr Eric Asher account *******

Dear finance team

Following numerous letters and phone calls to yourselves (see below) I am hoping to settle my bill.

I was promised an urgent response to my call from early this morning but it regrettably has not happened.

The lady I spoke to today in Customer Service identified account invoices ******* £57.71 and

******* £75.09 as applying to bottles of water at about £18 each.

Sadly by the time I had got through to her after the 25 minute wait I was not thinking clearly and did not challenge this.

You normally charge about £7 a bottle. When did this doubling of charges happen?

Please look at the account in full and identify the exact costs of the amounts outstanding.

We know you have some problems in your accounting dept as I received a threatening letter for over £500 late last week only to find of course that it is really about as agreed with your customer service lady this morning.

As I have said before, I am happy to pay for what we consumed, less the charges for what was faulty water.

You do not normally charge for algae infected water, do you?

The Food Standard Agency was quite alarmed when we discussed this today.

Anyway, I would appreciate a prompt reply, perhaps more prompt than from your Managing Director and Mr Ian Close, neither of whom seem to have grasped the gravity of their position.

Delivering contaminated water is a serious matter.

As you have taken this lightly we will see what the health regulators have to say.

Anticipating a prompt reply

Dr Eric Asher

———————————————————————————————————–

Dr Eric Asher Homeopathic Physician

MB BS, FRACGP, FFHom

23/4/09:

Mr/Ms Billy Smith

Managing Director

Powwow Water Company Ltd

4050 Chancelor Court

Oxford Business Park South

Garsington Road

Oxford OX4 2GX

Your ref ******* Faxed to 0845 601 3035

Mr / Ms Billy Smith,

Thank you for your undated letter with superscripts *******.

While an eight weekly service may suit you, it does not for me nor my patients.

As is the inevitable case, the water in the last of four containers delivered was full of algae.

No it was not in the sun, at least not while at our residence.

Leaving eight containers to grow algae seems muddle headed.

PLEASE cancel my account with you immediately.

It has to be admitted: Thames Water never delivers algae contaminated water.

This is more than I can say for Powwow.

Best wishes,

Dr Eric Asher

————————————————————————————————————

Dr Eric Asher Homeopathic Physician

MB BS, FRACGP, FFHom

23/4/09:

Mr Ian Close

Head of Collections

Powwow Water Company Ltd

4050 Chancelor Court

Oxford Business Park South

Garsington Road

Oxford OX4 2GX

Your ref *******

I refer you to my unacknowledged letter addressed to your Managing Director and attached below.

I have received yet another of your letters of demand.

As an act of good faith I paid £300 and this was eventually acknowledged.

Now you seem to want another £202.35.

When someone with responsibility for your enterprise can take the time to read my attached original letter to Billy Smith, kindly contact me by email at ******* or by post at the above address.

Part of the malaise of your firm is this very inability to respond to serious accusations such as mine:.

At least each third delivery has had one or more algae- contaminated bottles.

Each time my wife or I contacted your customer service regarding this, it was collected and in front of our eyes, poured down the street drain.

If my surgery issued contaminated medical samples or products I would expect a visit from several public health departments. I would obviously attempt to ascertain the type of contamination and its source, to avoid repeating the process.

This is not the way Pow Wow operates, to its shame.

I have of course written to your office via your website with a message entitled Formal Complaint.

This was ignored, as was my letter above.

So now I am writing again.

It is normal practice when dealing with a genuine grievance caused by ones company supplying faulty goods or services, to reimburse in full or in part the sum in question.

I propose to pay you an additional £100 as a further sign of my good faith This would close my account as far as I am concerned.

Anticipating the courtesy of your prompt reply,

Your faithfully

Dr Eric Asher

—————————————————————————————————————–

Dr Eric Asher Homeopathic Physician

MB BS, FRACGP, FFHom

19/7/09:

Mr Ian Close

Head of Collections

Powwow Water Company Ltd

4050 Chancelor Court

Oxford Business Park South

Garsington Road

Oxford OX4 2GX

Your ref *******

We are in receipt of the list of items on our account.

Thank you for this.

Unfortunately, you have not sent copies of all the individual invoices.

For example, there is no explanation for the large monthly amount on 11 August 2008 and 11 June 2008 (£75.09 and £55.71 respectively). It is very difficult to work out if these amounts are correct or not when there is no explanation for them.

I refer to my numerous discussions with customer service and letters to your firm, (copy of latest enclosed), the service we received from Nestle Water Pow Pow was less than ideal. We were given many bottles of water which grew a vigorous and exuberant growth of algae (for which we never had a satisfactory explanation) and on far too many occasions no-one turned up with any water delivery at all.

Were these events ever noted in your office? Or were they just ignored?

May I also point out: as a medical practitioner, should accusations of contamination have occurred at ANY clinic I work at, significant and immediate quality control and biohazard assessments would immediately occur and the results then reported both to the complaining customer/ client AND the relevant health authorities in a timely fashion.

As I have written to your company before, I made an official complaint regarding your water quality via your website last year entitled Formal Complaint.

It should not be hard to find.

I find your firm’s failure to repond to such a formal complaint extremely alarming and must assume you are unregulated and thus exempt from the regulations of the Food Standards Agency (http://www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/)

Perhaps you can enlighten us on this. And please send us the invoices for the dates above.

Looking forward to a prompt and helpful response to this letter, this time.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Eric Asher

#50 by Ben at August 19th, 2009

Wow, thanks for that Eric. I have edited a couple of bits to anonymise certain sections (for your sake, not Powwow’s!), I hope you don’t mind.

This is the first I’ve heard of Algae in the water but would seem to be the final nail in the coffin. We all know how bad the service and the machines are, but now the water as well?

Something is rotten!

#51 by Hiding behind the informer at August 19th, 2009

There are obviously a number of problems with Pow Pow. However why dont these ex employees actually tell us their real names and positions when they were with the organisation. They might well be disgruntled staff, staff with a grudge, staff who did not perform well. Of course they may well be ex employees who have lots of knowledge and what they are saying is correct. If they are ex staff, then surely they have nothing to lose by naming themselves and so validating the status of their comments.

]Surley you owe this to the customers who have spend time and effort posting comments on here.

#52 by Ben at August 19th, 2009

People reserve the right to anonymity in order to protect themselves (as you have) – I think in circumstances like this protecting yourself from possible litigation is a smart move.

As such, no-one is required to post a real name or position. I do not see how doing this would “validate” the comments, they could still be disgruntled ex-employees who were fired for legitimate reasons.

That said, you have a point and everyone reading this needs to appreciate that the comments might be false. As with anything you read online, take it with a pinch of salt.

However, the sheer weight of contributions on an otherwise obscure subject should indicate that there is likely to be at least some elements of truth here.

#53 by Hiding behind the informer at August 19th, 2009

Whilst I agree with your comments in relation to the need to protect from litigation – surely if what the ex employees are saying is the truth, they what have they to fear from litigation – it may well enable the whole sorry tale to come into public viewing.

I agree also that the Pow Wow story is alarming and they are obviously in a state of flux. My only comment is that by standing behind an alias, the validity of such comments should be questioned.

#54 by ex emplyee at August 19th, 2009

I also worked for Powwow for many years and I can tell you now that this company has nothing but very bad management at the helm. Robert Kitley and the rest of his people all worked at Eden springs, Eden was in such trouble with their business they tried to sell it. When this went tits up because of the management running that company, Jim ” I’m a little Hitler” Parks took these people on when he bought Powwow to ruin this business. A Jim park has never run a water cooler business before and his “yes” men of Robert, and the other SMT is so embarrassing, the kiss arse way they act round him is degrading to humans. If only the big customers really new what this company was really like!!! Murray White is more of a debt recovery business; all these people are doing is building the company up to sell it on for a quick buck. A quote from Jim Parks ” I don’t give a f*ck who you are, or how long you been here, I will get rid and replace you if you don’t do what I say” He cares as much about his customers as he does his staff. All he wants to know is how much money he has earned in the day, getting ready to sell,,,,,What a great Boss!!! Tosser!!

#55 by ExPowWow Emp at August 19th, 2009

Hi every one!

I use to work for Powwow as well, manage to stick it out for about 3 years and thought, this is sh!t and get out! I was there from Powwow to Nestle and things then, and what I hear now are still the same! Still have a few mates that work there, and trust me, they are having it bad!! I hear on Friday loads of staff (think Sales) all got told to p!ss off, your done here, and the reason for waiting on the phone for ages… well there’s around 5 agents there answering the phone, they got rid of all the temp workers. I feel sorry for the customer service agents, coz it’s not their fault, you do get told, you have a target of 100 calls to take, you take them no matter what! Also, team leaders do not take calls at all, you get to speak to little poor cs agent and thats it, if you want a so called team leader.. well you will have to go on a 2 day call back list, and even then they wont call you bacl.

Also, just heard that staff now only get two 15 minute breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, so no lunch…. next time you speak to a CS agent, make sure you ask them if they would like something to eat?

#56 by Powwoe insider the second at August 19th, 2009

Interesting employment strategy – sack all your staff…guess that means they won’t get that big juicy £230,000 government grant they have applied for under the original name of Lomond Hills Water Company Ltd

http://www.scottishbusinessgrants.gov.uk/rsa/files/RSA%20Jul%20-%20Sept%2008.pdf

#57 by raj at August 19th, 2009

WOW !

The rate of comments being posted is increasing as the days go by in an exponential fashion.

This i find quite incredible as i am quite sure that the problems we are having with this lousy company are unknown to the majority of the public. I doubt if this website has been mentioned in the paper,radio or tv, but it feels like it has especially over the past few days.

Hats off to everyone (except pow wows positive comments) who have took the time and effort to type in their experiences. I am sure even ben is surprised by how this is gathering strength.

Going back to business, i wrote in to cancel my contract about a month ago using recorded delivery and proof of postage methods.

No reply from anyone regarding the termination of the contract even though i sent out the same letter to R kitley, I close , the finance team and murraywhite.

But i have had bill reminders instead and i would like to quote an extract from them which just goes to show how incompetent they are and their computer systems must be running at stone age man speeds (10,000 BC)

Some of you may be familiar with the extract.

” as we are unaware of any disputes in relation to these invoices ….”

What a laugh !

I have repeatedly told powwow of the problems for over 2 years from the bottle delivery team , the man who tries to fix the dying coolers , customer services,the sales team, finance team,the arrogant lot at murraywhite ,( well one of them definetely is )

and of course the ones in the higher positions who i have been unable to get hold of.

I have no trouble with the guys and girls who are on the front line and we can talk to and meet in real life. But these people unfortunately have no power to help us.

Its those cowards who are at the higher posts and of course kitley who can make a difference if they could be bothered.

My instincts tell me that i think powwow is heading to go into administration over next 12/18 months unless they act now and sort out everyones issues on a one to one basis.

By the way , powwow themselves sent out a letter to all customers around early spring of 2009 (after lomond hills/murraywhite takeover)where they ADMIT that they have had poor infrastruture and very low levels of customer service over past few years when it was Nestle.

I suppose they think that everyone has misplaced their copy or just binned it without thinking of the future.

Well I HAVEN’T !!

I am currently in touch with trading standards and that letter is a small piece of evidence.

#58 by POWWANK at August 19th, 2009

Hi All

I think POWWOW may be a little confused. Check out the meaning of POWWOW from Wikipedia.

“A modern pow-wow is a specific type of event where both Native American and non-Native American people meet to dance, sing, socialize, and honor American Indian culture”.

Surely this company should have been called “Cowboy”!

Ben, fella I will say nothing more on this forum / blog but feel free to contact me if required as I now have enough evidence on this companies practices to have an absolute field day!

Also one question to the “Hiding behind the informer”. You are obviously fairly high up within the Murray White Group ranks. If you would be so good to give your idenity I will be happy to give mine. In fact why don’t we all meet to discuss the utter shambles that POWWOW is and then maybe you could listen to your customers and understand what you need to do in order to save the business you acquired that is quite obviously going down the pan.

#59 by POWWANK at August 19th, 2009

And one last congratulations to POWWOW! They have now suceeded in being number one in something………………………………………………………………………….number one on Goggle for “POWWOW problem”. Well done to all involved. I’m sure your parents are very proud.

#60 by ex emplyee at August 20th, 2009

In response to #56. Yes your right, this grant is for Lomand HIlls Ltd, not powwow waters Ltd. Lomand Hills owns many call centres in Scotland, This grant will have nothing to do with Powwow Waters Ltd. In Response to #58. I also have a lot of information about this company that will harm them a great deal if customers such as Corus, BBC, BAA, Liberty Guard would find out. The problem most have at the moment is that a lot of People unlike me are still on “garden Leave”, there fore they have to be careful what they say in case they are found out and loose there redundancy payment,,,,,, ooooo sorry I meant Pay off to keep your mouth closed. !!!!

#61 by MS at August 20th, 2009

The companies for whom I manage AP departments have had trouble with Powwow for some time. I’ve had them credit checked and Dun & Bradstreet have them as being at HIGH risk of failure (2 out of 100) and a 62.27% incidence of delinquency. Not looking good for customers, suppliers or staff. I suggest people look elsewhere for their water supplies, it may not be a good idea to supply them and . Also, expect Murray Whie to hand over to PP Recoveries or Anderson Barclay Litigation Ltd. Guess who’s associated with these companies? Step up James Park, Owner of Powwow and Murray White.

#62 by ex emplyee at August 20th, 2009

lol @ #61. What a surprise. I am sorry I should not laugh. I have also been doing at bit of homework with ref to #56. Jim Parks has sacked over 120 people in his call centres in Scotland. He can then apply for a grant to “boost” the local employment figures” this is how he can apply for the grant. This looks like he is doing good work by employing loads of people. Make your own conclusions

#63 by ex emplyee at August 20th, 2009

Sorry I also forgot to add about a comment before on here. Because Lomand Hills specialises in debt recovery, after all that’s what this firm does, they CAN affect your credit rating. They will send you demand letters asking for money, (acting as the debt recovery firm) that you probably don’t owe, then when you refuse to pay or don’t pay, they can list you as a bad debt on the national credit rating data base. This will the obviously affect your credit rating for the future!!!

#64 by Powwoe insider the second at August 20th, 2009

I wouldnt get too excited about pp recoveries and anderson barlcay those “companies” are incorporated as Ltd companies but simple exist as a letterhead in a murray white printer tray!!!

Lomond hills does not specialise in debt recovery, in fact the name lomond hills doesnt exist any more as you will see on companies house website

http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/76fb08335523519c826817c73a3852e2/compdetails

Lomond hills aquired the assets of “Nestle Powwow”, then changed its name to Powwow Water Company and dumped its debts through a separate company Murray White and Co. There is no “Murray White Group” the companies are all separate legal entities with the common link of Jim Park as the owner.

He makes for an interesting read on companies house as a director, over 20 disolved companies. There is also another company out there Futureview technologies, this is the call centre company, but the offices in alva and wick apparently shut down. This company also created the “Interactive Doesnt Actually Work Operator” which is on the murray white and powwow websites.

The more you read the bizarrer it gets……

#65 by Susan Cowell at August 20th, 2009

Possibly the worst company I have ever had to have dealings with.

I have tried to contact POWWOW for the past 4 years! Despite numerous essays, emails, recorded delivery post in fact the lot, I have never had a single response.

All I have had is invoices that do not belong to our company adding up to thousands, then recovery proceedings against us through the rubbish collections agency Murray White. Also administration charges to us for the late payments that we don’t even owe!!!!

So I have decided to email them daily to P*** them off and also to send POWWOW invoices for administration fees from my company because I have spent time, postage, paper, phone calls and effort.

I think we should all send them an invoice for £100 and keep chasing it up. Then start adding interest and lets see how we get on!!!….

#66 by Powwoe insider the second at August 20th, 2009

Murray White had a liquidation order against it on 09/02/09 but seemingly managed to get out of it:

http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/a6eb368e7ab4d019243a3a3ce4c70fe8/insolvency

#67 by hiding behind the informer at August 20th, 2009

Looks like Powwoe insider the second as quite an insight into MW/PW. Does seem like a disgruntled employee. If this person has so much info, then why dont he/she go to the appropriate authorities, or is this just a way of self gratification.

#68 by hiding behind the informer at August 20th, 2009

you might all be interested in this

http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/01259452700

#69 by Justice at August 20th, 2009

Anyone searching companies house can find mr parks’ address. watchdog are unlikely to take this on as it doesn’t affect consumers, and doesn’t make for ‘good tv’. maybe they’ll surprise me and doorstop the conniving weasel.

#70 by Which one is the clown at August 20th, 2009

Pre-Powwow :

http://www.alloaadvertiser.com/articles/1/26064/

http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/477/Call_centre_‘climate_of_fear’_claim.html

#71 by N Blake at August 21st, 2009

# Numerous – Powwow have not responded to one of my letters – NOT ONE! It is also virtually impossible to get through on the phone – and no one ever calls back – EVER!

I HAVE SERIOUSLY GIVEN UP WITH THIS COMPANY!

#48 – Bully Boy tactics – not just for you employees but also for us ex/customers. The threatening letters for non payment of bills we don’t owe money for is bang-out-of-order – it should not be allowed.

As they say at school – stand up to the bullies. I will not tolerate this manner from anyone!

#49 – I also noted on a few occasions that water delivered to me had algae. When the driver came around (which was not very often) I showed him – and he also just poured it down the drain!

I also used to work in an office off of Harley Street – this company also had problems with Powwow. Sanitisation was very infrequent – eventually the water cooler started to smell of piss.

#72 by Ben at August 21st, 2009

Was just Googling Powwow to check out if any other posts exist like this one – there is the occasional thing but nothing this big. Then I came across something else hilarious…

Powwow’s “Secure Payment” website has actually been blacklisted by Google as a malicious website. If you click on the link to the site from a Google search you will end up at this page:

http://www.google.co.uk/interstitial?url=https://www.ssl-secure-servers.com/powwow_ebilling/

And if you read the diagnostic, it doesn’t make for pretty reading:

http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=https://www.ssl-secure-servers.com/powwow_ebilling/&hl=en

Hilarious. Maybe next time you get a phone call asking you to pay you can point them in the direction of Google…

#73 by ExPowWow Emp at August 21st, 2009

I’ll never forget when a customer told me this:

“Do you know what Powwow stands for?”

P – Pissed

O – Off

W – Waiting

W – Where’s

O – Our

W – Water

#74 by raj at August 21st, 2009

It would be fantastic if everyone within powwow EXCEPT those at the very top found new jobs, better jobs;with more money and less stress.

That leaves R kitley, I close and the other few within the high ranks (inc Murraywhite bosses)to deliver the water, service/sanitise/replace coolers,answer the phone,manage the paperwork etc………

They will shit in their pants just by thinking about this let alone do it.

#75 by POWWANK at August 22nd, 2009

I can ensure You Raj POWWOW will not exist by the end of October. Think they may have a few surprises coming their way!

As a final aside, The Water Delivery Company received this email from a potential customer – we think it speaks volumes

Hello all, i am quite sure that alot of people/companies want to switch from useless powwow to another water cooler company. (myself included) Even though a huge amount of customers have cancelled contracts with pathetic powwow; (myself included) some of us are hesitant to become clients of other water cooler companies as we have been messed around to such a deep level that we have lost faith in this industry. Some of us are delaying calling other companies as the waiting game continues with powwow. We can’t do much until their ancient coolers have been collected and know where we stand with court /litigation issues.

I will get in touch with you again for possible/potential customer once powwow have bothered to tidy up the massive tangle on my account and taken away their crap cooler.

Hello all, i am quite sure that alot of people/companies want to switch from useless powwow to another water cooler company. (myself included) Even though a huge amount of customers have cancelled contracts with pathetic powwow; (myself included) some of us are hesitant to become clients of other water cooler companies as we have been messed around to such a deep level that we have lost faith in this industry. Some of us are delaying calling other companies as the waiting game continues with powwow. We can’t do much until their ancient coolers have been collected and know where we stand with court /litigation issues.
I will get in touch with you again for possible/potential customer once powwow have bothered to tidy up the massive tangle on my account and taken away their crap cooler.
The Water Delivery Company