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Saturday, October 29, 2022

Loulé, Faro, Portugal: Leroy Merlin - Total Incompetence and Lack of Customer Service ... Astoundingly Horrific Management!

Leroy Merlin Loulé
Av. Algarve 2, 8100-299 Loulé, Portugal
+351 289 151 700
Prices: €€€€
Wow, 96% of Leroy Merlin's reviews on TrustPilot are poor or worse and only 3% are above average! I wonder why?

That is because they could care less about customers, they treat customers in the store like garbage, like I was today, and their online/email/phone customer service, if you can call it that - it's more like customer disservice - does not even bother returning calls or emails.

I bought two, very expensive five-meter awnings and paid for them, installation, and delivery at Leroy Merlin - Loulé in early April 2022. I was told at the store when I paid for the awnings and installation that the awnings would be delivered on 19/05/2022, that their installer would be at my home when they arrived, and that they would be delivered to our 4th floor apartment terrace with 'no problem'.
I received an email a few days before the scheduled delivery date of 19/05/2022, telling me that the awnings would actually be delivered on 18/05/2022. I didn't have a problem with them arriving on 18/05/2022, but I wanted to verify with the installer that he would be here on the 18th when the awnings arrived, so I contacted him to find out what was going on and he said:

'We are an independent company and only provide the installation. The product delivery and conditions were with Leroy Merlin. Be aware because this kind of problems with the delivery happens very often'. 

'When you make the order, you told them that it is the 4th floor? I think it is better to call them tomorrow to ask if the value that you payed includes the delivery in the apartment ... We only make the installation and be sure that the client get the right choice for his needs. We don’t have access to delivery info or how they do it.'
 
‘Yes, of course I told the store’ I told the installer, not only having asked Manuel, the Leroy Merlin sales representative, if there would be a problem delivering two 5 meter awnings to the 4th floor, and he told me that they would, but our delivery address clearly indicates that we live on the 4th floor: Rua Xxx Xxxxx, 4 Dto 8700 Olhão.
 Why was the installer, whom Leroy Merlin coordinated the installation with and whom I paid for in their store, telling me that he has no involvement in coordinating this and that I have to contact Leroy Merlin to coordinate it myself? This was ridiculous and someone needed to sort it out, soon.
 
I was told when I purchased the awnings that they were a special order and could not be returned, so I verified with the installer beforehand, paying €29 for him to come to our home and provide an estimate in order to ensure they could be installed on our 4th floor terrace. He said they could and I assumed that because he was the Leroy Merlin installer, Leroy Merlin and he would do their due diligence and coordinate the delivery and installation. It seems obvious that did not happen.
 
The installer originally told me the €780 installation would take 2-3 days, justifying the ridiculous labor charges when I asked why the bid was so high. Then, he has cancelled on the 19th as originally scheduled, because he said he was working another job, and would come on the 20th instead, telling me ‘it is only going to take one day’, not 2-3 as I was originally told when I asked him why the price of installation was so high. 

A €100 per hour for labor charge is in unprecedented in Portugal, having paid three men far less than that for 2.5 days of labor when we renovated our apartment last year. It appears to me that I was charged non-Portuguese prices because I highly doubt that a Portuguese customer would pay anything near €780 for one day's labor. The math is very easy, having paid almost 63% less than I paid for this installation when I renovated our apartment. Leroy Merlin shouldn't take advantage of expat customers like they do.
 
I believe that when Leroy Merlin arranges installation and I pay Leroy Merlin for the installation, Leroy Merlin and the installer should communicate directly and handle any issues such as this, not the customer. Every time I asked him a question, he told me to 'talk to Leroy Merlin, it's not my job'. Unsatisfactory!
 
I called the number, 289 151 700, on the morning of 17/05/2022 as instructed in the SMS I received and pressed '1' for English, but the lady did not speak English. She took my number and told me someone who spoke English would call me back, but that never happened. 

On a happier note, Rita and the store manager were extremely helpful on 17/05/2022 when I had to make a special trip to Loulé to ensure the delivery would arrive and be delivered to our 4th floor terrace because Leroy Merlin employees do not speak English, would not return my calls, nor would they answer my emails. The manager and Rita told me that the awnings would have been dumped on the street if I had not checked and Rita was a lifesaver, jumping into action and arranging for a crane to accompany my order the next day so the 5 meter awnings could be delivered to our terrace, not on the street below.
 
I was supposed to get a message on the morning of the delivery day, 18/05/2022, telling me when the delivery would arrive, but I received nothing. Their website said 'delivery failed" as of 0914 that morning, but I called all day long, seven times, and couldn't talk to someone who spoke English until, finally, at 1534, I spoke to a man who said that the ‘delivery hasn't failed, it's on a truck now’. He couldn't give me any more information than that, so I asked him to have the Loulé store manager call me, but that didn't happened either. 

I waited all day and the delivery never arrived! I finally left home at 1845 for an engagement that couldn't be canceled, so I asked the installer to contact the store and find out what was going on. The whole fiasco was an absolute disaster from the start and Leroy Merlin should be ashamed of themselves for what I had been put through. I did my due diligence, but Leroy Merlin did not perform theirs, eventually wasting a great deal of my time and two extra wasted trips from Olhão to Loulé to solve the problems that they caused.
 
When I returned to the store, for the second time, on 19/05/2022 to solve the issue of my delivery not arriving, a female calling herself ‘manager’ and a female, supposedly in charge of delivery/logistics, by the name of Maria Biato were both rude, condescending, and insulting me because I couldn't speak Portuguese (along with many of their other customers). 

Their behavior was appalling. I know that we are in Portugal and should speak Portuguese when possible, I’m trying, but many expats have told me about how difficult it is for non-Portuguese speakers to navigate their website and deal with their employees. Expats would probably spend a lot more money at Leroy Merlin if they made it easier for us non-Portuguese language speakers.
 
The awnings were finally delivered on 24/05/2022, nearly a week late!
 Carlos, the installer, finally arrived on the morning of 25/05/2022 and told me we ‘have too many things on the terrace’, even though they were the same exact things that were there when he came to do the quote. They moved some things around and damaged them, scratching or denting a few objects and left many heavy objects for me to move back where they belonged when they left and I am a disabled combat veteran. 

The job only took about 8 hours, not 2-3 days as Carlos had originally told me, at a rate of €100 per hour, an unprecedented labor rate in Portugal. Some things were damaged and heavy plants were not put back. I was taken advantage of, paying €780 for an 8 hour job, €100/hour. If I were Portuguese, I would have paid 1/2 that because I know how much labor rates are. One of the remote controls also doesn't work properly and the awnings are unstable, even with just a 15 kph wind.
 
I will never shop at Leroy Merlin again after these experiences and they should be ashamed, not only for how I was treated by Maria Biato and the manager on 19/05/2022, but for the amount I was charged for labor on the installation.

The Main HQ in France needs to know how these people treat their customers as I can guarantee you that French or German customers would never allow being treated the way I was and as many other Leroy Merlin (Portugal) customers obviously have been treated based on the reviews I have seen here.

I contacted them through their Facebook page via message early on in this process and was promised that they were 'looking into it', 'following this complaint', and 'will be in touch' with me, but they have done absolutely nothing in the past six months. Here is their most recent response:

Good afternoon. We know that your case has been followed internally through the "Portal da Queixa". Since you have not reached any agreement with the store, the resolution of the case will follow the judicial route, and LEROY MERLIN is awaiting legal contact from your lawyer. 
          
Thank you

Leroy Merlin undoubtedly has core values and key metrics which leadership are briefed on regularly, so they must be aware of the massive problem with LeroyMerlin.pt. Their TrustPilot rating is an abysmal 1.3 / 5 stars with 91% of the 197 reviews being rated 1 / 5 stars. Surely, they must be aware of this data:

  

I am not paying a lawyer to deal with Leroy Merlin! I have stopped purchasing at Leroy Merlin because of the way I have been treated. 

I do not spend my hard earned money at businesses that have no respect for customers and zero integrity. They have lost this customer and from what I can see on TrustPilot and other websites, Leroy Merlin has a massive problem in the way it treats its customers and the kind of service they provide. 

Leroy Merlin, like many Portuguese businesses obviously do not understand customer service and are oblivious to core values such as honor, integrity, and treating people with dignity and respect. They have likely already lost thousands of customers and will lose untold numbers in the future. 

I contacted Thomas Bouret Nouhin, Leroy Merlin Managing Director, personally via Facebook Messenger as I am sure he is unaware of the appalling way I have been treated and the extremely negative perception of his Portuguese operations. I have not heard back from him yet. 

In my opinion, customer service is a foreign concept to Portuguese businesses and, based on my experience, professional business acumen is equally as bad. Companies who treat customers like Leroy Merlin does in Portugal would not last a month in the USA, their doors would shut because American customers expect to be treated with dignity and respect as well as receiving outstanding customer service.

Get a clue Leroy Merlin, fire all of your Portuguese management team and train their employees on how a business as big as this must be run!

CombatCritic Gives Leroy Merlin Loulé 0 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My 'WALL OF SHAME' ... More Bombs Are Better!
Zero Bombs Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20/'21/'22 
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Da uma olhadela à avaliação de Leroy Merlin escrita por Chris S. no Yelp

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"


Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Loulé, Faro, Portugal: Leroy Merlin - Total Incompetence and Lack of Customer Service ... Astounding!

Key Words: Leroy Merlin, Leroy, Merlin, Loulé, Faro, Portugal, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, business, review, Yelp, TrustPilot, Google, Facebook, incompetence, customer, service

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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Alvor (Algarve) Portugal: Pizza, Pasta, Meat, Fish, Or Salad, You Cannot Go Wrong At Pizzeria & Trattoria Napoli

Pizzeria & Trattoria Napoli
EM531 1 5a 
8500-013 
Alvor Portugal
Phone: 937 696 093
Prices: €€€€
Our doggy has cancer, so he needs a CT scan in Portimáo every 3 months, so we stop by Pizzeria & Trattoria Napoli for lunch while he has the procedure and wakes up.

I found out that their 'winter' hours (likely October through April) are different from my last visit in August, so we had to wait an hour until 12pm when they now open for lunch. No biggy!
I brought my wife this time as she recently returned from Napoli, the city in Italy, where she has been taking care of her mom. Gianluca greeted us once again and the two of them chatted in Italian about Napoli, his hometown, while I sat there and picked up some of the conversation ... Italians talk too fast for me to catch everything.
As it was one of the rare warm, sunny days in the Algarve, NOT, we sat on the patio. The service was fast and friendly and the food, once again, delicioso ... Mama Mia ... HOOAH!
I knew how big the portions were, so we did not go nuts with the antipasti, ordering one Bruschetta (€5) and sharing the four pieces, one with tomato, two with marinated, grilled melanzane (eggplant), and the other with melted gorgonzola and parmigiano. Very nice.
My wife had the Fettuccine (€14) in a gorgonzola and rucola pesto with pancetta, mushrooms, onion, and walnuts. It was superb!
It is not easy finding weal dishes anymore, so I got the Veal Parmigiano (€11) with a side of spaghetti tossed with their wonderful ragù instead of the chips (aka fries) and side salad, which was huge. The large cutlet was coated with breadcrumbs and perfectly fried, then topped with ragù, grated parmigiano, and fresh mozzarella (upon my request) before being baked until melted. I was in heaven.

One of the great things about Napoli, beside the excellent food and fair prices, is the fact that they are very willing to work with you on substitutions. My wife hates tomatoes - yes, she was born in Sicily and grew up in Naples - so they altered the normal bruschetta toppings. The veal parmigiana comes topped with parmigiano, not mozzarella as I became accustomed to in the US, but Gianluca did not flinch when I asked him if could add it and did not even charge extra.

Gianluca's dad came out after our meal and reminded me about my promise to bring him some Antico Toscano cigars, made famous by Clint Eastwood in his 'spaghetti' westerns like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, which were actually filmed in Italy. I promised to bring some cigars from Ayamonte, Spain (much closer to where we live than Alvor) where I buy my Toscano cigars and much cheaper than in Portugal, but I forgot ... OOPS! I will try to remember next time.

In a nutshell, excellent, authentic food at very reasonable prices with great, friendly service, that's amore, I mean Pizzeria & Trattoria Napoli ... OOH-RAH!

CombatCritic Gives Pizzeria & Trattoria Napoli A Very Rare 10 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My 'WALL OF FAME' ... More Bombs Are Better!

Ten Bombs Equates To:


Translation for Civilians: 

HOOAH!: "Phonetic spelling of the acronym HUA, which stands for 'Heard Understood Acknowledged.' Originally used by the British in the late 1800's in Afghanistan. More recently adopted by the United States Army to indicate an affirmative or a pleased response." - Urban Dictionary

"The Department of Military Science and Leadership, University of Tennessee claim HOOAH 'refers to or means anything except no' ... Regardless of its meaning ... the term is an expression of high morale, confidence, motivation and spirit." - WarChronicle.com

"The U.S. Air Force stole 'HOOAH' from the Army because we were part of the Army until 1947 and rather than waste a bunch of time coming up with something new and unique like "ROO-YAH" or "HAL-A-LOO-YAH", we said 'screw it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH!" - CombatCritic
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Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20/'21/'22 
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Pizzeria & Trattoria Napoli on Yelp

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"


Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Alvor (Algarve) Portugal: Pizza, Pasta, Meat, Fish, Or Salad, You Cannot Go Wrong At Pizzeria & Trattoria Napoli

Key Words: 
Alvor, Algarve, Faro, Portugal, pizza, pasta, pizzeria, trattoria Napoli, Naples, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

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Monday, October 24, 2022

Naples, Italy: Now I Know Why Caravaggio Went Nuts Here

Locanda del Cerriglio
Via del Cerriglio 3
80134 Naples, Italy
Centro Storico
Phone number +39 081 5526406
Prices: €€€ 
In a historic building, dating back to at least 1610 when it was an inn and where the famous, controversial, and reportedly crazy artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was reportedly stabbed, you will find Locanda del Cerriglio. It was recommended by a friend and turned out to be a decent find, but with just a few major flaws.



We started with two orders of the Cuoppo di Fritturina Napoltana (€8 each - deep fried crocchè, arancini and zeppoline) to give our friends a taste of these deep-fried Neapolitan specialties. The total of four crocchè (potato dumplings), four arancini (rice balls), and 8-10 zeppoline (dough balls containing algae) came to €16 ($18.30) for an order that would cost 1/4 of that (between €4 and €5) at almost any respectable pizzeria Napolitana.
For our main courses, I had the Puparuolo 'mButtunato (€9/$10.30), eggplant stuffed with pepperoni (sauteed bell peppers) and mozzarella, dipped in egg and coated with breadcrumbs, then fried to a golden brown. I have never had it before and it was quite good. My wife got the Provola Affumicata (€8/$9.15 - baked smoked provola cheese) and my old high school buddy had the Pesce Spada alla Griglia con Insalata (€14/$16 - grilled swordfish with side salad) both of which they seemed to enjoy although there was an unappealing puddle of water at the bottom of my wife's baked bowl of provola when she was done. 
My buddy's wife and dear friend, who is gluten intolerant, ordered the 'O Scarpariello (€8/$9.15 - made with gluten-free pasta and cherry tomatoes, peperoncini, parmigiano and pecorino cheeses, and basil). The sauce was OK, but the pasta was not "al dente", it was more like "broken dente". It was well undercooked and closer to raw then the proper texture - quite firm and chewy - not even close. Apparently, gluten-free pasta takes longer to cook as our friend then told us, but any chef worth his or her salt, especially in Italy, knows how to properly cook and taste pasta to ensure it has the proper consistency. This one obviously did not. We mentioned it to the server and then the owner who came over, but all they offered was to cook her a fresh "1/2 portion" of pasta (because we all had tasted it to see how bad it really was), but by that point the rest of us were almost done with our main courses and she refused. She left 3/4 of the pasta untouched as they removed it from the table. Any self-respecting restaurant would have taken it off the bill, offered her a free dessert or maybe an after dinner limoncello, but, to my surprise, none of those things happened - no "mi dispiace" (I'm sorry), nothing!
The tall server/host, who was quite full of himself as he pranced around the room, then brought us the check in a small wooden treasure chest, an interesting novelty, but then told us "take it to the front and tell them table #12". Very odd that a restaurant in Italy of this caliber would make you go to the bar to pay, but I guess that is the way they do it here. Unimpressive, especially his hoity-toity attitude. What an ass.

Had the pasta been properly cooked or had they reacted more professionally for their grievous mistake, I might have given them a decent 6 Bombs Out Of 10 (3 stars - an average rating for average food at slightly above average prices), but because they do not know how to properly cook pasta and do not have the business acumen to make up for a massive mistake such as that ...

CombatCritic Gives Locanda del Cerriglio 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Four Bombs Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20/'21/'22 
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Locanda del Cerriglio on Yelp

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"


Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Naples, Italy: Now I Know Why Caravaggio Went Nuts Here

Key Words: Naples, Napoli, Italia, Italy, Caravaggio, pasta, 
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