Smeg Good morning, Smeg brochure line, how may I help you?
Mktg I keep seeing your Smeg fridges, particularly the Union Jack one, in magazines, and want to know how much they are and where I can get one from.
Smeg I can't give you a price. The only thing I can tell you is the stockists in your area.
Mktg Can you give me a price scale?
Smeg I don't know. Can you hold please? (Mktg holds.) Hello, sorry to keep you waiting. We are not actually Smeg, so I can't give you a guideline.
Mktg Who have I called then? I dialled the Smeg customer relations number.
Smeg We work on behalf of them, sending out their brochures.
Mktg What number do I call to speak to Smeg themselves?
Smeg Redial this number and press option four. (Mktg rings back and holds for four minutes.)
Mktg I keep seeing pictures of your fridges, especially the Union Jack one, and I want to know how much they are and where I can buy one?
Smeg I'll put you through to our brochure line and they can tell you the retailers in your area.
Mktg I just spoke to them and they said that they couldn't tell me exactly where I can get the Union Jack one or any prices and that I'd have to speak to you to get more details.
Smeg They're wrong. We don't sell directly to the public. The Union Jack one is special order, so your nearest retailer may or may not have one in stock. The retailer can give you a price.
Mktg Can you give me a rough idea of the cost?
Smeg No - it's against the competition laws.
Mktg How can I go about ordering a Union Jack fridge?
Smeg The retailers can do it.
Mktg I saw that you also do a dishwasher in a similar style and colours to the fridges and was wondering whether there any other retro kitchen appliances in the range.
Smeg I believe there are washing machines on the horizon. We have pink and cream at the moment.
Mktg OK, thanks for your help.
Smeg You're very welcome.
Both call-handlers were extremely polite and keen to help. Although the brochure-line representative misinformed me that customer relations could give me prices, the second call-handler explained why they couldn't, due to the EU's competition policy, and gave the relevant product information.
Perhaps Smeg should have a separate number for brochures and customer service to avoid future confusion.