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Poundland row goes viral putting Welshpool on the map

Created on 01/06/2018 @ 08:09
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A Twitter row involving a Poundland store and a rail company has gone viral putting Welshpool in the spotlight..

Staff at the store’s Welshpool branch have become the unlikely subject of the row, which could even end up with legal action being taken.

Poundland has threatened to sue Thameslink after the train firm compared its poor service to the shop’s cooking chocolate.

And it defended the record of its customer service, using the efforts of staff in Welshpool during recent floods as an example.

Thameslink has since backtracked, saying it was “very sorry” for making the comment in response to a disgruntled passenger. The operator has suffered major disruption following the introduction of a new timetable on May 20.

A passenger named Kevin tweeted an image of a departures board showing cancellations trains with a sarcastic caption which read: “Why, Ambassador @TLRailUK, with this fine service you are really spoiling us.”

Thameslink replied: “Very sorry Kevin. Appreciate at the moment the service is less Ferrero Rocher and more Poundland cooking chocolate.”

The comment may have been flippant, but it infuriated bosses at the West Midland-based retail chain.

The store’s retail director Austin Cooke hit back in a scathing response by releasing an open letter to chief executive Charles Horton, and within it his reply heaped praise on staff in their Welshpool store.

Over the weekend Welshpool was hit by flash flooding and staff at the Berriew Street store stood in the entrance to help customers with their shopping, and managed to keep the store open.

In his full blooded response, Mr Cooke insisted that the commitment of the Welshpool staff showed good customer service and that train company had no right to use Poundland’s name to describe poor service.

He also threatened Mr Horton with legal action if the tweet was not removed.

In a statement he said: “Frankly you have no right to use our name to describe poor service.

“We served eight million shoppers last week and didn’t have to close any store because of leaves on the roof the wrong kind of rain, or a shortage of managers.

“In fact our Welshpool store flood and our store colleagues stood at the entrance to help customers get their shopping, so we stayed open.

“We think we have a pretty great idea of what good customer service is compared to most rail companies.”

The dispute seemed to be resolved when Thameslink deleted its original message and put out another tweet which read: “Very sorry team for using your name here. I have removed the offending tweet.”

The train company has been plagued with cancellations after changes to the rail timetable, and the fallout led to transport secretary Chris Grayling claiming the rail industry had ‘failed the passengers it serves.’

He said the way Network Rail devises timetables is unacceptable, prompting chief executive Mark Carne to apologise for not delivering services passengers expect.

He added: “We always said that delivering the biggest timetable change in generations would be challenging - but we are sorry that we have not been able to deliver the service that passengers expect.”

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