Hotpoint apologises after delivery driver held in Norfolk ‘hostage’ drama
09:03 25 November 2010
Archant Â© 2010
An angry pensioner who held a delivery driver “hostage” in a dispute over a faulty cooker has received an apology from the company at the centre of the row.
And Ivan Langley, 72, said he had lost count of the number of goodwill messages he had received after the story broke in yesterday’s Evening News.
Mr Langley had been so incensed with the treatment he received from Hotpoint that he locked driver Anna Hawes in his bungalow, saying he would not release her until the manufacturer provided him with a new, fault-free cooker.
And now the company has agreed to do just that, saying that while it could not condone Mr Langley’s actions, it recognised it had let its standards of service slip.
The surreal drama was played out in Blundeville Manor, a cul-de-sac in Newton Flotman, near Norwich, where Mr Langley lives with his wife Sally, also 72.
Mr Langley, who is registered disabled, was angry after a second replacement cooker, delivered to his home after his original “blew up”, was found to be dented.
Mr Langley, a great-grandfather of one, told Miss Hawes, 34, he was taking her hostage and would not let her go until he received a new cooker.
An Evening News reporter and photographer were allowed into the house during the bizarre two-hour stand-off on Tuesday,
during which a cheerful Miss Hawes drank coffee and enjoyed a laugh with her captor. The incident only ended after a police officer arrived and helped to broker her “release”.
A spokesman for Hotpoint’s parent company Indesit said in a statement: “We understand that this customer had a problem with a previous delivery which wasn’t delivered direct by the manufacturer and that a small dent was found at the back on the new cooker that was delivered.
“We apologised for this to the customer and committed to supplying him with a new cooker as soon as possible whilst leaving him a fully working cooker in the meantime.
“Whilst we understand the frustration of the customer, the welfare and security of our staff is of paramount importance to the company and we do not condone people taking the law into their own hands. However, no further action will be taken.
“We have left the customer with a fully-functional cooker and will be replacing this with an undamaged new model in the next few days.
“At Indesit Company we pride ourselves on our customer service. We deliver 450,000 appliances to UK homes each year, successful deliveries attributed to Indesit stand at over 99.5 per cent and our customer complaints are well below the industry average.
“However, we recognise on this occasion that our standards fell short and we are sorry. It is now our priority to put it right.”
Mr Langley said: “I’ve had lots of comments in the Co-op and at the garage in Long Stratton, and the phone has hardly stopped ringing. People have been having a laugh and saying ‘Well done’.
“It was all quite funny and Anna the driver was a good sport, but there is a serious point to it. I’ve taken on a big company and shown I’m not going to be walked over. I’ve worked hard for my money and I look after my pension. You’ve got to stand up for your rights.
“It’s worked out quite well. There was no harm done. I suppose it could have ended up with me down the local nick, but the policeman that came was sensible and not bolshie or a smart-alec.”
And Mr Langley said that in reality, Miss Hawes could have left at any time. “The back door was open. I wouldn’t have stopped her – I’m not a violent sort of bloke,” he said.