Retailer hires extra staff to deal with backlog

Online retailer Schoolbooks.ie has hired extra staff and opened its warehouse around the clock to ensure all deliveries are dispatched in time for pupils starting the new term.

The managing director of the under-fire distribution company, John Cunningham, blamed delays on technical problems at its warehouse.

He said additional staff were brought in to help clear the backlog and it expected this to happen by Friday.

He promised the issues would not leave people short ahead of the start of term.

“We have processed and delivered 50,000 school book orders to customers to date and we currently have a backlog of 5,000 orders,” Mr Cunningham said.

“Half of these will be dispatched by Tuesday and we will have the remaining orders issued to customers by the end of the week. Again, we will ensure that no one is left without their school book order.”

The company originally had 50 staff working on processing orders. However, in a bid to rectify its difficulties 30 additional workers have been brought in.

Mr Cunningham said the warehouse will operate 24 hours a day until all orders are dispatched.

“No families will be left without schoolbooks for the start of the school term,” he said.

Schoolbooks.ie has been criticised for its failure to keep customers up to date on its difficulties.

Mr Cunningham accepted this had been a problem and it was working to make amends.

“I am aware that our communication with customers over the past numbers of weeks has been far from satisfactory, but our focus has been on clearing the backlog,” he said.

“Over the past 48 hours all affected customers have been emailed to advise them when their order will be dispatched over the coming week.”

On Friday, Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor hit out at Schoolbooks.ie for accepting large amounts of money from parents but failing to deliver the books on time.

She highlighted cases of parents who had ordered from the online store but had struggled to find out when their children’s books would be delivered.

Ms Mitchell O’Connor said her own efforts to contact the company on Friday were frustrated by phones ringing out and an inability to speak with a representative directly.

She said a simple answering machine message informing customers of the circumstances would have alleviates a lot of the concern.

“Simply ignoring parents, forcing them to travel out to the business premises, and collect their purchases from an online provider is completely unacceptable and absolutely farcical,” she said.


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