Halfords website does not work

After much deliberation I decided it was high time I replaced the car stereo in my car. It hasn’t worked since the car was stolen some years ago and the engine was replaced, tripping the security code for the BMW radio, which I do not have.

I’ve been without music in my car ever since. So, I felt now was the time to buy a CD player with MP3 player functionality. I thought I’d use Halfords as they offer store fitting, and they’re fairly cheap. I didn’t want anything fancy, just something to play music – surely their site would see my right.

You’d have thought.

I chose a CD player very quickly, went through their system to see if it worked in my car and found I needed an adapter harness. No problem, thought I might. I added the items to the cart, went through to the payment screen and entered my card details, which failed…

There is of course nothing wrong with my card, so I tried again. This time I received an unfathomable error message:

CMN3101E The system is unavailable due to “CMN0412E”

Well useful. I tried again and received the same message.

I gave up – but after checking my phone realised I had received two confirmation text messages of the order, but no email confirmation. It looks as though I’ve ordered two, somehow. I emailed Halfords the following message:

I am trying to place an order on your website but I keep getting the following message:

CMN3101E The system is unavailable due to “CMN0412E”.

However, upon checking my phone I have now had TWO confirmation texts – but no emails. Has my order been received? The ref number in the text is #12131662 and the order value is £105.41 for a car CD player, adapter and store fitting in Cheadle.

I then get a standard response saying they’re having problems, blaming their IT department, and saying that the website would be working again by Thursday evening. They added that the order had not been received. So I replied, somewhat cheekily:

So – does this mean I still cannot order from your site? Do you recommend a competitor I could use?

They came back later today saying their site is working now and I can try again. OK, let’s have a go I thought. I did, my third attempt to order, and instead of processing the order with the 5% online discount I should have received two days ago, it went through to ‘collect and pay in store’, before displaying the following, really helpful error:

Generic Error

The store is currently experiencing problems. Try again later.

Try clicking here to return to the page you came from.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

As I’ve been entering my credit card details into this pigsty of a website I’m a little concerned to say the least. When you run an ecommerce website it’s imperative that your website instils trust in the customer. Halfords website does not, it just doesn’t work.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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