Comet: I’ve Lost My Keys!

This is probably the cleverest complaint we have ever seen. This exchange with electrical retailer Comet dates back to 2010 when Mike Dean experienced some difficulty with the keyboard of the Sony Vaio laptop computer they had sold him.

Rather inconveniently, the keys were prone to falling off – which made it rather difficult to write a letter of complaint!

Because of all the gaps, you may need to concentrate when you’re reading this but do persevere, because it gets funnier the further you go….

Th   Manag r
Com t
Unit 1 Tritton R tail Park
Tritton Road
Lincoln LN6 7AN

D ar Cu tom r R lation ,

I am writing with r f r nc  to a  ony Vaio laptop comput r which I purcha  d from your  tor  in Nov mb r 2007.  R c ntly two of th k y   b cam   d tach d from th k yboard and hav  d f at d all att mpt  at r patriation.  Unfortunat ly th rrant k y , b ing th  l tt r aft r D, and th  l tt r aft r R in th  alphab t, ar  rath r critical charact r   in th   ngli h languag , and th m b ing  mi  ing in action t nd  to mak   l tt r writing a not  ntir ly   ati factory   xp ri nc  .

I rang th  Com t Cu tom r Car  numb r to  nquir  about a r pair and wa  told that a my comput r wa   now out of warranty, I would hav   to pay £60  xamination f     for a fault diagno i , and th n an additional charg   for any part   and labour to r pair.   I r adily acc pt that my comput r i   out id  of th   12 month warranty, but f   l that a lightly-u  d laptop   hould c  tainly la t four or fiv   y ar ,   p cially a pr mium pric   product  uch a   a   ony Vaio, and I don’t think my laptop i   of   ati factory quality a    d fin d in th   OGA.

Having mad  my own   nquiri   about k yboard r plac m nt , I’m told that thi   i   a r a onably straightforward r pair and I am writing to r qu t that Com t p rform that r pair a a matt r of goodwill, or off r a   uitabl  r duction in th   pric of a n w mod l.  Alt nativ ly,  you might off r a di count off th   pric of   om  tran lation   oftwar   in a languag   which do  ‘nt plac    uch a h avy r lianc   on th   l tt r  ‘ ‘ and ‘ ‘.

Int r  tingly, th   Oxford   ngli h Dictionary   ugg t   that th   long  t   ngli h word that do n’t contain   ith r mi ing charact r  i   ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’, which ironically r f r   to   om thing a  ‘without worth’ – a p rf ct d cription of a laptop that’   mi ing a coupl   of k y .

Kind r gard ,

Mik   D an.

There was no response from Comet.  Perhaps they were too dim to fill in the gaps.  Anyway, Mike had another go:

20th D c mb r 2010

Th Manag r
Com t
Unit 1 Tritton R tail Park
Tritton Road
Lincoln LN6 7AN

D ar Mr Ward,

Pl as  find  nclo  d a    cond copy of th   l tt r that I d liv r d by hand la t w   k to th  cu tom r   rvic  d  k at your   tor , but which for  om  unfathomabl   r a on didn’t app ar to mak   it a   far a   you, de pit   having “Th   Manag r” in larg    l tt r   on th  front.  You’ll hop fully und r tand th   fru tration cau   d by taking th    ffort to writ   to you and th n hand d liv r it and y t   till di cov r lat r that  om how or oth r you’r   not awar  of my probl m. Unfortunat ly thi  fru tration i   h ight n d by having a   imilarly poor   xp ri nce in contacting your   tor   by phon , wh n on  of your coll agu    l ft m  on hold for about thirty minut    until I d cid d that obviou ly h   wa n’t going to com   back aft r all. On   could b   forgiv n for lik ning your  tor   to  om    ort of black hol   into which communication   pa   appar ntly without trac , but hop fully thi  tim  my l tt r will r ach it   int nd d r cipi nt. Failing that, I’d lik   to ugg  t that next tim   w   try a ouija board and/or  mok    ignal .

Your   in  om  fru tration,

Mik D an.

Still no response.  Mike decided to up the ante – which wasn’t easy because, by now, the letter T had also fallen off! Now he had to type in broken English to stand any chance of being understood….

Chri ma v 2010

 h   Manag r
Uni  1   ri  on R  ail Park
 ri  on Road
Lincoln LN6 7AN

D ar Mr Ward,

I hop U forgiv poor li’racy – annuva 1 coming off and now hardr 2 spik wiv U coz iz 1 abov ‘G’ on

k yboard.  Pliz hurry and fix my probl m b4 fingz R wurz!


Mik   D an.

That didn’t do the trick either. Finally, Mike decided to fill in the blanks…

ThE ManagEr,


UniT 1 TriTTon RETail Park

TriTTon Road

Lincoln LN6 7AN

DEar Mr Ward,

Okay, ThiS obviouSly iSn’T going ThE way I’d plannEd. I havE To admiT To bEcoming morE Than a liTTlE irkEd aT ComET‘S apparEnT diSrEgard for ThE considErablE EfforT I’vE madE in communicaTing wiTh you abouT my Sony Vaio lapTop, which iS now ShEdding kEyS faSTEr Than nExT door’S caT ShEd fur whEn I ran iT ovEr wiTh ThE hovEr mowEr. (ThaT‘ll TEach ThE liTTle baSTard to kEEp coming ovEr and crapping on my lawn).

You’ll noTE ThaT I’vE painSTakingly  gonE back ovEr ThiS lETTEr and STuck in ThE miSSing lETTErs on ThiS occaSion, bEcauSE thE R kEy is now bEcoming raThEr inTErmiTTEnT and iT mighT bE gETTing a liTTlE difficulT now To follow along wiTh any dEgrEE of accuracy. I do havE To Say Though ThaT you Should noT rely on ThiS courTESy conTinuing, bEcauSE iT iS raThEr TimE-conSuming1 and I’vE juST hEard ScrEamS coming from nExT door So I Think ThEy’vE found ThE caT. WEll, biTS of iT anyway.

I rEally had hopEd ThaT wE‘d havE rESolvEd my problEm bEforE now, bEcauSE, lETS bE honEST, all I EvEr aSkEd for waS a rEplacEmEnT kEyboard for my damn lapTop. I’d bE rEally gratEful if you could aT lEaST gET back in Touch and lET mE know you’rE conSidEring ThE iSSuE.

I’vE goT To go now, ThE policE arE aT ThE door.

Apparently fearful that Mike would turn up with his hover mower, the staff at Comet finally relented and agreed to fix his keyboard.

 o, h   ory ha  a happy  nding


  1. Having typed this page, I can confirm that it is indeed time-consuming 

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