Costa coffee logo - Maroon background with the words Costa Coffee in white

Costa Coffee – Chiswick – Soaked Top Due to Bad Design Disabled Toilet.

I went for a coffee while out shopping in Chiswick last week – 25/4/19. I needed the loo, so while my Mum was purchasing our drinks, I popped to the disabled toilet.

Disabled toilet in costa chiswick showing the toilet flusher button in corner at furthest point
Cost Coffee – Disabled toilet
  1. Well the sink was so close to the toilet that when transferring, I got my top soaked as the tap was one of those touchless taps. So as soon as I got anywhere near it the water shot out. This wasn’t helped by the fact the tap seemed to come right out to the front of the sink.
  2. The room was so small, no room for turning your chair, manual or automatic. It was straight in and then had to reverse out. This caused major issue transferring back into my chair.
  3. The red cord was tucked behind a bin. If I had fallen, I would not have been able to reach the cord.
  4. The flusher was at the furthest part of the room in the corner and it was a button that had to be pressed. Impossible for someone like myself who is unable to reach up and has dexterity issues!!

I contacted Costa Coffee regarding these issues and this is what they had to say:

Dear Mrs Bathurst

Thank you for contacting Costa Customer Services regarding your recent visit to our Chiswick store.

We are sorry to hear you experienced difficulties using the disabled toilets on your recent visit. Please be assured at Costa we do value all customer comments and we pass them onto our senior Management Teams to be looked into, although we are unable to implement any immediate changes or advise of the course of action, we can confirm that all relevant internal departments will look into your comments further.

Your opinions whether positive or negative are of paramount importance to our success as a brand, it is through such feedback that we are able to enhance and improve our standards, services and products.

Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to contact us.

Now, of course, I understand that companies have to be polite and to be seen that they care but when you are someone who receives these kinds of replies daily, you begin to know when you are being fobbed off! Especially when you have dealt with companies like Superdrug and Bon March who go out of their way to make changes and try to learn from past mistakes. So I replied back:

Thank you for your reply.

As a disability access campaigner, I receive replies like yours many times a day.  One can’t help feel the dismissive attitude from these replies.  The issues raised are serious issues and life-changing to the person/s affected.  I was horrified that I could not flush the toilet after using it, simply because it was placed in the worst position possible. I was also extremely embarrassed that another customer had to go in and flush the toilet for me.  A situation an abled bodied person would not have had to endure!!!  I also had to sit in your store wearing a soaked top while finishing my drink.  Would you have accepted this??  And you reply “We are sorry to hear you experienced difficulties using the disabled toilets on your recent visit”.  I wouldn’t class my experience as difficulties!!  I would class it as downright ignorance!!

I am dismayed that you say you are unable to implement any immediate changes, as I would have thought a customer leaving one of your toilets with a soaked top would be quite distressing.  Not only for the customer but to the company responsible.  I would have thought a tap change was something that could be rectified quite easily and immediate??  Having a new flusher installed is surely a health and safety issue.  After all, a dirty toilet is not only unhygienic for the next customer but also breeds germs, especially in premises selling/handling food!!

I would like my complaint escalated to the next level of your complaints procedure.  If you would also send me a copy of this procedure as I am unable to find it on your website.

Talking of Costa’s website, on their FAQ page, they have the following question: Which of your stores provide disability access? The answer: We aim to provide fully for all our customers, and our Store Locator can be used to filter which of our stores provide disability access and facilities.

This is not the case!! Yes, you can find a store but there is nothing, absolutely nothing to show you which of their stores provide disability access/facilities. When I searched for the Chiswick store, the map location was also wrong! Why tell customers you can find this information and then supply nothing to give this information?? Again, this information is paramount to disabled people…….So you can see why I’m not holding my breath. Try it yourself and if you find this information, please do let me know.

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