Disclaimer: I wasn’t sure whether there was much value in writing this review, but this blog is about my honest opinion of products and how they worked or didn’t work out for me. The reason why I deliberated writing this review was because I had a pretty bad experience with Genteel, specifically their customer service, so I wasn’t sure if it was worthwhile just having a rant about that. However, I believe that the product isn’t worth the money. In fact, I fail to see the point of the product, so that’s why I feel like this review is worth writing.
What’s all the hullabaloo about?
The Genteel is essentially a fancy lancing device – the kind you use to prick your finger for finger prick blood tests. Genteel claim that their lancing device draws blood ‘without pain’ due to using some impressive-sounding vacuum technology. If you’re a regular pricker like myself, your fingers are probably in quite a sorry state, and deserve a much-needed break, and Genteel claim that their lancing device will ensure ‘no sore fingers.’
Genteel also claim their device makes it easier for you to use alternate sites to test, like your forearm. Genteel don’t reccomend testing using an alternate site in cases of hypoglycaemia because there is a slight delay in your levels for sites other than your fingertips.
So, to summarise, the Genteel is supposed to make finger prick testing less painful, and give you more sites to test with; the end result being happier fingertips.
Why I didn’t like it:
It just isn’t pain-free – it’s painful! After using it for a few weeks, I’m confident that my normal lancing device to hurt less than the Genteel. It’s also free and much less awkward to use… Additionally, the alternate sites they suggest are actually very painful to test, especially the fleshy part of your palm. Also, the difference in numbers was more than a couple of points, so I wasn’t really saving my fingertips from the pain of being prodded.
It’s badly-designed. (1) Because of how large the ‘contact tip’ is, it’s very awkward to test on the sides of your fingers, where it’s less painful. (2) Because of the suction technology, the contact tip gets covered in blood, and therefore requires cleaning after almost every single test – it’s time-consuming and impractical. (3) I’m the first to admit that I’m a weakling, but even my husband, who’s pretty strong, found that the Genteel requires quite a lot of force in order to actually draw blood. (4) The size of the device and the sound it makes when testing mean that you draw attention to yourself a lot more than with a standard lancer. If you’re self-conscious about your diabetes, I would seriously consider this point. (5) The alternate sites they suggest are actually very painful to test, especially the fleshy part of your palm. Also, the difference in numbers was more than a couple of points, so I wasn’t really saving my fingertips from the pain of being prodded.
It’s also incredibly expensive: £145.62 for the device, two boxes of ‘special’ lancets, and the cheapest p&p option (which I would not recommend, but more on that later).
What about their customer service?
Absolutely shocking! I am quite happy to hand out the medal for worst customer service to Genteel. I work in customer service and I was simply flabbergasted by how incompetent and rude Genteel were. I won’t go into the whole saga but essentially what happened was this:
- I contacted Genteel a while after my order had supposedly arrived in the UK to enquire about its whereabouts. Genteel’s email was incredibly condescending and read like an advertisement for the underline button.
- After more very rude emails from Genteel, I called Royal Mail to see if they could help – they were incredibly helpful. It turned out that Genteel had shipped my order to a totally random address – they did not have a believable explanation for why this had happened. To add to the ridiculousness of this saga, they also tried to absolve themselves of all blame, despite being the only possible culprit.
- I had to stand outside said address every day for a week before someone came out of the building and let me in. I had previously pushed notes through the door to no avail – the person who it had been delivered to had moved away.
- I told Genteel what happened. They were indignant but issued a paltry $20 refund – I had paid more than that in customs fees alone. I told them I wasn’t very happy, and outlined what I would like them to do – they ignored my email.
Would you recommend the Genteel?
Setting aside my very low opinion of the company, I still wouldn’t recommend the product. If it was actually significantly less painful, let alone pain-free, it would absolutely be worth the money. For that reason, I will be returning mine – Genteel have a 90 day return policy, but I’m sure that this won’t be pain-free either judging by their previous crummy customer service.