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Friday, February 22, 2008

Bad Karma For Bedo

In September, I blogged about the perks of good customer service and lenient refund/exchange policies to retailers after having a great customer experience at Old Navy when I exchanged a pair of jeans. (Click here for the original post.) Yesterday I experienced the exact opposite when I went to Bedo with my friend Lucas. Somone had tipped him off about a great end-of-season sale at the Bedo location on Granville and Robson, so we made that our first stop.

After about twenty minutes of browsing and deliberation, Lucas settled on a basic striped button-down shirt he'd found in a pile of shirts under a big sign that said $34.90. He was pretty ambivalent about the shirt itself (it was a boring basic), but he figured $35 was a pretty good price for a basic shirt and decided to go for it. The sales girl at the cash register rang it through and the price came to $67. Surprised, Lucas checked the price tag, and then said he didn't want the shirt anymore and wanted a refund. The assistant manager, who was behind the counter with the sales girl, said that he couldn't get a refund and could only exchange the shirt "because it's store policy not to give refunds." Lucas and I then spent a very frustrating half hour talking to the assistant manager, who refused to give him his money back.

This was how the conversation went...

Lucas's arguments:
  • He'd just bought the shirt and hadn't even left the store yet. It wasn't like he'd walked out and then came back to the store and demanded a refund.

  • They didn't say anything about "no refunds" when they were ringing it through.
    The shirt hadn't been worn or anything. If they put it back on the hanger and back out on the floor, they could easily resell it.

  • The way they'd merchandised the shirt was misleading and he wasn't aware it cost that much.

  • He refused to sign his credit card slip if they didn't refund his money and asked to speak to the store manager.

The assistant manager's arguments:
  • It's store policy not to give refunds. She'd lose her job for doing it and her supervisor the store manager would as well.

  • The policy was on a piece of paper taped near the cash register and there for all customers to see.

  • The store manager was off-duty and could not be contacted to give her permission to do a refund.

  • If Lucas refused to sign the credit card slip, he'd be charged for the shirt anyway because she can send it to the head office.

My arguments in support of Lucas:
  • Bedo is supposed to be a reputable national chain and it's ridiculous that they don't do refunds. If they were a small independent retailer it'd be understandable, but come on...I've worked in retail, and not for a big chain but for an independent retailer, and even there the refund/exchange policy was quite liberal.

  • This was an example of poor customer service, and surely the manager and assistant manager could exercise discretion in Lucas's particular situation.

In the end, Lucas refused to sign the slip and insisted that the assistant manager call the manager, which she did after a huffy "You're making this quite hard for me." The manager obviously said yes, because after five minutes (during which the assistant manager looked like she was ready to explode over the phone), the manager was talking the assistant manager through how to reverse the transaction and refund the money back onto Lucas's card. All the while, the assistant manager kept saying over the phone, "I've never done this before." Lucas got his money back and said a very civil yet curt "Thank you" after the assistant manager gave him his receipt with a very sulky expression.

Looking back I can only conclude that this assistant manager was way out of line and behaved like an absolute cow. Perhaps she refused Lucas a refund so adamantly because she didn't know how to do a refund transaction on the credit card terminal but didn't want to admit it. In that case, I think Bedo did a crappy job of training its employees. After having worked retail for over four years, I think any retail employee worth his/her salt should know how to ring different types of transactions through. Any way you look at it, this was a terrible customer service experience. She threatened to charge Lucas for a purchase he didn't want to make?!? Ridiculous.
I advise readers of this blog to stay away from the Bedo location on Granville and Robson unless you want to get burned. Even if you're getting something from Bedo, go to the Metro or Coquitlam Centre locations. I know that it's going to be a long time before I shop there again.

4 comments:

  1. Speaking of horrible customer service, I was at Tiffany's Bridal Shop on Hastings looking for a bridesmaid dress and the sales rep was extremely rude. We said we were just browsing and not sure if we would buy or get ones made. She said there was no way they could order in time, so therefore we werent going to be spending money there, and therefore she told us she would ignore us. Not only that, she then went further to say she has no idea what we'll do becuase she doesnt know anywhere that would make dresses on such a short time frame (2 months). All of this she said in a really rude tone and we left and were like, in the future, even if there is time to order, we wil never return. Being nice to customers should not only be so they can make their commission or whatever, but to give your company a good reputation so we may refer them to friends.

    Anyways, hope you are having a great trip Lisa!

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  2. That is horrible! I think in general bridal shops are supposed to be really leery of browsers though. The shop assistants get nervous if you have food or drinks or even if you wear your shoes beyond the door. Also, they probably get a lot of people who are just "browsing" and "looking for ideas" for dresses they want made, which let's face it, gets kind of depressing. But that's still no excuse for her snotty attitude! I hope your bridal party dresses turn out okay.

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  3. WOW. are they TRYING to drive away customers?! good grief!!!

    you know, that's one of the great things about making credit card transactions instead of paying cash for purchases- chargebacks. had lucas not been given a refund for that shirt, he could have immediately called his credit card company and requested a chargeback- and since the snafu was obviously bedo's fault, he would have certainly gotten his money back.

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  4. Shea, that was what we both figured as well: it was Lucas's credit card and he was in the right. However, she was threatening to mail the receipt to the head office so that they could force the charge onto his card anyway. Absurd? Good lord yes.

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