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...
- 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.