A Letter to Bedo

Today I received a message from a reader, Michelle, in response to my "Bad Karma for Bedo" post, describing her own icky Bedo experience at the exact same downtown location that my friend Lucas and I went to. She told me she'd bought two items and been told by a sales assistant that they were refundable. When she changed her mind and brought them back, she found out that the store did exchanges only. She found something else she wanted which was lower than what she'd paid for the other two things initially and asked for a gift card for the price difference. Much to her mounting frustration, the staff told her they couldn't do that and she'd have to pick out a bracelet or accessory to make up the difference. To make matters even worse, when she pressed for a gift card, she was asked to leave the store! Michelle asked me for advice for her situation. She left feeling lied to, angry, cheated, and confused.

Michelle, the sad truth is, in the heat of the moment, we might have to suck it up and just take it as a lesson learned and adhere to Bedo's less-than-stellar policies. It won't get you your money back, which bites. However, if you feel really strongly about this issue, you can complain with the Better Business Bureau and see whether they can take any action. Another option is media outlets: Consider emailing your story as a tip to consumer news segments like Olson On Your Side for CTV news or to Elaine Yong, the consumer reporter for Global News. Also, nationwide consumer shows like The Shopping Bags and Smart Cookies on W are actually produced in Vancouver, so chances are you could email them your story and see where that goes. Local community papers like The Vancouver Courier would also be a good bet, and probably more likely to act on your news tip.

Or you could do what I did. Dismayed and fed up with the consistently dismal service at this particular location, I Googled Bedo and got the email addresses of the HR honcho, customer service contact, and regional manager for Western Canada, and looped them all in on the following email. If you want things to change, perhaps it might help to talk to someone a little higher up. I'll keep you posted on how this goes!

Hi there,

I don't know which one of you ladies to bring this complaint up with, so I've included all of you in this email. My name is Lisa and I'm a technical writer by day and a fashion blogger the rest of the time. I write a fashion blog called Solo Lisa y Nada Mas.

In February, I went shopping at the Bedo location on Granville St. in downtown Vancouver with a friend and we had a horrible customer service experience. One of my readers, Michelle, also came forward and shared her horrid shopping experience at the exact same location, the details of which surpass my friend Lucas's experience in unpleasantness. In fact, Michelle said she was asked by one sales assistant to leave the store when she was only trying to get a refund, or failing that, an exchange and a credit note or gift card for the difference.

I myself have bought things there in the past, and while I didn't have any out-and-out unpleasant experience, I felt that overall the customer service left a lot to be desired. The sales assistants were aloof and acted as though they were too good to be working at this place and helping me. After what happened to Lucas and what I've experienced, I haven't bought a single thing from Bedo and I've been advising people to stay away from Bedo because it's such a headache shopping there.

All things considered, I'm compelled to ask: Is it store policy to maintain an elitist attitude toward customers such as the attitude we've experienced? Does it promote a sense of exclusivity and sophistication for the Bedo brand? Do you look for that sort of arrogance when hiring people? I'm not being sarcastic...I would seriously like to know, because pragmatically speaking, such consistently bad behaviour on the part of sales assistants could only hurt your bottom line. I've shopped on Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue in NYC and received friendlier service from Chanel than what I've encountered in Bedo - very surprising, considering one is an elite luxury brand and the other is a homegrown Canadian clothing chain. If the stores that can afford to be aloof and arrogant don't behave that way, I'm confounded as to why the Granville location thinks it can get away with treating customers like rubbish?

I look forward to a reply from any of you detailing if any action will be taken. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Update: As of June 29 (almost a month and a half later), there has been no response. I'm not impressed by their apathy. The boycott and disuasion tactics continue.

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