Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Retail Focus - how to make your customers love you

I was so out of sorts yesterday after the Galliano video clip. And the petit garcon was at home due to an inset day at school. I thought I would brighten our day up by finally getting him some new school shoes.

Off we popped to our local shopping mecca Kingston upon Thames. It had turned all miserable and cold but we were cheered by a young lad busking his heart out with his accoustic guitar. The garcon and I put in the money and discussed how he might like to do this when he is older and carried on with our chores.

I had the misfortune to have to return some items. One was a lovely necklace from Topshop, a Freedon one. It got tangled when I leaned forward and then I tried to untangle it and it got worse! It was a design nightmare, a right royal rubix cube of a mess up. I decided to take it back as it cost £25 and I had only worn it once, during the capsule wardrobe week.

The necklace is/was great but I'm sorry it was a design fault as it could get proper tangled. When I nipped in to Topshop, and explained truthfully what had happened and then I got what I call the 'off' treatment. Where was the tag and they could accept no responsibility if it didn't have the tag is was sold on. Then they had to get the manageress who equally said it wasn't their problem as Freedom is a concession. Well, I stood my ground ref faulty goods and the view was they would have to check with Freedom that the necklace was the price that showed on my receipt. 30 minutes later, I even went to the bank, I had my money refunded. What was that all about!

Then return number 2 was another capsule wardrobe item, my gorgeous polka dot top from Zara. Unfortunately the top is made from silk and it had a run in the fabric I hadn't noticed when I wore it, only after when I took it off. I'd only worn it for a few hours and had done the classic cutting the irritating labels off - but the service in Zara couldn't have been much different. Concern, what a shame and making the return the nicest experience and not making me feel an eejit.

Zara got the 10/10 and Topshop 2/10. I felt really cross with Topshop, I don't think I've ever returned personal items ever and I cannot abide being made to justify anything.

Now that Mary Portas has firmly focused us on the detail, do you feel more empowered and right as a consumer?


  1. Such rude ervice from Topshop, of course they must take responsibility for concessions if they are selling those things through their store. I have heard bad things about Zara too, so it is great that you had a good experience with them. The only time I have ever returned something was to Dorothy Perkins, and they were absolutely fine about it. Worst return and exchange service is from All Saints, Mr D shops there quite a bit and they couldn't care less. x

  2. I get stressed about returning anything to shops because I am worried about getting the brush-off and never really know what I should do about it.

    Last time I had to take something back it was to Game (a wii controller) and I phoned up their Customer Service line first of all to make sure that all would be ok when I went into shop.

    They were great - refunded the money and were very pleasant about it.

    So my advice is - telephone the customer service number or store number on the receipt before you return to the shop and save yourself some anxiety. Plus you have the kudos to say 'Your Customer Service Department ASSURED me..yada yada'

    A bit of extra clout if someone is being bolshy ;-)


  3. Good for you that you stood your ground at TS and got your refund. I shall never understand the massive discrepancy between shops re refund and returns. I avoid shopping in places I think/know they'll not be happy to accpet returns. In fact I avoid shops who aren't welcoming to their customers in the first place! Rude shop assistants continue to thrive where we are! Sadly.

  4. Good for you! I hate taking things back because I know 9 times out of 10 it's going to be a nightmare. I do always stand my ground though, because if you kick up enough of a fuss they just want you out of the shop!

  5. It's a dilemma I don't think I've ever found myself in, buying most stuff second hand it would be rather churlish to return it to the charity shop for a refund.
    Good for you for standing your ground. I love Alison's advice, I'm a bit of a wuss and having cleared the returns policy with the powers that be first would stop me feeling flustered. xxx

  6. I never hesitate in taking faulty goods back. I had to take a dress back to RI for my eldest last week. We only got credit note as it was bought before Xmas but she was happy with that as wanted new jeans anyway. If she had wanted cash I would have kicked up a stink, I am good at that!

  7. I try to shop at places that I know won't give a hassle about returns. Nordstrom here in the States is fabulous for that.

    I've been making a conscious effort to be more picky about construction and quality, so try to remember to stop and look at the seams, care tag, etc when in the flush of a possible new clothing romance.

  8. It sounds like Topshop wanted to create such a fuss in the hope you would back down and not request a refund. PS The Galliano issue, I'm just really shocked by his hatred, I went to Auschwitz this last year and it was absolutely horrendous. Why on earth would somebody wish that kind of fate on someone, its beyond belief.

  9. I actually had a really infuriating experience with Zara, having bought something online that I was informed was easier to return 'in store'. Anyway, I won't go into that now...but I'm sad that you had to return that polkadot blouse... x

  10. Mrs Bossa - I've got my eye on a Marc by Marc Jacobs one now...

  11. I tend to find most High St places are ok - I quite often return bits from online orders to the Dotty P store near work and they're always fine. River Island are top of my list at the moment though - they gave me a full refund on something outside the return deadline (was hoping for a credit note at best) and when I did a bit of sneaky returning with the full price grey suede wedges so I could buy them cheaper in the sale online, the shop assistant man was lovely and even told me they were in the sale now and did I want him to pop downstairs and get me a cheaper pair?

  12. Actually I studied contract law (long story) and you made a contract with topshop that the goods you bought were fit for purpose, legally they have to deal with it, and then it is up to them to deal with their supplier! It is some BS about 3rd party contracts I keep trying to remove from my head to make some space.

    I will never take no for an answer and I will never put up with anyone trying to give me shit. Last thing I returned from TS was a pair of leggings I had bought, put on and literally got the tram into town and they were falling down so bad I went into Primark, bought a new pair and took the ones I was wearing right back to TS - luckily I had the receipt in my purse. They didn't even try arguing with me - probably thought I was a propper nut job!

  13. at least you got your money back it is not the shop assistant's fault if they have been told to only refund things with a tag on.. and the manager seems to have helped you, why is it a problem that they had to contact Freedom? they didn't want the give you your money back only to be told by Freedom they shouldn't, and then have to cover the losses!

    and to all the above comments about kicking up a fuss, do you not think just talking to the person in a polite manner would work just as well? if you are polite to people they will treat you the same. shops are not out to snare you, its hardly like the shop assistant makes a commission on what they sell! (or a loss on refunded items!)


Thank you for commenting, much appreciated. Sorry about no longer offering anonymous comments but spamming had become a very annoying issue. xxx