Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crap Rating: Cocktail Scandinave

Those of you who know France well will not be surprised to learn that my efforts to return the parasol that was too big for my garden table were, if not unsuccessful, not at all satisfactory.

Cocktail Scandinave do not have a policy of reimbursement. Apparently it is not a legal obligation so of course, as they can get away with holding on to your money, they will. Only shops with a highly developed sense of customer service (and a worldwide presence) offer to reimburse (even if they make you jump through hoops to get your money back). At the national level, they don't give a toss, business is fine without, so why bother?

I went to the shop today with the parasol wrapped in its original box. I went to the sales staff and told them about the parasol not fitting in my table and my desire to be reimbursed as I had brought it back in perfect condition box and all.

I was told that they are 100% not able to reimburse, but would swap it for something else. I said I didn't want anything else, I wanted to be reimbursed. Here is a snippet of the conversation:
Me: "Why won't you reimburse me?"
Manager: "Because it's not our policy and we've been here for 25 years and doing very well without."
Me: "But your customer service is not very good if you don't offer to reimburse customers when they buy a parasol that's the wrong size."
Manager: "You should have checked the size before you came."
Me: "It was an impulse buy. Does that mean that it's now dangerous to buy on impulse because one cannot return a wrong buy?"
Manager: "I can give you a gift card as a commercial gesture."
Me: "But I don't want anything else in this shop, or the only other thing I wanted was a coffee table and I'd have to wait two months for that, and I'm not prepared to wait that long."
Manager: "I understand but that's the best I can do and I don't have to do that so if you don't want me to change my mind you'd better revise your attitude..."

What to do in the face of such rudeness? I talked in English to my TWDB about the rubbish customer service, and as the guy was such a loser he didn't understand.

So, take heed, dear French reader. I strongly advise you not to buy anything in CS because their customer service is more than bad, it's a total shameful disgrace. Of course, they don't advertise their delinquent customer service so you only find out when they've got you by the short and curlies.

I would also advise you to check the customer service of any store you wish to spend more than a few euros in, just in case, and BOYCOTT those who don't reimburse their customers. We, the customers must MAKE A STAND and refuse to be treated like bunch of docile sheep.

It seems that the French are prepared to accept any old crap behaviour from customer services, so they get it. There was another guy in the shop who had ordered some furniture and paid a down payment of €35. He'd subsequently changed his mind, probably fed up with the wait, and asked to cancel the order and have his money back. Of course, said the shop assistant, we can give you a credit note to spend on some other piece of furniture. The old guy wanted to buy instead a cleaning product, but as that was not in the furniture section, he wasn't allowed to. Same shop but different departments, you cannot even spend your sodding credit note where you want!

We left without thanking the manager for the gift card and I will be checking exactly where I can use it because I sure as hell don't want to go back to effing CS if I can possibly help it.

On a bright note however, we found a coffee table similar to the one that took two months to be delivered from CS, less than twice the price, and IN STOCK from Conforama. That mission was accomplished, and if we'd just gone there first we wouldn't have wasted a whole morning and I wouldn't be €99 poorer.

Shopping in France is a parcours de combattant. Don't think you'll enjoy it because store policy is to part you with your money giving you as little as possible for as great a price as possible, taking the piss for good measure, and no come back. Do not undertake it lightly. You have been warned.

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