|Colchester High Street, pic from telegraph.co.uk
OK, so I am feeling rather p***ed off at the moment. I have size 9 feet and that makes shopping for shoes a trial in itself. I recently went to buy some new ones, the old ones were hanging on by a thread. The High Street in the nearest large town to me (Colchester) offers a couple of budget options (I’m a mum, we don’t do expensive shoes – school shoes come first). I went into the first and lo! they had a pair that fit me like a glove – a triumph of which I am all too aware. The shelf announced a price that was within my budget – another triumph! I was doing so well, but then I went to pay for them…
Sales Assistant: ‘That will be £16.99.’
I hand over cash – not card, credit or otherwise – cash, all the time thinking that I am sure the shelf said £12.99
Shoes are shoved into a carrier bag by surly Sales Assistant and pushed back across the counter to me.
I turn, still aching at the amount the shoes have cost and glance back at the shelf-edge price ticket – sure enough it still says £12.99
I return to the till, bag in hand and ask the Sales Assistant to check the price for me.
Sales Assistant: ‘I charged you the price on the till,’ surliness increasing with each breath.
Me: ‘Would you mind checking that please, the price is not the same as the one on the shelf.’
(I nod to hubby and ask him to take a photo of the shelf – just in case I need it later.)
Sales Assistant: ‘Well the till is right.’
Me: ‘I think you will find that you have to charge me the price that is on display – don’t you?’
Sales Assistant: ‘Well I can’t change it now.’
Me: ‘If you can’t charge me the correct amount, I would like a refund please.’
Sales Assistant: ‘I can’t take them back, there’s nothing wrong with them.’
(A fine head of steam is now building in my chest – and I am a big woman.)
Me: ‘Yes, there is – the price is incorrect and I would like my money back please.’
Sales Assistant: OK, well I will need your address and postcode then.’
Sales Assistant: ‘I need them for the system.’
Me: Well I don’t want to give you my personal details; I paid cash not by card so you don’t need them.’
Sales Assistant: ‘Well I can’t do it without your postcode.’
(PMT is kicking in now, I’m getting angry, face is turning red and I’m going to blow, any minute.)
Me: ‘I‘d like to speak to the Manager please.’
Sales Assistant now proceeds to call the Manager downstairs from her office. It takes three of four minutes for her to get to the shop floor. When she arrives, I find myself looking at someone who appears to be about 17 years old. She sees a woman who is about to explode. The tale is recounted by Sales Assistant, who is now feigning tears to add insult to injury. My turn now.
Me: ‘I’d simply like a refund please, I no longer want these shoes and I will never shop here again.’
Manager: ‘What’s your postcode please?’
Me: I’m not giving you my postcode; I just want my money back!’
Manager: The till won’t let me give you a refund with a postcode.’
Me: ‘Then use the shop postcode or your own, you’re not having mine!’
Manager: ‘I can’t do that madam; it’s not allowed.’
(Wait for it…)
Me: ‘OK, give me the shoes and my receipt please. I have a photograph with the price on the shelf a sit stand today. I’m now going to call Trading Standards.’
I take my mobile out of my handbag and call Directory Enquiries asking for the number for our local TS office.
(Wait for it…)
Manager: ‘I think I might be able to do it if I bypass the postcode, let me try… oh, yes, I can.’
Me: ‘Now ain’t that a surprise!’
Manager hands over the money and tries to keep my receipt. I remind her that I will need them as evidence for when I write to her Customer Complaints department. She is not a happy bunny.
Nor am I – I’m pre-menstrual and my old shoes are killing me! Dear Husband is lurking near the door, looking embarrassed. I apologise to him for causing a scene. Arm in arm, we head down to the other shoe shop, via a cafe for a strong coffee.
The lessons here are:
- You are not required to give any personal details if you are requesting a refund for which you have made a cash purchase.
- Never believe the price on the shelf.
- Telling a shop manager that you are about to ring Trading Standards WILL get you results.
- NEVER!!!!! Mess with a pre-menstrual woman!