Everybody knows me as a cool, calm and collected person …….. who barely says a word and NEVER complains.
What I do expect, is normal good service from retailers, and retailers who make good on their promises – written and verbal.
Anyway, about two weeks ago a storm passed over St Francis Bay, in its wake it left one house sadly burnt really badly, and many many homes without some vital items such as computers, televisions, DSTV and alarm systems. We were one of these homes.
We decided that the TV bit of being without TV was not lekker and went out and bought a new TV even before the ink had dried on the insurance claim.
Off to Makro, you know the store, the one that bombards you with adverts for new and shiny televisions in every daily newspaper you open.
So off we go, salesmen assist, we buy, we go, plug in ……….. good end. NO. The TV is awful, almost unwatchable, the colors are off, white people are orange, and black people are grey – orange definitely is not the new black, or grey …. or anything.
But we are not phased. The keen salesmen sang us a 14 days – no stress, Makro return policy. I look it up on the internet – AND THERE IT WAS – if within 14 days of your purchase, you are unhappy with your product, you may return it for a full refund. Some products were excluded for hygiene reasons, ummmmm TV’s don’t count here.
Only one problem, I had chucked away the box. I phone the toll free number and explain that I had purchased a lemon of a TV, but had chucked the box.
“Please hold why I ask my supervisior”
“Unfortunately we cannot take back the TV without the box because we need to put it back on the shelves”
“UH??? So Mam are you saying you are going to take a broken TV, as long as its in its box and put it back on the shelves”
“Yes Mam, this is the Company policy”
Boy I hope that this conversation was recorded …..
So …… I wrap up the boxless, not working properly TV, and Jamie and I hightail it to PE.
“Jamie, do you want to come with to Makro or would you like me to drop you off at your friends first?”.
“No Mom – I’ll come with you, not going to miss this one”. He answers with a big grin.
Now I have a plan. This is an excellent time to teach my 18 year old how mature and sane people return bad stock from a shop.
We walk into Makro and go straight to the returns counter.
“I wish to return this TV”
“Mam, please go directly to the electronics department and they will assist you”.
I go to the electronics department, and explain my problem. I am asked what color the cable is that goes into the back of the TV. Told them I have no idea, and we plug in the TV, there is obviously a problem.
I explain that I would like to exercise my right of a 14 day return policy.
AND THIS IS WHERE THE STORY GETS INTERESTING …..
“I will have to call the manager – I am just a salesman”, the gentleman says to me. “Unfortunately she is busy with a client”, he says pointing to two ladies, and will be with you in a moment. “Have you any other purchases to make while you wait”. Jamie and I hit the sweet isle and then return.
No salesman, no manager. I ask around and eventually the salesperson creeps out from behind a display. “I am sorry the sales manager is busy in a meeting – but let me take your TV upstairs to her”.
He comes back. “She says that we must send the TV back to the supplier for a warranty claim”.
“No, I say, “Here is my slip, I want to return the item on the 14 day policy. I WOULD LIKE TO BE REFUNDED OR GET ANOTHER TELEVISION” I sternly tell the salesperson.
Now I am beginning to get a little agitated. We have been in Makro for an hour.
Jamie perks up as my voice gets stern ….. He knows this tone very very well.
“Here she comes” says the sales person.
“Good Morning, how are you?” A lady comes to me. “I am afraid we cannot take back your TV because it has been used, what we can do is sent it back to the supplier for a warranty claim”.
“No Mam” I say. (I am astounded). “When you purchase a TV from Makro, you receive it in a sealed box, that means you have to open the box, put it together and plug it in, you then have to turn it on to see if it works properly, this TV didnt”.
“Which means you used the TV”, the sales manager said.
“Mam, I would like a new Television – you have a 14 day exchange policy”.
“Can I call the Store Manager?” She asks ….. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS. She gets on the phone and says, “There is a client here who bought a TV exactly 14 days ago and she is not happy” She says into the phone. Now I am getting angry. She has the till slip in her hand, and the television was purchased 12 days ago (this is a big difference if you are claiming a 14 day refund policy). “No Mam I say it is 12 days ago”, She looks me straight in the eye and says “NO, IT IS 14 DAYS”. Do the Math – I purchased the unit Sunday 27th September and I want to return it Thursday 8th October. She then says “its Thursday now and that makes it 14 days”. I am gobsmacked. (NOTE TO SELF: RETURN ITEMS TO MAKRO ON WEDNESDAYS WHICH WILL MAKE IT 13 DAYS).
The Store Manager sidles in. “Can I help you?”, I explain the situation. “Sorry Mam it will have to be sent back to the supplier, due to the fact it has been used, and if the supplier does not want to fix the product we will suffer a loss of the value of the TV”
“Sir”, I say loudly “I am in the retail game, if a client in my business is unhappy about an obviously defective product, I gladly exchange the product, I then at another time sort out the nitty gritty with my supplier”. I then add, but my deal is not with your supplier YET, my deal is with your company and your 14 day exchange policy.”
“Where did you see that?”, says the STORE MANAGER.
NOW I AM ANGRY.
“On your website AND your salesmen gave me the 14 day return policy pitch at the end of the sale”. By this time the dude should have adhered to the first rule of “unhappy customer” – GET THE CUSTOMER OFF THE SHOP FLOOR AND INTO A PRIVATE AREA.
But no, this Store Manager, asked for my till slip and dissappeared into the Makro bowels.
The lady sales manager comes back and tells me she is going to phone Prima the suppliers, (hadn’t they already told me that the supplier had said no to a used item being refunded?).
I am boiling. I say to Jamie loudly “I swear I am going to go to each and every customer in this store and tell them not to shop here”.
At this precise moment a lady walks in. “I am only a salesman” goes up to her. “I am looking for a TV for about R10 000.00” she asks. He launches into a sales pitch about the different TV’s, their warranties and the 14 day exchange policy.
My body and mind go into Code RED. I march up to the lady, “They are lying to you” I say, “Dont waste your money in Makro, they do not keep their promises”. The lovely lady, who I may add I have saved from future stress, hightails it out of the store.
Jamie swears at this point the Salesmanager picked up the phone and said. “Alpha-bravo-delta”. Which we can only think means, “THERE IS A CRAZY PERSON ON THE FLOOR COME AND REMOVE HER”.
Within seconds the Store Manager is there. “Come with me” He says, “you will get a full refund”.
All Jamie can do is High Five me.
10 minutes later we walk out with a new television. A different make to the dud we had purchased 12 days before.
MORAL OF THIS STORY
Maybe its better not to try and teach your children how to act like adults when a situation clearly need the attitudes of a child.
Loosing your rag is Makro is the only way to get assistance.
“I am only a salesman” – Makro WAKE UP, these are the most important people on your floor. They are the link between what customers come in for and what they leave with. The public rely on the sales team to keep them informed, updated and kept happy. At the bare minimum spend some time on boosting their self-esteem. “I am just a salesman” does not cut it.
I want to add DONT SHOP AT MAKRO, but here in Africa we dont have much of a choice.
If you buy a TV at Macro get them to open the box and try out the product first.
Maybe none of these morals are relevant because the whole sad story just sucked.