Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bed Bath N' Table Customer Service

Several days ago, we had a bad customer service experience at the Bed Bath N' Table store at the Westfield Shopping Centre at Carindale.

At one point I was so angry I literally couldn't speak. I'm still angry - that's why I felt compelled to create a blog about our experience at Bed Bath N' Table - writing about it is therapy for me. I should mention that I'm a person who almost never gets angry.

Before I get into the matter, I better state that part of the problem was our responsibility and that Bed Bath N' Table were within their rights to take the stance they did - but it was the way it unfolded that caused the problem.

Anyway, here's what happened...

The Original Purchase From Bed Bath N' Table

About 8 weeks ago, we bought a quilt from the Bed Bath N' Table store at Carindale Shopping Centre. It was a 100% Microfibre Quilt made by Morgan & Finch, with a cotton japara cover. It looked okay and there was a 15% discount on the quilt due to a promotional sale - but we weren't sure whether it would be the right weight for our young daughter.

We discussed the situation with the sales assistant. We wanted to show it to our daughter and see what she thought of the quilt. We asked about the returns policy, in case she didn't like it, and we were told that we had 2 weeks to return the item.

Problem: Our daughter was with her grandparents, visiting family in another city and would not be back for more than 2 weeks. We decided that we'd better leave the quilt. However, on hearing the problem, the sales assistant told us that as long as it was returned in less that 4 weeks Bed Bath N' Table would honour the returns policy.

After hearing this, we forked out the $144.46 to buy the quilt.

The Problem With The Quilt

As it happens, we didn't actually use the quilt until about 6 weeks after we purchased it.

When we took the quilt out of its packet, we noticed that the microfibre wasn't spread evenly. There were square pockets in the quilt to "prevent movement" (as it says on the quilt case), but within each of these squares there was a lot of unevenness. Over the quilt as a whole, the coverage was patchy. There were some pretty big gaps - so much so, that it would allow the cold through.

We did all the obvious things, such as shaking the quilt vigorously, patting the squares, etc. None of this helped.

We therefore weren't happy with the quilt. We decided that our daughter deserved better and decided to take the quilt back. However at that point, we didn't have an alternative quilt for our daughter to use. We had no choice but to use it.

Returning The Quilt To Bed Bath N' Table

It took another 2 weeks until we had the chance to go to Carindale Shopping Centre again, but when we did, we took the quilt and the receipt back to Bed Bath N' Table to see if we could return the item.

We did this knowing full well that Bed Bath N' Table might not allow the return because: a) we'd used the product; and b) it was past the 4 week period agreed by the sales assistant who sold the quilt to us.

However, we felt that the quilt was either faulty, or of poor quality, and that really we were entitled to more for our money. It wasn't just a 'change of mind' return. Under such circumstances, we thought that maybe Bed Bath N' Table might accept the return - but we were fully prepared to be told no.

Yes The Product Is Faulty And You Can Exchange It

Upon arriving at the Bed Bath N' Table store, we explained the situation, including the fact that we'd used the quilt and that we were beyond the agreed return timeframe, and showed the quilt to the Bed Bath N' Table staff. The sales assistant we were dealing with:

· agreed the product looked faulty and shouldn't be like that

· told us we could exchange the product

· invited us to look for an alternative quilt to exchange with it

We'd decided that we didn't want to buy another Morgan & Finch quilt, although we did look at some. Bed Bath N' Table did carry some other brands, but nothing that really grabbed our attention. We got to the point where we asked whether a refund would be possible (in which case we could go to Myer or David Jones which have a wider selection).

At that point, we were told by the Sales Assistant that she was only authorized to do exchanges, not refunds and she'd have to check with the manager who was out the back. That sounded fine to us, but what we didn't realize was that this was the turning point.

No The Product Is Not Faulty And You Can't Exchange It

When the manager came, she tried telling us there was nothing wrong with the quilt, just that the microfibre was bunched together and that we just had to pull it apart and rub the squares together to spread it around. She showed us how to do this, and to be fair it did improve results, but it still didn't look quite right to me - and there were some squares that seemed to have less microfibre than others, there were still some gaps etc. (Note: I later spent more than 30 minutes doing this and although it was somewhat improved it was still patchy and not as good another new quilt we saw at the store - see below).

The possibility of a return was now out of the question, as was the possibility of an exchange, which we'd already been told we could have (just 10 minutes before)!

Now had we been told this from the start, we would have had no option but to accept it.

However, when you're told that there is a problem with the product and that you can exchange it and have even started selecting the replacement, it's upsetting to all of a sudden be told that there is no problem.

What Can We Do About A Faulty Or Low Quality Product

Even if the technique had resolved the problem, we couldn't quite believe we had to spend a minute or so on each of the 60 odd squares on the quilt before it was right. You just don't expect you need to do something like that when you spend that much money on a quilt! Additionally:

  • We weren't told we'd need to do this by the Bed Bath N' Table staff before we originally purchased the quilt.
  • There were no instructions from Morgan and Finch to say we needed to do this.
  • The manager let us look at another brand new quilt (out of the box) and it had much better coverage than ours.

Obviously I'm no expert, but to my eye, it was quite clear that there was a problem with the quilt. However, the manager saw it differently and steadfastly stuck to her guns.

She couldn't accept it as a 'change of mind' return because the item had been used (fair enough). She couldn't accept it as a faulty product return at the store level, because she didn't think it was faulty (not so fair), and the quilt would have to go to Morgan & Finch QA in Melbourne for assessment.

At one point she did tell us she had the authority to accept returns of faulty product, but later clarified that this was only for obvious tears, etc. Although this wasn't an obvious fault such as a tear, it still seemed obvious to me (and the sales assistant who originally served us) that the product was faulty.

Throughout more than 30 minutes of discussion, she held to this position and refused move. The manager didn't seem interested in the concept of Bed Bath N' Table being responsible for the quality of the products they sell. We were basically given two options:

  1. Take the quilt home and write to the Bed Bath N' Table head office about the problem and they could consider the issue.
  2. Let her send the quilt to Morgan & Finch, which would take up to 10 working days.

The second option was not feasible, because we'd be left without a quilt for our daughter in the middle of winter. We had to resolve the problem on the day. So really, our only option was the first one - and we will go ahead and write to the Bed Bath N' Table head office (when I've calmed down a little).

The one concession the store manager did make was to ring the Bed Bath N' Table area manager and discuss the situation with her. However, this made no difference. In hindsight, I should have asked to speak to the area manager myself. These conversations happened out in the back room so we couldn't hear what was discussed or how it was portrayed (indeed even whether the conversations actually happened, although I have no reason to doubt that they did).

In the end we had to give up. It was obvious that the quality of the products sold by Bed Bath N' Table and customer satisfaction weren't important enough to them to be able to make any headway.

Don't Ask My Surname

As we left, already upset, there was one more twist that left a bitter taste in our mouths.

Because we were planning to take the situation further by writing to the Bed Bath N' Table head office, we decided to ask the store manager her name. It's always useful to know exactly who you've been dealing with, so you can pass this on to people you talk to later.

However, although the manager gave us her first name (which I won't reveal here), she wouldn't give her surname.

She said that her first name and the store name would be enough to identify her in any future correspondence. Whilst that may be true, I've always found it a fact of human nature that most people like to know the full name of who they are dealing with.

I've managed various public facing teams and companies, including time in Customer Complaints, and I've never hesitated to provide my name when asked. My view is that if you're representing the company in an important role, you should be able to provide unhappy customers with a name so they can feel like they know who they're dealing with. In fact, just providing a name can help make a connection with the customer and make the situation a little easier.

I now know that denying the customer your full name has the opposite effect - it actually makes the situation worse, one more insult on top of whatever the problem was in the first place.

In a way, it was quite insulting, as it implied that the manager felt threatened by us. Although we were angry, the conversation was conducted cordially, with no shouting and even with the occasional break to talk about how cute our daughter was.

Anyway, regardless, it's the first time I've ever been denied a name in such circumstances and it left a bad taste in our mouths. An unsatisfactory end to a very disappointing experience with Bed Bath N' Table.

Final Thoughts

Based on our experience, I would have to recommend not shopping at Bed Bath N' Table or buying Morgan and Finch products.

Although Bed Bath N' Table were within their rights to take the stance they did, it was very disappointing that they don't value customer satisfaction more highly. And at the end of the day, the thing that made us angry, wasn't that they said no - just that they said yes first, then said no later.

21 comments:

nica said...

waste of my life reading this drivel

Lady K said...

You really need to get a life lol.. You probably spent all day writing this and all day at the store complaining about it. Really when you buy something look at it within the first few days after purchasing to see if it is in good condition. LIFE IS SHORT! If it was your last day on earth would you really want to be spending it writing pathetic complaints like this??

cinnamon hill said...

oh dear , how awful for you! I love their store but that manager should be shot ...terrible for their image ... there's nothing worse than being treated like that ...what a shame that their handling of the public and their relations were so hostile and unablidging when it could have been handled so much more sympathetically towards yourself ... I think you should send this as an example of how not to treat your customers to their management .. that was appalling and I'm sorry you had to go through that ... we've all had similar things at one time or another and it just should not happen! shame on that manager!

marzipanturtle said...

The first sales assistant should have conferred with their manager prior to telling you you could have an exchange, as it was a questionable fault, and it was outside the agreed refund time, thus out of her authority. However as you say yourself you knowingly attempted to return an item that was outside the agreed return timeframe and after it had been used, and as you also said yourself the manager was in the right to take the stance they did. Quilts are shrink sealed for hygenic purposes and as such the filling gets moved around and would need to be fluffed out again, obviously square by square for a product that has secure pockets. You say that after you were shown in store how to fix it it did look better, but not enough. A quick demonstration is obviously not going to have the full effect, nor is it going to look as full as a quilt that has been out in the store and had time to relax. Would you really rather buy an unsealed quilt that has been handled rather than take a little time to fluff a sealed one out? Sure it was nearly 150 dollars, but quilts aren't cheap. and there are plenty of expensive items that require a little assembly or tweaking so your dissatisfaction there just makes you seem spoiled. The manager offered to have the quilt asessed, but you declined. Why on earth would you have no alternative for your child? Regardless of your expectation that the replacement quilt was fine without checking, what if at some point it needed to be washed? I honestly and sincerely don't mean to make a personal stab, but that seemes like poor parenting to me.
As for her not giving you her surname, she's right, as the manager, her first name and the store is all the company needs to identify her, and in fact many companies discourage their employees from giving their full name for their own safety and privacy. She is easily identifiable by her first name and is more than in her right to decline to give you further information. You were given all the information and options before you and yes, it's frustrating to be told you can do something when you can't and I feel your frustration, but you were taking advantage of the companie's policy to begin with by disregarding the return time frame and while it seems the manager did everything she was able to you seemed to just be expecting more than was possible to be given.
And for the record, the three beds in my house all have Morgan and Finch Microfibre quilts, which we did fluff out box by box when we got them, which really didn't take long, and they're fantastic. Plus a few of our friends who have stayed at our place have gone on to buy the same quilts for their beds.
You had an outcome that you didn't like, but it was not Bed Bath N Table's fault.

Ryst said...

I have had a bad experience shopping at the Chadstone Bed Bath n Table in 2010. There is a lady there that appears to be the manager who is an absolute dragon, I gathered that she is the manager as she bosses the staff around. She also refused to serve at one stage even when there was a line of people at he counter.

On another matter I am also having a major issues with a Morgan and FInch fur blanket that we purchased a few months ago. The reason why I stumbled on this website was I am looking for an email contact for Bed Bath n table but cannot find it.

Over 5 years ago my husband purchased a thick Morgan and Finch brown fur throw blanket from Bed Bath and table and it is such great quality, its been washed numerous times. Last year we purchased another 2 of these blanket and Oh dear, what an disgrace. Morgan and Finch should be embarrassed in what they are now producing and passing off as the same product. They have kept the price the same but are churning out the biggest rubbish. Bed Bath n table should not be selling these blankets. After a few washes they are ready for the BIN! I cant believe that they are trying to pass these off as the same blanket. I will definitely not buy any further Morgan and Finch products from now on. I am confident that Morgan and Finch are a cheap and nasty product made to look expensive, don't waste your money. That's my 2 cents.

MB said...

Get over yourself! You did not comply with the company's returns policy and it is usually against company policyw to give out surnames to customers due to the employees personal saftey risks. I can not believe you took so much time to complain about you own wrong-doings. It is obvious you have never worked in retail!

nathan said...

Yes a frustrating experience from this store also. Also looking for contact email for this store.........

Bought king single sheets for sealy bed that wouldn't fit. Mattress is a pillow top but only 23 cm deep. the sheets were 37 cm deep - great and the same size length/width as the bed measurements which i have always used for buying sheets for the kids beds. However, the fitted sides of the sheets are so dramatically tapered toward the elastic sides that fully stretched the overall measurements are over 20cm shorter on each side making it impossible to fit the sheet over the mattress. After I pointed out that I believed under consumer guarantee act they were not fit for purpose advertised on packaging the regional manager has offered to refund if I go into the city yet again to return them and they will do this only as a favour.... because I had washed them before seeing if they fitted... They refuse to accept or even look into possiblity of manufacturing fault....and claim they have had not other problems with them. Resolved but unhappy that I have wasted so much time on this, thought first phone call had resolved it when I took them back the first time but had to stand explaining myself for over 20min to three other staff in store and have to return again to receive refund.
The fabric looks to be good quality and I like elastic going all way around - but most definitely try on bed before washing and take back and complain if they don't fit.

criscros said...

I purchased 4 mugs on sale last week to give to my nephew. My sister liked them so I decided to buy more for her. However, when I returned to the shop in David Jones basement level yesterday, the assistant told me that the sale was over and the mugs were at the previous sale price. I said "One day and I want 8" but she replied that it was out of her hands because the policy was set by head office in Melbourne, so I walked out. They would rather have mugs sitting unsold even at sale prices for months rather than make a quick sale and keep a customer happy. They were not losing anything by selling them to me at the previous days price. The papers are full of the woes of retail sales and this is a classic example of why I will never enter a Bed Bath'n Table shop again. Service is what is lacking and setting immutable policy in Melbourne denies the interactivity of a live salesperson so it is cheaper and more convenient to shop online.

Christine said...

maybe next time you'll use the product within the four weeks they told you that you had in the first place.

Scratch said...

Hi Christine,

No, I don't think there will be a next time... :)

Mhor said...

I never ever give my surname out. People could easily google your name, look you up in the white pages. My company even allows us to use aliases. As long as it is the same one and it is registered with our bosses so if needed they know who people are talking about.

ummsnum said...

argh... this is tedious! I can not be bothered commenting on store policy and fair trade act... but you'll find ALOT of organisations/stores etc do not give surnames out for security reasons. She's right in saying that the information you had was enough to proceed with your claim. I think you should've stuck with whjat you knew and expected and just kept the god damn quilt and saved the poor store assistants a shitty day a work. THE CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT! And as for criscros and her stupid mug situation: PLEASE SHOP ON LINE!! GET YOUR BARGAINS THERE!! stores offer one day sales to generate traffic as alot of retail outlets are suffering from the boost of online sales. Be happy you got them at a sale price in the 1st place! arghhh....

ally2892 said...

Scratch: i work in retail and am a manager and would NEVER! give my last name out to any customer who ask - particularly those who were wanting to complain or were angry at me - for the very obvious privacy issues!! first name and store name are more than adequate to make complaints about a staff member - why would there even be an issue with them not giving you a last name???

the first girl who told you that you would be able to get the refund was at fault when she didnt have the sales authority - yes
but the manager was doing what SHE was authorised to do. she offered to get it checked within 10 working days
i dont understand why not having this specific quilt for your daughter would be an issue - what was she using previously?

criscros: the sales assistant cannot control prices in many cases - what price you get when you scan an item is what you have to sell it for

Olivia Rouse said...

I just happened to stumble upon this blog and even though this was written a long while ago I really cannot restrain myself from commenting. I am a sales assistant in retail and would just like to make it clear that the store manager's actions and procedures were completely acceptable. She was absolutely within her right to refuse you a refund, exchange and most definitely disclosing her surname. You have no right to know her surname. All you were entilted to was the store and first name of the employee. The problem you had with the quilt and it's appearance is completely subjective and it no way passable for an exchange or refund as it isn't a fault. The next person to buy the same quilt could find no problem with it. It's all opinion, no fact. Also, anybody that doesn't work in retail or sales has no idea of the policy or procedures we have an obligation to follow. I think I can vouch for majority of us in the field when I say we really wish and would do what we could to make the customer satisfied but it honestly is out of our hands when it comes to things like this situation you found yourself in. We cannot bend the rules that we do not make. Not many people understand the crap we take in retail. It's underrated as a career and we dont deserve customers like you making our job difficult.

Kim Bee said...

Well said Olivia! I have worked in retail for over 30 years and 20 of them as a manager.
It never ceases to amaze me when customers demand we fix their problems straight away. They won't listen to reason when we explain the process that is required nor will they accept that a product is not faulty due to manufacturing but rather user misuse. " I washed it just like the instructions said", "I never got it wet( with drips of water coming from the product)". Customers, please do not think we are silly retail people with no brains! I have heard all the excuses under the sun and more from disgruntled customers wanting to return products for refunds and exchanges. It makes our day frustrating and takes us away from the wonderful customers that we serve on a daily basis. Exceptional Customer Service is our priority EVERY day and we only want the best for all our customers, I just wish some customers would ask themselves this question before coming in, " If this was my retail business would I accept these demands from my customers", I bet their answer would be no.......

AngloNubian said...

Your typical 'sense of entitlement' attitude is what's wrong with society today. "My daughter deserves better" Blah blah blah. Get over yourself. You knew the deal and you stuffed up. As for staff giving out their surnames -how dare you even ask !!!I resent that when doing an internet search for BB&T this codswallop comes up first and i shall now make my way to their official website or store and make a purchase to spite you. I'll bet you drive a Mercedes 4wd , have a pony tail and wear a lot of Country Road .

Scratch said...

Hi AngloNubian.

Sorry to disappoint, but never owned a Mercedes, or a 4wd, never had a pony tail, never owned a Country Road shirt.. Nice try though.

As for the 'sense of entitlement', read the closing sentence of the post above:

'And at the end of the day, the thing that made us angry, wasn't that they said no - just that they said yes first, then said no later.'

If they'd said no upfront, no problem. I'm sorry that you think that feeling entitled to something a staff member has said you're entitled too is such a bad thing. Society must be falling apart if people expect business to stand by their promises!

law193 said...

From A Bed Bath n' Table Staff member- I sincerely hope you read this:

How dare you write something like this with details about the specific store. I've personally worked with Bed Bath n' Table for more than 5 years and I've had my share of pathetic customers but you have to be the worst. I've also had bad managers and amazing managers, therefor knowing the difference you have no idea what its like at all. You were treated with the respect you deserved for your actions within the companies rights. The sales assistant made a mistake, they were more than likely a human yeah? Humans have a tenancy to do that

First of all you said it yourself, the second quilt that you examined was fine, clearly the problem was only with the first one you purchased. Therefor slandering the Morgan and Finch name like this (who is exclusive to BBn'T) and suggesting that no one ever shop there is both wrong and exaggerated. Are you going to stop getting coffee from Gloria's if they serve you one bad coffee....? You would ask for a new one and the staff would be apologetic. I doubt they would be as willing to do so if you took the coffee home, drank most of it and then let it sit there for 4 weeks!

It's pretty much the same deal with the quilt. As you said, you were allowed an extra 2 WEEKS to bring in the quilt (more than generous) and considering you failed to do so, then let your child sleep in it I personally think your out of line for even stepping foot into the store expecting anything? Let alone posting this.

Look at it from a company, you buy the product which may or may not have been faulty, they're happy to re-inburse you, costing only them by giving away another quilt. Im not at all saying it wasn't faulty but it probably just needed to be shaken it is a MICRO FIBRE, if you think that micro fibres don't bunch up in a quilt then there is a bigger issue here. Micro means small, small fibres, we're clear on this yes?

I make no excuse for how the manager handled the situation. But if you walk into any store I'm sure there will be at least one person you could conflict with, under service, over service, wrong information, too much! The list is endless... Therefore to portray BBn'T as a 'poor service' company as a whole is ridiculous and inconsiderate. It could be said about any store and the next time you need to let off steam please do it in another less public fashion that can have a negative affect on the subjects.

Also, if this incident has that much of an effect on you that its the first time you really have gotten angry then you must be living an extremely cushy life with not a lot of worries. Bad news, life is ugly so you better harden up because it gets worse then poor service in a prestigious linen store!

Last of all - and this is what gets me the most. If you have the nerve to post something like this you better give out both your name and work place so someone can go to your work and examine how your performance is so they can give you an accurate to the general public of the entire world with access to a computer. Perhaps your personal details would be helpful to track you down for a defamation charge from the BBn'T as a company and the Morgan and Finch range.

I suggest you take this down before this happens.

boredatwork said...

What law193 said. Seriously funniest thing I have ever read. You have a family, you live in Australia and you can afford to buy a $150 quilt. Life is good. Chill out. You obviously don't appreciate these things if you are complaining about so extensively about something so petty. Get. A. Life.

thatswhatsup said...

Lol BIG JOKE. find better things to do than moaning about what really came down to your poor time management. You were given extra time to return and considering it was faulty you didn't seem to mind letting your child sleep in it. Either way ew. You do NOT return a used duvet inner anyway. What an embarrasment on your behalf.
Bottom line is bbnt have many valuable customers. I guess you are just not one of them.
Your post is not only very inaccurate but pathetic too. Instead of complaining why nit spend this time with your family doing things that matter. Morgan & Finch is a GREAT brand and same eith the BBNT stores. And yes I have no doubts that if it were viceversa you would be hounded on.
Get a life alright.

RLachland said...

What absolute pathetic crap that should be left written in your personal diary. You ARE in fact in the wrong here as you have admitted yourself.

You not only purchased a product in full knowledge of the lenient return policy and your daughters absence which would mean breaking that policy, BUT USED IT?!? Your original shop assistant was willing to accommodate your situation and found a solution to give you an extra 2 weeks on top of the original 4, AND YOU STILL DIDN'T ORGANIZE YOURSELF IN TIME! Are you so remarkable and special that rules do not apply to you?? How unbelievable!

I ask, what in the world was your poor daughter using before the purchase of this 'horrible' Morgan and Finch quilt in the months leading up to the middle of winter when this happened? Did her previous quilt or warm blankets spontaneously combust?

How unfortunate that the shop assistant dealing with your return got swept up with your story and offered you an exchange, thinking it was a faulty product, only to find out from her manager that it was not in fact faulty and there was a way to fix it? Has it occurred to you that the majority of what we purchase today is made on production lines in factories. That perhaps these products sit in warehouses and on shop floors over a couple months and may need 'fluffing' or airing out?

I see people like you harassing poor shop girls in stores, in GOOD stores where they actively try to help you, and all I can think is you deserve to be slapped. You flaunt the 'customer is always right' mindset when you are in fact acting immature, playing the blame game where you're never in the wrong and wasting people's time because you don't have the ability to manage your own time efficiently.

Go crawl back under a rock and leave the rest of us alone to get on with our days. Absolute ABSOLUTE drivel.

And I applaud the manager who was smart enough to spot a loony like yourself and withhold her last name. After looking at this I assume you are one of 'those' who would probably internet stalk her and make life hard for the poor girl for doing her job.

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