Obi-chan (monkeyfruit) wrote in bad_service,

'Customer services' 'helps'.

Paul Simon, a UK curtains, linens and beds retailer.

We popped in two weeks ago to have a look at their range of curtains, had a few ready-made curtains on display catch our eye, and went away to have a think.

During the following week, I got on to their website to check the matching tieback options for the curtains we wanted. One of them was pictured, and the other two (different colour variants of the same design) were not, and neither were they described. Since it was an online shop, I assumed Customer Services (the only general purpose number on the website) could help. Ahaha.

Me: Hi, I was just looking at some ready-made curtains on your website, and I wanted to ask about the options which come with them.
CS Lady: Okay.
Me: I'm interested in the Harvard range, which has a matching tiebacks option listed but not shown. I was wondering what colour they might be?
CS Lady: Well, they'll match the colour of the curtains.
Me: ...Okay? Well the Harvard curtains come in duck-egg, green or etc accents. So if I get the duck-egg, will the tiebacks be in duck-egg too? Just wondering, because you have other curtains showing tiebacks in the accent colour.
CS Lady: I can't help you with that. You need to call the store and find out.

I called the store. The person who answered had this annoying lilt which turned everything she said into a question/whinge.

Me: *repeats same question*
Staff: Well, they'll match the colour of the curtains?
Me: Okay, which part?
Staff: The, I don't know, background colour of the curtains?
Me: Right, will it be light brown, or any of the accent colours?
Staff: The background colour?

I ended up Googling for pictures of the damn curtains from other suppliers. Too bad Paul Simon was still the cheapest, and we returned last Saturday to make our purchase.

But because we had other errands to run that day, the nearest branch was far away, and weather and traffic conditions were pretty bad, we only reached the store at 5.20pm - 40 minutes short of closing time. No matter, we thought, as we had our shopping list ready, and none of our items needed custom alterations - all ready-made and off the shelf.

There were three female members of staff there, one of whom appeared to be the shift manager (uniform). They were also semi-sprawled over a consultation desk. We took a last quick look at our choices and approached the payment counter (right in front of them) to order.

They looked everywhere but at us. Up at the ceiling, at the front of the store, in the other direction, but not at the payment counter. I coughed. Immediately they stood up and dispersed, the two juniors disappearing into other non-Paul Simon parts of the store (lot shared with a Carpet Right). As the shift manager dragged her feet past my husband, she groaned, "I just want to go home." And then she disappeared into the back.

My husband finally found one of them loitering somewhere in Carpet Right, chatting on her mobile. She was actually okay when we placed our order, and asked for matching curtain poles of the right length. We left at 5.45pm with one set of curtains and all our poles. The rest of the order would be ready for collection in a week.

Which brings us to now. We're due to pick up the rest of our curtains tomorrow (16th Jan), but I've also found the same curtain poles and finials online for much cheaper, AND I discovered that despite my asking, the girl who placed our order had omitted to tell us how much pole allowance to leave on either side of the window - ours were all way too short.

So I looked up Paul Simon's return policy. This is all I got from the website: If your items are unused and in its original packaging you can send your goods back to our head office address below for a refund within seven days of receiving your goods. Presumably the return delivery to head office bit applies only to internet purchases; ours was from the store.

Our invoice was dated 9th Jan, and I wanted to be sure they weren't going to be bastards and count that into the 7-day period. So I called Customer Services again.

Me: Hi, I have an enquiry regarding your 7-day refund policy.
CS Lady: Right.
Me: I've got the date of my invoice here; I just want to check if I'll still be within that period.
CS Lady: I can't help with that. You need to call the store.
Me: Right.
CS Lady: Yeah, bye.

Yeeeep. She actually said "Yeah, bye." By the way, there is no return policy information printed on the invoice, so I highly doubt my question was store-specific.

So I called the store to check, and the person who answered appeared to count the days off her fingers. She'd better be right, because if not, I'm going to have to pull this one out.

In short, try not to give Paul Simon any of your money if you can help it, it's obviously not going towards making their staff happy.

*Edited to add cut, didn't realise it would be this long!
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