Everyone knows that customer service is key to retaining business, especially in the retail sector. Even more so when you are dealing with a new mum who will spend thousands of pounds over the next few years buying clothes for her children. Fortunately, Marks & Spencer don't need the business.
The excitement of having a new baby quickly subsides into a realisation that no matter how well prepared you are, there is always more stuff to buy. This is certainly the case for mums, who don't fit back into their pre-pregnancy clothes immediately and need something to get them through.
Mrs Childrenarewelcome needed some new maternity bras after the arrival of the Doofette. As the baby was only three days old, we didn't know what size she would need and headed off to M&S to buy two adjacent sizes in a rare moment of peace with two under two so that we were prepared for whichever size was needed.
She bought two twinpacks in the Marks and Spencer Kew branch about three weeks ago. Explaining the ever-increasing boob size to the lady at the counter as we struggled with both kids, we were told that it was fine to return as per store policy. One of the packs however didn't have a barcode on it despite being on the correct hanger and being labelled with "St Michael". "No problems," we were told, as the lady tapped away at the till. We then specifically asked if it would be a problem if we had to return it. "Not at all - it is all on the receipt. Any store will take them back. It's all entered into the system and ok."
Off we went, bras in hand and receipt safely stored.
After a busy three weeks and with boobs at a now consistent size, off Mrs Childrenarewelcome trundled to M&S at Westfield to take one of the twinsets back.
M&S : "No, sorry. You can't bring this back. It hasn't got a barcode."
Wife : "Errm yes but it has the M&S branded hanger, M&S stitched labels, M&S stickers still on the garments and a receipt."
M&S : "Yeah but that receipt isn't for this."
Wife : "We explained this at the original shop when we bought it and they said it was fine."
M&S : "That pair aren't from the same twinset. Someone must have switched a bra in the shop."
Wife : "How are/were we supposed to know that?! They both say "twinset" inside them and were on a twinset hanger and no-one in Kew noticed that."
M&S : "Oh. OK well that's not our problem. If you go to Kew and ask to talk to security they can get the CCTV footage of you removing the garments from the shelf and then paying for them. If you get a copy of that and bring it back we will make the exchange for you. Have a nice day."
Now, I am not sure exactly what sort of maternity-bra-based money laundering scheme M&S think that we are involved in, but how on earth does this pass for customer service??! She was ASKED TO GO AND GET CCTV PROOF OF PURCHASE FROM ANOTHER STORE?!!
All I can say to other new mums is DON'T go shopping at M&S if you are planning on making an exchange because
you have no certainty that they will honour their exchange policy.
if it is a twinpack, apparently the burden is on the customer, not the cashier to check that it is a correct twinpack. Of course as the consumer you have no way of double checking before buying this
brush up on the Freedom of Information Act rather than relying on receipts
Absolutely appalling customer service from M&S and it has lost you thousands of pounds in future revenue over the next sixteen years. When most businesses bend over backwards to help new mums, it seems that M&S like to make it just that little bit more difficult.