Debenhams wrestled into sumbmission by Consumer champ Len Dastard

3 May 2011

Bitterwallet-Len-Dastard-featuredHola amigos! It is I, Len Dastard, writing once again for your reading pleasure. I am a full time litigation executive under the guise of a retired Mexican wrestler. I am currently sat in nothing but my mask, dribbling homemade guacamole on my hombrecito and reminiscing about the bank holiday weekend. The highlight for me? The new episode of Doctor Who, or as it is known in Mexico - La Pelirroja con Senos Como Flor del Manzano.

One of our hermanos, Krato, over at HotUKDeals contacted us last week regarding an order that they placed online with Debenhams. You can find the thread in question here.

Briefly, Krato ordered a pair of jeans online with Debenhams and arranged for them to be delivered to his local  store. Remember, the DSR regulations cover you when you are "shopping at a distance". Despite having the goods delivered to the store Krato still shopped online and therefore was able to rely on the DSR. When Krato got home he tried the jeans on and they did not fit.

He therefore sent this email to Debenhams:

I recently purchased some Levis 511 mens jeans from the Debenhams website. I chose them to be delivered to my local Debenhams store, and collected them yesterday (Sunday 27th Apr). Unfortunately the jeans do not fit me despite being my waist size; I usually buy Levis jeans in a 34" waist as they fit me well, however this pair seem to be about 3 sizes too small which is strange.

I would like a refund on the jeans and would prefer to take them back to the store to do this, however I find your refund policy confusing as it states that 50% reductions only entitle an exchange, and the jeans were reduced to £27.07 which is 'supposedly' more than 50% reduction.

Am I still able to receive a full cash refund for them? Also the receipt in the package has £0 next to the price of the jeans, will the store know how much to refund them for despite this?

Then we receive this reply from Debenhams:

I can confirm that any merchandise a customer deems to be unsuitable purchased at a reduced price of 50% or more returned within 28 days with proof of purchase will be offered an exchange only.

The wording on the back of our receipts incorporates this aspect of the policy and notices reflecting this are clearly signed within the departments of the store. The policy does not affect your statutory rights relating to faulty or mis-described goods.

This does not minimise your own concerns, however, and I would like to assure you that the situation regarding the Returns Policy will, as ever, be closely monitored; should we determine that further decisions need to be made, these will be duly carried out.

Now, is the issue here poor customer care or lack of knowledge of consumer law? It is clear from the email Krato sent that he did not make this purchase in-store so therefore Debenhams cannot rely on the exclusion clause on the back of their receipt. I have other issues with this in any event (an exclusion clause on the back of a receipt after purchase?) but these are for another time and a more fitting scenario. Do you think that Debenhams should tell Krato that he could be able to rely on the DSR or would it be fair to say that they should not really have an obligation to do so?

An email was sent back to Debenhams to inform them that their reply was inaccurate and that Krato now realised that he was able to rely on DSR. This reply was received:

I am sorry to hear of the problems you have experienced in ordering through our online ordering service. We strive to ensure each customer?s experience using the service is a positive one, and so I am concerned to learn of your disappointment.

I would like to confirm that due to the long distance selling act, all orders placed online, regardless of the level of discount they have attracted, can be returned to any Debenhams store for a full refund. I apologise for the incorrect information you have been given.

Please be assured that all communication received by our department is formally logged. This customer feedback is then used in future reviews to improve our customer service. I do therefore, thank you for your comments, which I have passed on to senior management at Debenhams.

This case just highlights my belief that anyone who works in a Customer Contact Centre or who is a Customer Service Advisor should have to know the very basics (consumer and retailer protection) of consumer law. There is actually not a great deal to know but it makes a company seem more professional in my opinion.

Anyway, Krato managed to take his jeans back instore for a full refund of the purchase price and will live happily ever after. Well, until the next time he wants to take back an unsuitable item to Debenhams. At least he will now know his rights.

For any other consumer advice or to vent your anger, get in contact with nme, Len Dastard at [email protected] Until next time, permanezca hermoso!

TOPICS:   High Street News


  • Sawyer
    Off-topic slightly, but it seems Debenhams aren't doing very well for jeans sizes. I bought a pair recently which are fantastic, so ordered another two pairs from the same range, in the same size, style and fit - the only supposed difference was the colour. Stupidly I removed the tags and put them in my wardrobe - it wasn't until wearing them a few weeks later that I found they were both at least 4 inches too large. There's not a lot DSR can do when I trusted the size on the label and didn't bother to inspect the goods in the allotted 7 days...
  • charitynjw
  • Len D.
    Hi charitynjw - I am not sure which aspect of the SOGA you would pursue. What were you thinking?
  • charitynjw
    Adios Len (lol), Not fit (no pun intended!) for purpose re waist size?
  • charitynjw
    Au revoir again, Len, How can I link to this thread (auto alert to my email inbox), 'cos I don't want to miss your reply. You know it makes sense, lol!!
  • charitynjw
    No way of editing posts, eh! - good job us BitterWalletians do it right first time, lol!!
  • Len D.
    charitynjw - it has always been my understanding that the "fit for purpose" of the Act was to cover goods that are good enough to do the job that they were designed for. So I am not sure that Krato could take that further. If the jeans were advertised as 32" but they were actually 34" then they could possibly go back to SOGA but under the different heading of the goods not corresponding with the description. I hope that clears it up!
  • charitynjw
    g'day Len, You spotted el deliberate mistake! lol

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