I would like to vent about what I think was poor behaviour by a fashion store I frequent and ask if what they did was illegal and if I should take it any further or if they were within their rights even if it was poor business practice. I hope someone can advise me. I frequent a nice little boutique in Manuka that I won’t identify although it has a sister shop elsewhere in Canberra. I have been going to the more established shop for many years, always found the clothes nice, stuff you don’t find elsewhere and the service friendly and helpful (maybe I have never been served by the owner before, more about that in a minute). Anyway, they recently opened a shop in Manuka and were having a post Christmas sale. During the week, I received an email that said that if I bought 2 items I would receive a further 40% discount and 3 items a further 50% discount and that these discounts applied to sale stock only.
This gave me an impetus to go to the shop so last Wednesday I called in. The lady who served me (not the owner), was just lovely. I picked out a few items from the sale racks and chose three. They all had sale tags on them- an original tag that said for example $120 then a sale tag over the top that said $80. I took this to mean that because I had three items that this would now mean a 50% reduction from the sale price of $80 to $40.
Now, the first trouble was when the sales assistant began scanning the items and removed all the sale tags and the manager/owner (I found out this was her a couple of days later) got her to scan the original prices. I wasn’t playing close attention because it was pouring with rain and my kids were waiting outside and a bit restless so I was watching them. She then told me that one item wasn’t included in the special offer even though it came from a sale rack because it had a different coloured sale tag. I was a bit bemused by this but let it go because I figured it wasn’t worth complaining about.
When I was paying the bill I though it was a bit high but said nothing as the kids were heading towards feral and we needed to go. At home I checked the tags and saw that the 40% had come off the original prices and not the sale prices and to make matters worse, the sale price tags had been removed so I couldn’t even work out what the actually discount should have been because I couldn’t remember exactly what the sale price was. I rang up straight away and the very helpful sales assistant said she had just done what the boss had told her to do and I should come in again when the boss was there and talk to the boss.
So a couple of days later I come in again and talked to the boss. The boss is very patronising and condescending and refuses to say that the discount should come off the sale price. I point out to her that the big sign outside her shop and on my email says, “40% off when you purchase 2 items, 50% off when you purchase 3 items, offer applies to sale stock only” means that it should apply to the price the items are displayed at, namely the sale price and to charge the original price and then take the discount off is illegal at the least, and certainly immoral.
She refuses and then shows me a small A4 sign in the shop that says in font size 6 at the bottom “Discount applies to original price” I am sure this is illegal.
Am I right or is she right?
All the bold and large advertising and the advertising on the clothes themselves implies the discount comes off the sale price. And I can’t guarantee it but I think this small sign wasn’t there when I first went in. I wonder if it appeared after I first rang up. The boss also lied when she said no-one else complained when I know for a fact that at least one other person did.
Then I ask for my goods to be refunded as I feel she has sold them to me under false pretences. She then tells me there is no refund on Sale stock and to, “…toddle off.” Now I am really annoyed. I have spoken politely and civilly and not raised my voice and just tried to express my concern and she has just fobbed me off at every point. Even if she disagrees with me, surely good business practice would say that refunding is the least she could do just to keep me as a customer. Speaking to me like a child is just plain rude when I have spoken civilly to her. I know storming off and saying I will never shop here again is something that shop owners couldn’t care less about (I didn’t do this btw) but her condescending attitude, while other customers were in the shop was really poor.
So, epic, am I wrong? Is she allowed to do this? Or can I take this further? And if so how?
And either way, the sad thing is, I really like the clothes, and have spent a fair bit here over the years, and recommended the shop to others, sadly no more!