The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Just by remembering what the title is, it reminds me of the bad and the ugly.

Are we, the society, giving the consumers too much “rights”?

Consumer advocates will say that consumers are not given a lot in life, but seriously, any self-respecting person will know that.

What we, as the retailer has discovered is that for all the bad and the ugly, there is also inherently good among the consumers. We have consumers who wants us to survive and their actions really do speak louder than words.

One of our new customers yesterday asked why we get unreasonable customers after witnessing an altercation between retailer and consumer. He was quite happy with our service. He asked for cash price, so we give him the discount and he was very happy.

Visualising a scenario where a customer tests for an hour, occupying the salesperson’s time, and the customer asks for a ridiculous price discount, depriving the salesperson of his commission in taking time and effort to serve. We even told the the customer a week earlier that B&O only sells Beoplay H3 in iOS-compatible volume controller remote. We serve to the best of our knowledge that the pricelist provided to us was accurate and up-to-date information.

The customer bought it, using credit card facilities which charge us a nominal 2.65%. At that point, we informed her that the B&O Beoplay H3 is only iOS compatible and that the volume controls will not work with her Android phone. She accepted it and thus made the purchase.

A week later, she returned and demanded a refund and an exchange for the Android-compatible model that she saw online. Well, this is the ‘Bad’. How do u give a refund for a used product that is not defective?

After verification with the distributor we bought from, apparently this model is not available in Singapore. So, the question is, how do we exchange a product that doesn’t theoretically exists in the inventory of our distributor’s store?

The Ugly?

The customer insists we refund her the money. We informed her that there will be a deduction of a nominal amount due to credit card charges. The customer refuses to comply with our wishes for that mere $5 deduction, and insist that the consumer is always right and that we are cheating her of her money.

We, certainly wishes her all the best in her endeavour  to purchase that product elsewhere.

If the distributor do not carry stock for this model, where does this stock came from?

I did a search online, and yes, we found a mobile phone shop in Far East Plaza selling this model. The price stated was $298, now selling at $178.

The current retail price for B&O Beoplay H3 iOS-compatible is $229.

We also learnt that the B&O Beoplay H3 Android-compatible is a bundled promotion with a new LG phone. So it’s fairly obvious that it was a debundled product and selling for $178, that’s like zero cost. Is there warranty for such a product when the local distributor does not carry this product?

Penny wise and pound foolish?

Not wanting to continue serving such an unreasonable (she claims she’s educated) customer, we refunded her the money without the $5 credit card charges deduction as she refuses to accept the deduction. It’s only 5 dollars.

She did ask a question: what would you do in my case…?

I told her that I’m a different breed of person. If the product in question is defective or I bought wrongly, I will throw it away and buy a new one.

My rationale? Because I share an onus of responsibility  for my own actions and will not endanger the livelihood of another (salesperson) by depriving them of their hard-earned commission.

The consumer law exists to help the uneducated and unfortunate in their fight against people who conspires to cheat and swindle. The consumer law should never be utilised as a tool for the “educated” to substantiate for their shortcomings. There are people out there who earned a living by working hard to serve the needs of others, and if you, as a consumer, cannot comprehend that, then the Good, the Bad and the Ugly does not apply to you.

Perhaps, we should call such a consumer, the Dastardly.

adieu for now…