To tell them to stuff their £10!!!

(50 Posts)

I bought 'hi float' helium balloons for DS's birthday last month... I arrived to collect them and they were not yet inflated, the girl made them up and I followed the instructions she gave me. I left the shop at 4.30pm. The next morning they were on the floor sad.

I sent the following complaint to the company before 8.45am the following morning:

Dear Sir/Madam,
Considering your slogan is 'Quality comes as standard', I am only further annoyed that the 'hi float' helium balloons I purchased from your shop late yesterday afternoon have not even lasted until morning. According to Hi Floats website it should last up to 25 times longer.... not in this case. This has wasted a birthday surprise.
Unless you can convince me otherwise I genuinely can't see a decent reason to either shop with you or recommend your services again, rather the opposite.
Mrs 'I can see'.

As no reply I returned to the shop and expressed my frustration. I was told as I had no receipt I had no chance of a refund or replacement. I was not given a receiptangry.

I finally got a reply on Wednesday (over 3 weeks later):

"There may have been a hundred reasons your balloons failed to stay afloat but I understand that you would blame the retailer first. We don't own Hi-Float but merely suggest you use it to enhance the longevity of the Balloon. After goods leave the store anything could have happened to perhaps you Pierced the balloon allowing it to slowly deflate.
Quality does come as standard at XXX - all goods purchased are of the best quality, I can confirm however that if there had been a Legitimate fault with one of our products we would have been happy to have credited you the cost or exchanged the damaged item should you have
returned to one of our stores in XXX where we have two stores with one open to 7pm 5 days a week. You failed to do this."

I responded:
I was not given a receipt and you have taken over three weeks to contact me with a passive aggressive response. My opinion of your company is now lower than ever.

Their response:
Retailers are trying to do there best to survive on the high street. and as an local based company we try harder than others to please. we are not manufacturers of product but merely a middle man passing goods from supplier to consumer. if there had been a fault with your product then why didn't you return it??? I am sure if you had purchased a sweater from M&S and there had been a problem you would have taken it back? why not a Balloon? we understand your disappointment but its not XXX's fault your helium Balloon deflated after you left our store. we don't sell deflatable balloons you know. I am sincerely sorry that you feel the way you do and I guess as a customer we just couldn't satisfy you. I do hope the next retailer you visit does a better job for you.

I responded:
I did return to the shop and I was told my lack of receipt meant they could do nothing. Sadly there are many more XXX based companies who offer better service and quality. I shall continue to give them my custom.

Their response:
"Once Again I am sorry this has happened however it is company policy that receipts need to be shown to receive a refund or credit as is the policy with most retailers. however since you have came on to us and had a good old rant that as company MD i apreciate in order to improve our service. can i ask you please print this reply and present it to the store manager who will as a gesture of good will whether you shop with us again or not supply you with £10 worth of free cards.
Please accept my sincere apologies
On behalf of XXX
Store Manager -please attach this to paperwork and send to NC at head office."

So WIBU to tell them to shove it?!?!?!

You are unreasonable to be buying them.

And that's all I have to say.

wonderingsoul Fri 23-Aug-13 21:43:13


did you buy it by debit or credit?

I wouldn't, I'd take the voucher. I'm not sure what you are expecting from them. Admittedly they should have given you a receipt, but most shops will refuse a refund without one. How much did the balloons cost. £10 should cover them, shouldn't it?

I paid cash and they were £13.50. Not a big deal but the tone of the correspondence has left a bad taste.

Hegsy Fri 23-Aug-13 21:46:41

YWNBU to tell them to shove it. What an atrocious attitude!

PoppyWearer Fri 23-Aug-13 21:49:57

I've had latex balloons in the past filled with helium and all have flopped the following day, as you describe.

Got some last week with hi-float and a week later, still going pretty strong, am amazed.

Sounds like they screwed yours up somehow? I wonder if they forgot the hi-float?

ThursdayLast Fri 23-Aug-13 21:50:55

Name and shame them!
They would treat a customer like this over £13.50?!?!?
My mind boggles how some retailers stay in business.

IAmNotAMindReader Fri 23-Aug-13 21:51:02

YABU helium is a finite resource and as such is becoming more expensive and profit margins are smaller. I am seeing less and less wholesale companies offering helium canisters. The result is some outlets supplying inflated balloons and merchandise seem to have adopted an it wasn't me approach to sales which is most off-putting. At the same time they are demanding exclusivity of the products ie don't inflate a balloon not bought from them. The result is a little snarly like a resource guarding dog.

WeAreSix Fri 23-Aug-13 21:51:59

The tone of your first contact would've got my back up TBH. You can complain in a much friendlier tone and still express disappointment - I think if you'd addressed them better in the first place you would have had a better outcome.

Out of interest, what would you have liked them to do?

IAmNotAMindReader Fri 23-Aug-13 21:52:09

Sorry that sounds like I am excusing poor customer service I'm not, a lot are pretty bad. The YABU bit is in buying helium in the first place.

I bought a helium Peppa Pig balloon for a £5 at the Bristol Balloon Festival in the middle of August last year and it lasted until end of October before finally hitting the ground! I thought that was pretty good value for money!

WeareSix, I was very annoyed (which is unlike me) but they are a business and should not, in my opinion, address me in that way.

The outcome I wanted was a simple replacement, as I asked when I went into the shop. Not exactly something I needed a month later.

We got some laytex ones from another retailer in May... they lasted almost a month!!!

Letitsnow9 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:08:00

Did you watch them being done? Sounds to me like they forgot the high float part. Common for latex ones to deflate over night if not treated with the high float. The least they could do is give you your £13.50 back. For that small amount of money you would think they would like repeat business rather than driving a customer away!

sameoldIggi Fri 23-Aug-13 22:09:39

I would like to know where you shopped! Helium balloons are usually bought the day before you need them, staying up for 24hours should be a basic expectation. You do not need a receipt legally to get a refund for faulty goods.
I think we get extra annoyed at anything that disappoints our dcs.

SameoldIggi - you have summed it up just right. It was a surprise for Ds and that is what upset me.

I didn't see them being made up. They had forgotten to do it (I booked them a week before) and asked if I could come back in 30min... so I ran and did a few other things in town.

It was a national shop.

nannynewo Fri 23-Aug-13 22:17:02

Op, did you copy the e-mails word for word? I have noticed they used 'there' rather than 'their' which IMO is very bad of them as they are sending a formal company letter.

I could be wrong though, my grammar isn't totally up to scratch ;)

MammaTJ Fri 23-Aug-13 22:19:35

You are unreasonable to be buying them.

Blame the victim much?

I copied and pasted them... although I did XXX out the company name and location.

There was no Dear Mrs X or Regards etc from them.

Turniptwirl Fri 23-Aug-13 22:33:21

Tbh I almost can't believe any shop would send that response

WeAreSix Fri 23-Aug-13 22:38:36

I'd be cross and annoyed too. My best outcomes of complaints (love a good complaint letter, I do!), are from using a lighter tone.

The responses are crap though. Have you seen the CEO list online? My next move would be an email to the CEO with the badly written replies. Hopefully you'll get a refund.

WillyandTig Fri 23-Aug-13 22:46:48

Tbf, you're original complaint comes across as though you are past the point of seeing sense. If you'd sent a simple polite but firm letter, you'd have probably got a refund and a voucher. The best rules for complaints that I've read are keep it brief and follow the complaint, compliment, compensation format. Always works.

WillyandTig Fri 23-Aug-13 22:47:07

Your* (grrr at self)

arethereanyleftatall Fri 23-Aug-13 22:50:18

Whilst their customer service has indeed been shoddy, the tone of your first email would not have helped.
When I worked in customer service, a sarcastic opener and threatening end never goes down we'll.
Just be nice, say their product fell short, and you'll find your complaints get a better response.

AndHarry Fri 23-Aug-13 23:07:33

I had a helium balloon given to me in hospital that we popped finally deflated earlier this year, 18 months after my admission. Get yourself to the Royal Free gift shop next time grin

Oh and YABU to buy helium balloons. Hypocrite much given the above. Helium is fast running out and is a critical consumable in such trifles as CT scanners...

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Fri 23-Aug-13 23:13:11

They were about as reasonable and measured to you as you were to them. hmm

Cheddars Fri 23-Aug-13 23:17:28

Completely off topic but...

Helium is running out?????

Who knew shock

AndHarry Fri 23-Aug-13 23:24:34

The Independent on the helium shortage. From what I remember from reading about it a while ago, helium can't be manufactured.

Helium is vital in medicine, it is in short supply, and people on this planet use it in balloons to surprise little children with. <dismay>

And if the dratted balloons dont stay up, people behave like it is the end of the world.

Which in fact it will be, if we continue wasting Helium on kids birthday parties.

We are all doomed. angry

OP, I congratulation you on being Ignorant, Bitchy and Tenacious. I suspect, also bored and with nothing of importance to put your mind to.

WeAreEternal Fri 23-Aug-13 23:32:40

Name and shame please.

I bought few foil helium balloons from a local Birthdays shop and they all deflated within a few hours, I took them back to the shop the next morning and the woman was very apologetic and gave me replacements straight away.
It turned out that she had forgotten to tape down the 'seal' which they usually do.
The replacement balloons lasted weeks, DS was very impressed.

Quintessentialolddear 'OP, I congratulation you on being Ignorant, Bitchy and Tenacious. I suspect, also bored and with nothing of importance to put your mind to.' :- you are a delight hmm.

I will happily PM anyone the company name.

mycatlikestwiglets Sat 24-Aug-13 04:33:29

I think part of the problem OP is that you didn't say in your original email (or any of the others it seems) that you wanted a refund - you just had a rant. You don't need a receipt for a refund on faulty goods so that's what you should have focused on. Their correspondence was pretty poor though I agree!

JenaiMorris Sat 24-Aug-13 04:59:37

Quint's right. Your approach hasn't helped matters at all. And the helium thing.

WafflyVersatile Sat 24-Aug-13 05:07:21

Yes anyone who didn't know there was an issue with helium supplies is a bitch.

Definitely their fault for buying something readily available in the high street. Not the fault of govts for not regulating its sale, or actively selling it at rock bottom prices. Our the gas companies for not collecting it. Yes.

WhatAFunnyPotato Sat 24-Aug-13 05:59:24

"...since you have come on to us and had a gold old rant..." shock

Name and shame - seriously, an appalling attitude like that deserves to be outed, and publicly too.

Doesn't matter that the OP's original note to them was...strongly worded. The company should have tried to be as helpful and apologetic as possible. Not sure where the law stands but it sold you faulty goods and it's up to them - not you - to take up the issue with the manufacturer.

WhatAFunnyPotato Sat 24-Aug-13 06:00:07

good oops

BonaDrag Sat 24-Aug-13 06:04:59

Your complaint letter was the wrong tone. But the shop sucks.

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Sat 24-Aug-13 06:08:53

I would take the 10 pounds off them. The only way to send a message to a shoddy retailer is to hit them in the pocket.

JumpingJackSprat Sat 24-Aug-13 07:02:01

I thought their reply was quite funny. you need to lear. how to word a complaint better ie set out the problem and what you want them to do about it. storm in a teacup.

MortifiedAdams Sat 24-Aug-13 07:08:41

I would have written about disappointment in the product and maybe their supplier has sent a faulty item and as I would now need to replace the items, could they refund me the cost of the faulty baloons please?"

You get better results with the carrot tgan the stick.

SoupDragon Sat 24-Aug-13 07:31:36

TBH, your original letter and subsequent responses were bad.

And I agree with others that people shouldn't be using helium in balloons anyway. I pointed this out to DDs school and they didn't do their usual balloon race at sports day - whether through what I said or just because they decided not to, I don't know.

Helium balloons have now become standard. They used to be just a rare surprise. No wonder helium s now running out.

500internalerror Sat 24-Aug-13 07:42:35

Your email was ranty and offensive in the first instance; would it have hurt to be polite? Ignoring the ethics of wasting precious resources, and hiw cross you were, if you wanted to resolve it you could simply have been polite. Manners get you far further!

DearPrudence Sat 24-Aug-13 07:53:28

Your original email is like a case study in 'how not to complain'. The shop should have replaced or refunded, but you'll get nowhere if you carry on like that.

I think they were extremely rude!! Yes you did not have a receipt, but surely that was an error on their part.
I would suggest getting cheapo balloons from card factory next time. My ds was 2 11 days ago, I bought his balloon 13 days ago and it's still here floating in our lounge, all for a grand total of £2.39 smile

Misspixietrix Sat 24-Aug-13 08:53:01

You Only need a Receipt for Refund. You don't need one if You are Only wishing to exchange. Also as someone Else posted out You don't actually need a refund for faulty goods neither. Look up the Sale of Goods Act. I'm thinking specifically along the lines of Fit for purpose. The Shop was wrong they Should have at least replaced the faulty ones. I would have told you to take the £10 but given the attitiude I would take it Further. Did You e-mail the Head Office originally? If not I would copy All these e-mails and send them on ~

Montybojangles Sat 24-Aug-13 08:56:07

Do they have a fb page or twitter feed? Post in detail just how crap their balloons were, AND how negative their customer services are. Bet their tone changes when they think potential customers are reading negative stuff about them.

Floatsyourboat Sat 24-Aug-13 09:22:27

You do know you can buy canisters of helium online and make your own balloons! For £30 I filled a living room with balloons for my daughters birthday and the buggers stayed up for weeks! My kids were giving them away in the end.
Obviously if I had known about the helium shortage I would not have bothered although I do still have loads of helium left in the canister...ICE? Not that I would know how to use it lol

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