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To tell them to stuff their £10!!!

(50 Posts)
ICanSeeTheSeaFromHere Fri 23-Aug-13 21:39:15

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?!?!?!

LaurieFairyCake Fri 23-Aug-13 21:41:33

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?

Justforlaughs Fri 23-Aug-13 21:43:46

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?

ICanSeeTheSeaFromHere Fri 23-Aug-13 21:45:41

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.

Justforlaughs Fri 23-Aug-13 21:57:58

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!

ICanSeeTheSeaFromHere Fri 23-Aug-13 21:58:37

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.

ICanSeeTheSeaFromHere Fri 23-Aug-13 22:00:10

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.

ICanSeeTheSeaFromHere Fri 23-Aug-13 22:11:59

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.

ICanSeeTheSeaFromHere Fri 23-Aug-13 22:13:35

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?

ICanSeeTheSeaFromHere Fri 23-Aug-13 22:20:09

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)

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