I know not all customer service is this bad, but…

Here’s what got my goat today

I used an online offer code to buy something via The Body Shop’s website – you got a discount and free gift if you spent over X amount. This was something I only bothered to buy online to get the gift, otherwise I’d have gone in store. I had to double check the t&cs to make sure the order I was placing did qualify (since it would only do so if I included the shipping cost), but the t&cs only specified that the order total had to be over X after the discount was applied and didn’t exclude shipping. I was still cautious, but the code was duly accepted at checkout instead of being rejected so I breathed a sigh of relief and placed the order. Woohoo!

Except not woohoo, because when the free gift didn’t arrive and I queried it, guess what they suddenly decided? T&Cs excluded shipping costs, they said.

Well clearly they rely on people not to read the t&cs, but I had and I knew this was a fib (maybe they should have put such a caveat in, I would have, but they didn’t). I explained this in reply. I pointed out that they cannot enforce t&cs which customers are not given due notice of before purchase, and I also pointed out that had my order not met the criteria the code should have been rejected, not accepted and applied thereby giving the customer the impression all’s well. You flubbed up, you didn’t put that clause in when you should, you don’t get to rely on it now. It’s poor business practice all around and not good customer service. I wonder how many people they’ve weaseled out of sending the free gift to on the same line? Great, isn’t it, you encourage people to spend where they otherwise wouldn’t and then bring up some t&c you never mentioned previously to weasel out of giving them the freebie. More profit all round! (I’ll try to believe that this was an oversight and not intentionally underhanded.)

What was the response? A parrot of the first one which didn’t address any of my points. Repeating that it’s in the t&cs again does NOT make it any truer, FYI, and is also not good customer service. Even if you’re not going to uphold a customer’s complaint, you should actually address what’s being said and not copy and paste your responses. That looks mighty daft if somebody’s already picked holes in your previous reply (The Body Shop are by no means the only customer service organisation I’ve seen do this – TalkTalk were spectacularly bad for it as well).

I’ve replied again, but I know what will happen. They will continue to stick to that same verbatim line, ignoring what I say. They like so many others will rely on their customer, as a lone consumer who they can trust is not going to get lawsuit happy over a small goods purchase, to just give in. Thereby ensuring that at the end of the day they still profit from poor practice. The really irritating thing is that it’s going to work, because all I can do is moan at them and that’s hardly likely to shift ’em.

Oh well, at least I can vent on social media! Makes me feel better if nothing else…

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