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  • June 29, 2016, 06:25:03 AM

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Author Topic: Department Store Registry Woes  (Read 2896 times)

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Fawkes

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Department Store Registry Woes
« on: February 12, 2016, 08:18:47 AM »
The department store at which we registered have put us in an incredibly difficult situation so I was hoping for some advice from you guys as to how to proceed.

We registered for a dinner set (and only a dinner set) with a very well-known UK department store. When we sent invites out we put a tiny note at the bottom with the registry details. I know, technically not ok but we worded it with the usual ‘your presence is more important to us that your presents…’ variation so hopefully you’ll forgive me.

The list opened a few weeks’ ago and people have wonderfully started to buy some bits from it. I got a call from the store today saying the china set we registered for is being discontinued and they wouldn’t be able to fill any of the orders from the list. To be clear, the china set is still being manufactured, they just won’t be stocking it any more. I have pushed them to honour the purchases, but they insist that they can’t. I am mortified. They informed us that the items already bought will be transferred into gift vouchers but I feel so embarrassed that people have bought us gifts that won’t be honoured. We registered less than three weeks ago on January 24th and they tell us this now?

So, we’re in quite the pickle. Do we just do the gift voucher conversion thing and thank people without mentioning the mess up from the department store i.e. as though we received the items they bought? What if they ask to see the set at some point? Do we tell them what happened so they can cancel their orders?

For other people who might go on the list and find it somewhat sparse now – only glassware left – I am hoping that people from my side will get in touch with my Mum to see what’s what as it will look pretty odd. Other than that, I don’t think there’s much more we can do. We don't want to add another set to the list as there's nothing that is to our tastes and the whole reason we created the darn registry with this store in the first place was because they stocked this particular set.

Thoughts would be very gratefully received. 

Tierrainney

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2016, 09:37:42 AM »
I would update your registry at this to remove all the dinner set from it.

Source the dinner set from a different store and tell your Mother and any relatives you have that like to spread news  ;)

If anyone looks at that store, they will see the registry is empty and hopefully contact you, your Mother, etc. as to what is going on. You can then share that you really like this dinner set, but unfortunately the Department store has stopped stocking it. If they ask, then you can share that it is also available from X store.

When I got married, we registered for dinner set from a USA department store, but many of our guests bought it at a different store where it turned out not only to be cheaper, but shipped in much better packaging. we had to return several broken sets that came from department store, but none were broken from other store.
Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

magicdomino

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2016, 09:44:12 AM »
Time to get the Word of Mouth express going. While etiquette strongly discourages public announcements about gifts, it has no problem with quiet comments in the right ears.  Let your closer relatives and friends -- your mother, his mother, bridesmaids, etc. --  know about the problem with the registry at XYZ Store.  If another store or online site has both your china pattern and a registry, create a new registry and spread the word.

Or what Tierrainney said while I was typing.   :)


Dindrane

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2016, 10:12:07 AM »
Is this department store one you shop at otherwise? Because honestly, gift vouchers to a store that doesn't carry the thing you really want are useless unless they do carry other things you would actually plan on buying for yourself. Not just stuff you could buy, but stuff you would buy in the future.

Because the best outcome in all of this is that you take the cash equivalent of what people had tried to spend at the department store, find your dinner set somewhere else, and buy similar pieces yourself. If you can't get actual cash from the department store, but you would have spent an amount equivalent to the gift vouchers there eventually, then you can just use your own money and all is well. But if you wouldn't otherwise have spent that amount of money at the department store, then gift vouchers are rather useless to you and you might consider pressing the store for an alternative solution to this problem.

I'm also curious how many people tried to purchase things off your registry, and how close to you or your fiance they are. And also if the department store would be willing to issue refunds to the original purchasers. Because if a close friend or relative came to me and explained a similar situation, but told me that the store would issue me a refund and they were registering for the same dinner set at a different store, I'd absolutely take that refund and go buy something from the dinner set at the other store. My goal as the gift giver would be to give the bride/groom what they actually wanted, and as long as it wouldn't require lots of convoluted steps for me to get my money back and buy the thing from the other store, I'd be more than happy to do that.

I wouldn't personally be comfortable asking anyone but a close friend or relative to take a refund and use it somewhere else, and I think how I'd react to that as a gift giver would sort of depend on the circumstances. But if there aren't many people who have tried to buy off the original registry, and they're all close enough to you that you talk to them on a regular basis, you might ask the department store if they'll issue refunds to the purchasers if they refuse to issue an actual refund (in money, not gift vouchers) to you.


shortstuff

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2016, 12:33:10 PM »
Because the best outcome in all of this is that you take the cash equivalent of what people had tried to spend at the department store, find your dinner set somewhere else, and buy similar pieces yourself. If you can't get actual cash from the department store, but you would have spent an amount equivalent to the gift vouchers there eventually, then you can just use your own money and all is well. But if you wouldn't otherwise have spent that amount of money at the department store, then gift vouchers are rather useless to you and you might consider pressing the store for an alternative solution to this problem.

I'm also curious how many people tried to purchase things off your registry, and how close to you or your fiance they are. And also if the department store would be willing to issue refunds to the original purchasers. Because if a close friend or relative came to me and explained a similar situation, but told me that the store would issue me a refund and they were registering for the same dinner set at a different store, I'd absolutely take that refund and go buy something from the dinner set at the other store. My goal as the gift giver would be to give the bride/groom what they actually wanted, and as long as it wouldn't require lots of convoluted steps for me to get my money back and buy the thing from the other store, I'd be more than happy to do that.

I wouldn't personally be comfortable asking anyone but a close friend or relative to take a refund and use it somewhere else, and I think how I'd react to that as a gift giver would sort of depend on the circumstances. But if there aren't many people who have tried to buy off the original registry, and they're all close enough to you that you talk to them on a regular basis, you might ask the department store if they'll issue refunds to the purchasers if they refuse to issue an actual refund (in money, not gift vouchers) to you.

This part of Dindrane's post got me thinking.  I'm from the US, so I'm not sure what is common practice in the UK, but the store practices seem shady to me.  In the case of ordered merch not being available, shouldn't the default scenario be to refund the person who spent money to order the merch? 

In any case, i like the suggestions of the  grapevine, but I'd maybe escalate this issue to department store corporate, if possible. 

Mustard

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2016, 12:44:46 PM »
It certainly seems odd!  As you're in the U.K. maybe you could contact

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/

to see what your rights are.

You are experiencing a poor service from this store, something the retail ombudsman can look into.

https://www.theretailombudsman.org.uk/complaints-we-can-deal-with/
« Last Edit: February 12, 2016, 12:53:25 PM by Mustard »

camlan

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2016, 02:31:47 PM »
Because the best outcome in all of this is that you take the cash equivalent of what people had tried to spend at the department store, find your dinner set somewhere else, and buy similar pieces yourself. If you can't get actual cash from the department store, but you would have spent an amount equivalent to the gift vouchers there eventually, then you can just use your own money and all is well. But if you wouldn't otherwise have spent that amount of money at the department store, then gift vouchers are rather useless to you and you might consider pressing the store for an alternative solution to this problem.

I'm also curious how many people tried to purchase things off your registry, and how close to you or your fiance they are. And also if the department store would be willing to issue refunds to the original purchasers. Because if a close friend or relative came to me and explained a similar situation, but told me that the store would issue me a refund and they were registering for the same dinner set at a different store, I'd absolutely take that refund and go buy something from the dinner set at the other store. My goal as the gift giver would be to give the bride/groom what they actually wanted, and as long as it wouldn't require lots of convoluted steps for me to get my money back and buy the thing from the other store, I'd be more than happy to do that.

I wouldn't personally be comfortable asking anyone but a close friend or relative to take a refund and use it somewhere else, and I think how I'd react to that as a gift giver would sort of depend on the circumstances. But if there aren't many people who have tried to buy off the original registry, and they're all close enough to you that you talk to them on a regular basis, you might ask the department store if they'll issue refunds to the purchasers if they refuse to issue an actual refund (in money, not gift vouchers) to you.

This part of Dindrane's post got me thinking.  I'm from the US, so I'm not sure what is common practice in the UK, but the store practices seem shady to me.  In the case of ordered merch not being available, shouldn't the default scenario be to refund the person who spent money to order the merch? 

In any case, i like the suggestions of the  grapevine, but I'd maybe escalate this issue to department store corporate, if possible.

The reason the store isn't just refunding the purchasers, which I agree it should, is that it has the money they spent and it wants to keep the money they spent. Simple as that.

Refunding the original purchasers means they lose the money. Giving cash instead of a store voucher to the OP means they lose the money.

If the UK store is anything like the US store where I used to work, salespeople are tracking on how much they sell. The bride consultant is tracked on how many registries are opened, the dollar/pound value of the things on the registry, etc.

Losing the sale by refunding the money and/or losing the registry by having the OP close it hurts their sales figures, so they try to make that not happen.

I do not know if refunds are a possibility at this store, but the OP should pressure them a bit to see if it can be done. They aren't going to volunteer that option, but they may admit it's a possibility if asked directly.

And the staff in the store probably didn't know that the dinnerware was about to be discontinued. I worked in the home department of a large US department store chain, and while someone in the corporate offices would know what was being discontinued, we did not. We learned when a "closeout" sale sign went up, or we went to order something for a customer and found that we couldn't anymore.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Pooky582

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2016, 03:28:06 PM »
I really don't think it's okay what they are doing. I would contact them again and tell them they are responsible for contacting whoever made the purchases and giving them the option of what to do. Tell them you have no way of knowing who made the purchases, but they do. They could have let you know they couldn't honor the items and ask you to remove them from your registry. And good business practice would have been to provide you with some sort of gift or reward for the trouble it caused. They are putting you in a very awkward position. Are you supposed to wait until the vouchers come, then have to explain to the giver that you have to thank them for something separate? It's not your fault what happened and they are taking the easy way out, while also not losing the money from the sale.

 It seems highly unethical for they to pass over the actual customer and tell the registrants that instead of the gifts they requested, they are getting store vouchers.  In fact, after this situation, I wouldn't want the vouchers because I would no longer be doing business with them. I think of it like this.... If I registered for a crock pot and said store stopped carrying it, and they decided to send me a blender instead, without ever telling the gift giver of the change. Sounds messed up when it's done that way, no?

Maybe it's possible to figure out who had made the orders and have them cancel them and get their money refunded? But again, that should be the stores job.

miranova

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2016, 07:48:49 PM »
OP, have you asked for the money back?  Because I don't see how in any universe it's ok for a company to take money for a product, NOT deliver that product, and then not be willing to refund the actual money.  A gift voucher is an acceptable solution ONLY if that is what you'd prefer over the cash.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2016, 08:37:54 PM »
I think the department store might banking on you having "bridebrain" or being "nice" and not wanting to make waves.  However, they are not holding up their end of the bargain and it's ok for you to insist that they do or make it right.  Also, I bet those gift vouchers will have an expiration date. 

This seems like a pretty clear reason for the purchasers to do a chargeback on their credit card.  Hopefully you've gotten everything in an email, but honestly, most card providers don't need it if you give them a detailed rundown of the situation. 

So I'd contact the store and request that they issue a refund for the discontinued and out of stock items.  If they balk, just let them know that you'll be contacting the purchasers and will recommend that they file a chargeback to their credit cards. 9 times out of 10 the company will fold, because chargebacks almost always go through and they look very bad on their record. 

Maryland

Fawkes

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2016, 03:52:30 AM »
Thanks for the responses all. I think my mind has indeed been clouded by general wedding madness as the more I read them, and, the more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me how outrageous the store is being.

Long story short, I emailed them and told them it was unacceptable for them to not contact the actual buyers of items directly and offer them refunds. They haven’t come back to me yet. My aunt has also done the same (she is one of the people who purchased a gift that is no longer available and was outraged when my Mum told her what had happened). This is a very well-known and usually well respected UK retailer so I am flabbergasted at how this has been handled. I genuinely would have expected more from them.

Regarding our friends and family, my Mum is working on the grapevine and so are the ILs. We’ll just have to hope people don’t think we’re insane for creating a registry with (now) only 5 or so items on it. I’ll keep you posted on what the store say, if anything.

weaselfrance

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2016, 05:00:21 AM »
It might be worth making a comment about this on the company's Facebook page. I had a huge problem with Debenhams a couple of years ago and it took doing this to get my problem sorted. It seems to escalate things when there's a chance of bad publicity. Most, if not all, department stores have FB pages Friends have had success in tweeting the company in similar circumstances, but I don't do Twitter.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2016, 05:21:56 AM »
I agree with posting on social media.  nothing too long, but definitely show how outrageous they're being.  If you don't hear back from them within a week or so, I'd contact your relatives and tell them to go ahead and pursue a chargeback from their credit card company. 

Maryland

saki

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Re: Department Store Registry Woes
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2016, 08:22:39 AM »
If it's the department store that I'm assuming it is, they usually have excellent customer service so this is very strange.  I'd recommend sending them a proper letter in the post and I suspect you'll end up with refunds plus vouchers.