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View Full Version : What is the point of a policy is you don't enforce it?


Dave1982
12-01-2006, 03:25 AM
This could fall under "Sucky Customers" or "Cursing Out Co-Workers" as it involves both.

My very first customer of the day today was a woman looking to return a $50 piece of software (some sort of clip-art, print shop thing). She claimed it did not have everything listed on the box, specifically, the "sound and music clips."

Software Return Policy: Unopened software can be returned at any time for a full refund. We will gladly exchange opened software for the same title.

This of course means that you can NOT get a refund or a store credit for opened software. The reasons why should be obvious. If it's opened, we can only give you another of the same.

Problem #1: The software was clearly opened (tape was cut).

Problem #2: NO WHERE on the box did it say ANYTHING about sounds or music.

So after noticing problem #1, I heaved an inner sigh and braced myself for a storm. Luckily, one of the electronics guys (we'll call him Jeff) was nearby and heard the whole thing and jumped in to explain that we can not accept opened software returns (thus taking the heat himself. Thank you!)

SC: That's ridiculous! How are we supposed to know if it will work for us without opening it?

Jeff: Well, once it's opened and used, the registration codes become worthless, so we can't resell it (GOOD answer. Not the real one, but a good way to put it withotu accusing the customer of stealing).

SC: But it didn't have everything it says it has! (um, no).

Jeff: Well, I can't guarantee anything, but I'll check with the manager *runs off to fetch GM, who we'll call Steve*

Steve: Software return?

Jeff: Yes, but it's opened.

Steve: That's ok, just take it back (WTF!)

SC (to Steve): It didn't have everything listed on the box

Steve: OK

Now, while this all was happening, I was reading the box. As I said, it said nothing about sounds or music.

Me: Where does it say that, ma'am? I don't see that on here.

SC: It said it on the display

Another lie. The only software displays we have are shippers. There was no shipper for this item, so the only "display" would have been the shelf tag, which lists only the name, price, and SKU. No desciption.

Steve: Just do the return.

WTF! What is the point of having a return policy (or any policy) if you are just going to allow an exception every time someone complains? I mean really. You may as well not have the policy. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Steve then proceeded to give Jeff a lecture about good custerm service, and that we aren't going to piss anyone off over $50 or $60. Jeff shrugged this off. I mean, where do we draw the line? $100? $1000? Policies exist for a reason, and software is the one thing we should NEVER compromise on. I don't care how cheap it is. :rant:

Idiots.............

dizzy_starshine
12-01-2006, 03:45 AM
All my managers in all my retail jobs have done this. The worst was at a deli where we were told to NEVER put both garlic butter and tomato sauce on a pizza base then seal it. The sauce ran off the butter and caused a fire hazard on the sealant machine. Customer asks for it, customer gets a sealant machine on fire and a manager saying customer is always right.

At my current pharmacy we have blood pressure monitors where people aren't holding the button down long enough to turn it on. Manager says refund them EVEN when a staff member turns it on infront of them and shows the customer how to do it.

powerboy
12-01-2006, 03:56 AM
That is what I hate about managers, they only care about the money that they will get. With me, if they say that their DVD doesn't work, then I have a TV, to try it on. And if it doesn't work for us, then they will get their money back. I don't know why, other stores can't do that, also.

friendofjimmyk
12-01-2006, 02:41 PM
GRRR!!! That makes me so angry when crap like that happens.

Where I work, in this lovely call center environment - there are 300 + employees and 15 supervisors and 4 operations managers and one director. Every sup operates differently. When I was a call taker, I would adamantly stand by policy only to have a supervisor make a "one-time exception" to the policy for our lovely member!

Demonoid Phenomenon
12-01-2006, 03:44 PM
This was always a sore point in my retail days.
I understand exceptions can be made (and sometimes I can see the point), but to disregard a policy just because someone gets all uppity and acts like they're better than everyone else...?
No.
I know that some companies would rather give in and retain that customer, but, in my personal opinion, a customer worth keeping recognizes policy and doesn't act like a three-year-old to get around it.

MadMike
12-01-2006, 03:50 PM
And as if that wasn't bad enough, Steve then proceeded to give Jeff a lecture about good custerm service, and that we aren't going to piss anyone off over $50 or $60.

And I'm willing to bet that if he had just accepted the return, he would gotten reamed for that as well.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. :rolleyes:

Becks
12-01-2006, 04:51 PM
in my personal opinion, a customer worth keeping recognizes policy and doesn't act like a three-year-old to get around it.

I share your opinion. I should makes signs to hang around work that says that.

batmoody
12-01-2006, 05:01 PM
If it is policy, and a manager tells me to do it anyway, I refuse. I tell the customer that the manager will take care of it for them, and hand it over to the overly enthused manager. We have had employees get fired for some pretty petty "policy" issues. Plus I am one of the old timer first tiered union wage workers,which means I make more than most of the others who do my exact same job ever will, (they've already tried to buy us out once....), so I firmly beleive in covering my own ass. I have pissed managers off by doing this before, but funny I haven't been reprimanded or written up. For following store policy? The one you made me sign that I would follow? Yeah ok, good luck with that! :wave:

MissVendetta
12-01-2006, 06:16 PM
I used to work in a book shop that was part of a department store. The store was a separate unit but located close to the department store and the spineless guy that was the manager of the department store was the boss of the bookshop's own, not-so-spineless manager.
So once in a while we had a SC who wouldn't agree to book shop's (and the department store's, come to think of it)policies, they would contact mr. No-spine and he would be like "give this lovely lady her money back, oh, and a voucher for our coffee shop". Every freaking time mr. Spineless would agree to anything. After convincing SC for 45 minutes that no, we won't do a refund because:
a) you have no receipt
b) you admit yourself that you bought this book over a year ago and
c) you don't actually remember buying the book from us
d) the book is marked so we can't resell it
e) what kind of reason to return a book is that you found it in your bookshelf while cleaning up the house, decided you didn't need it anymore and thought you could make a little money out of it?? Have you heard about antiquarian bookshops that buy and sell?Do you know the difference between them and regulas book shops like us?
I say we cannot do a refund, assistant manager says nope, no refund and the manager of the book shop says no refund and there's no way we'll ever take that back. End of story? No, SC goes to Big-boss-no-guts and you'll guess ´what happens next.
Managers like that cause SC's to be even more sucktacular, because they know that someone will give in. It's like rewarding bad bahaviour and that's just wrong.:rant:

greensinestro
12-01-2006, 06:32 PM
This is a story that makes others mad, I'm sure. All this customer has to do now is tell their friends and family what happened, and then everyone can be under a safe umbrella when it comes to returning software and other items with this policy. Sounds to me like no matter what the facts were in this case, such as this customer did not read the box correctly and was obviously a liar, they got whatever they wanted and walked out knowing they'd pulled one over on you. It's really embarrassing in that case because you know this type of customer is gloating and smiling, knowing you're the one who was made to look bad.

I agree. When does the line get drawn in cases like this? Probably never.

greensinestro
12-01-2006, 06:41 PM
GRRR!!! That makes me so angry when crap like that happens.

Where I work, in this lovely call center environment - there are 300 + employees and 15 supervisors and 4 operations managers and one director. Every sup operates differently. When I was a call taker, I would adamantly stand by policy only to have a supervisor make a "one-time exception" to the policy for our lovely member!

"One time exceptions" mean diddly squat. When I was an operator for Bellsouth, we had managers who did this. One day, this guy called in from a payphone, stated he had no more money and needed his call connected, billing it to his home number. The very next day, he called in again, and the same manager gave him another "one time exception" after I explained to her this was the same guy from the day before. The really funny part of this story is this guy's billing number, the one he said was his home number, was completely different from the day before! He wasn't a snowbird or some rich guy with more than one home, he was a thief billing calls to numbers that did not belong to him. Yet, this manager still allowed it.

When will the line be drawn?

captainvegetable02
12-01-2006, 06:43 PM
Stories like this make me glad the the store I now work in has a pretty loose return policy (we sell cosmetics & hair care products). Even if stuff is opened and used, it can be returned or exchanged if the customer wasn't satisfied with the product. Within reason, of course....we won't take back a completely empty shampoo bottle that a customer decided they didn't like after using it all up. But if they tried some hair gel that just didn't do what it says, or an eyeshadow color that looks awful, they can bring it back as long as we can tell they only tried it a couple of times. We even give refunds on used items if the customer has their original receipt. No receipt, exchange only. And not only that, ONLY managers can do returns, so all I have to do is page a manager when a customer wants to do a return, and I never have to hear about it again. :D

greensinestro
12-01-2006, 06:56 PM
How about sales on alcohol? Many liquor stores won't accept returns on wine, beer, or hard liquor because of this stuff. Once my dad saw a guy at Publix who came in with an empty, not full, bottle of wine with a cockroach in the bottom of the bottle. Everyone in line knew this guy put that roach in there, yet he was allowed a free new bottle of wine, after he drunk the entire thing! What's next? Wendy's refunding customers for eating an entire hamburger, swallowing it, digesting it, pooping it out the old wazoo, then saying they hated the taste?

MadMike
12-01-2006, 08:58 PM
What's next? Wendy's refunding customers for eating an entire hamburger, swallowing it, digesting it, pooping it out the old wazoo, then saying they hated the taste?

Interestingly enough, one of the fast food chains -- and I think it was Wendy's, but I might be mistaken -- introduced a new sandwich, and had a commercial for it that offered a "one bite guarantee", that stated that if you took one bite and didn't like it, they'd give you your money back. There was even a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen that stated that the guarantee would not apply if more than one bite was taken.

I can only imagine how many headaches that one caused. :rolleyes:

dendawg
12-01-2006, 09:11 PM
I can only imagine how many headaches that one caused. :rolleyes:

No doubt...I'm sure there were some people that tried to stuff 3/4 of the thing in their mouths and count that as one bite. :runaway:

MadMike
12-01-2006, 09:15 PM
No doubt...I'm sure there were some people that tried to stuff 3/4 of the thing in their mouths and count that as one bite. :runaway:

Actually, a buddy of mine could stuff a whole Burger King Whopper in his mouth and eat it in one bite. It was something to see, and it taught us all to keep our hands away from his mouth. :lol:

greensinestro
12-01-2006, 09:28 PM
Interestingly enough, one of the fast food chains -- and I think it was Wendy's, but I might be mistaken -- introduced a new sandwich, and had a commercial for it that offered a "one bite guarantee", that stated that if you took one bite and didn't like it, they'd give you your money back. There was even a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen that stated that the guarantee would not apply if more than one bite was taken.

I can only imagine how many headaches that one caused. :rolleyes:

I can only imagine myself. Joe Schmo probably got 14 free bites before he was ejected. Meanwhile, he's had a complete meal.

tenaciousb
12-04-2006, 02:15 AM
Interestingly enough, one of the fast food chains -- and I think it was Wendy's, but I might be mistaken -- introduced a new sandwich, and had a commercial for it that offered a "one bite guarantee", that stated that if you took one bite and didn't like it, they'd give you your money back. There was even a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen that stated that the guarantee would not apply if more than one bite was taken.

I can only imagine how many headaches that one caused. :rolleyes:

Ugh... Let me just go ahead and turn in my resignation letter now....

Anyway. Yeah that is bullshit. If a manager wants to return it then fine, you get your ass out here and doing it. I was just calling you to check to save you the trip out here when you supposed to say to no.

I once saw my gm return a copy of windows xp home that runs $199 that was purchased about 5 hours prior. I forget what the guys excuse was. But he talked to the same manager prior to buying it. I'm sure he was setting him up the whole time.

I'm just waiting to try see someone return some expensive software with blank cds and cd burner on the same receiipt.

Kiwi
12-04-2006, 04:30 AM
We didnt accept patterns for knitting or sewing either due to copyright

one day I stood firm for over 20 minutes with a customer, pointing out over and over again that it was illegal for her to return it. Its intellectual property, final sale, not going to happen.

Finally the store manager came over and waved me off telling me to return it...so I called her back over and said in front of the customer, If you want to return it and break the law, then you go right ahead, but no way im breaking the law for a total stranger over $3.

The store manager returned it. Great example to set for your employees eh!

greensinestro
12-04-2006, 01:52 PM
We didnt accept patterns for knitting or sewing either due to copyright

one day I stood firm for over 20 minutes with a customer, pointing out over and over again that it was illegal for her to return it. Its intellectual property, final sale, not going to happen.

Finally the store manager came over and waved me off telling me to return it...so I called her back over and said in front of the customer, If you want to return it and break the law, then you go right ahead, but no way im breaking the law for a total stranger over $3.

The store manager returned it. Great example to set for your employees eh!

See? That's the stuff that dreams are made of! You follow the law to the letter, but your supervisors won't just to get rid of a troublemaking customer. You had already kept this customer arguing with you for twenty minutes, probably twenty minutes too long for your manager to deal with, and instead of sticking to his or her guns, it was more profitable to get rid of the trouble so it would not cause other customers to witness this issue.

Go figure.

Kiwi
12-13-2006, 05:59 AM
Go figure.

I suppose its all about what matters more to you, profit, or obeying the law. The pattern was clearly marked with a "final sale stamp" that explained why....

My manager was clearly interested in just getting rid of trouble which is her perogative, but I wouldnt break the law for my own family, let alone some total stranger who is clearly in the wrong for barely over minimum wage.

Would I have been caught, most likely not, but it shouldnt have been an issue in the first place. A work place can not force an employee to break the law (or break policy) The store manager could override policy, I could not.

Dave1982
12-14-2006, 03:48 AM
I just wish that managers would have the spine to just tell people to leave. If they are causing trouble, just tell them to leave. That's it. This whole "preservation of customer base" thing is crap. You just know that these people are going to be the type to shop around anyway with no loyalty whatsoever. Therefore, there's really no loss. If I had the authority to do so, I'd be throwing out at least 3 or 4 people per week for being jerks.

DesignFox
12-14-2006, 04:06 AM
If only it were that simple Dave1982....if only it were that simple. You guys should try management sometime...it's a whole new barrel of monkeys.

Although, I agree with one thing, in the case of breaking the law, manager should NOT have given in to customer demand. There are laws and certain policies that should NOT be broken and those policies are there to protect you- stand behind them and use them to your advantage when necessary!

When I managed, I was the sneaky manager- I liked to make the customer *think* I was giving in to their stupid demands...but really I was charging them more than they would have paid had they been honest/nice/polite, OR I follow policy to the letter even if their complaint is legit---(a.k.a. you get 1 free photo for your inconvenience if your an asshole, whereas, for example... a really really nice family had problems twice when they came to the store- the gave us a 3rd shot anyway, and never complained. I remembered what happened to them the first two times, and that they hadn't caused a scene, and they left with about 40 bucks worth of extras, not to mention an apology and a thank you for giving us the benefit of the doubt).

I'm calculating when it comes to that sort of thing. I don't like rewarding bad behavior, but I don't want to lose my job, either. I also HATE when as a manager, you DO stick to policy, and customer service, your DM or whoever rewards the asshole later anyway. Just easier to get rid of them- they actually get less that way. Or if you're me- find a way to screw 'em and have them smile and thank you for it... :devil:

Dave1982
12-14-2006, 04:45 AM
I know. Still, one would think that the higher-ups - who don't have to deal with custoemrs face to face - would be able to be more disconnected and just say "that's the policy" and not worry about someone getting violent on them or anything. That being the case, they'd actually be able to back you guys up, thus allowing you do to the right thing with these nitwits.

Yes, I know, if only it were that easy.:cry:

powerboy
12-14-2006, 08:04 AM
if only it were that simple. You guys should try management sometime...it's a whole new barrel of monkeys.




That is so true.

Once at my shop. The owner returned an open DVD, without checking, and after it was checked, the disc's were blanked. Oh well it was only $5.00, it was a lesson learned for them to always check it.

HYHYBT
12-14-2006, 09:19 AM
I've never heard, except here on CS, about any *law* against *giving refunds* on copyrighted material. With easily copied, expensive items like software it's good business sense, and it may well be in some contract between the seller and the supplier, and certainly it's illegal for the customer to make a copy to keep and return the original, but that's not the same thing. After all, books (you know, those old-fashioned stacks of paper attached to each other along one end) are covered by copyright law too, and people return those all the time. For that matter, so is the printing on the package that almost anything comes in.

Edited to add one: Most software licenses that I've bothered to read thoroughly, at least for anything I buy a hard copy of, specifically *allow* you to resell it as long as you remove it from your computer and either destroy any backup copies or pass them along to the buyer. And returning it to the store for a refund is, essentially, selling it to them for what you paid. Again, it's the customer breaking the law (if they really did make and keep a copy; many such return attempts are legitimate) and not the store.

Argabarga
12-14-2006, 01:47 PM
I just wish that managers would have the spine to just tell people to leave. If they are causing trouble, just tell them to leave. That's it. This whole "preservation of customer base" thing is crap. You just know that these people are going to be the type to shop around anyway with no loyalty whatsoever. Therefore, there's really no loss. If I had the authority to do so, I'd be throwing out at least 3 or 4 people per week for being jerks.

I really wish more managers and more companies would recognize how harmful it is to keep a customer who is being a pain in the long run vs. losing a sale in the short run.

Yes, from a corporate standpoint, allowing someone to make a scene or to be needlessly difficult with employees who are trying to be helpful if it means 1 more buck in the till seems like a good idea. It's 1 more buck than you had before that person came in. You made money, that's the goal of your buisiness.

But why, oh why, can they not see that in the long run, in going after that dollar they are costing themsevles much more. Forcing an employee to have to take abuse demoralizes them, no human being works more effectively in such a condition.

A demoralized employee

- will not give 100% of thier effort
- will not be cheerful, happy or in a good mood, even around good customers
- will feel no obligation to do anything beyond their black-and-white job description
- will feel unappreciated, ignored, and will have no loyalty as a result
- will be made to feel incompetent when policy and proceedure they have done correctly is undone on the whim of managment.
- will cost the company far more to have to train a replacement when they finaly quit in disgust than all the minor sales you lose by pissed of SC's not getting thier way

The final thing that drove me to quit my department was not the hours, not the pay, not even the customers per se, but the fact that the rules were bent to the customer's wishes time and time again, even when those demands were patenly inappropriate, the more you whined and complained, the more likely you were to get your way. I was forced to apologize for things that were not my mistakes, they were not even mistakes, period. I was told to break the very policy that I was expected to know the letter of and was drilled on time and time again. It also inexcusibly involved mangament backing out of things I was promised becuase in some cases 1 customer didn't like the system. Specificaly, when the delivery system was instituted, I signed on with the condition that I would not have to carry cash, or accept checks, that delivery hours would be set, a deadline would be in place for ordering if you wanted same day delivery, that customers would be billed via credit card and all I'd have to do is make the final hand-off of medication.

Lo and behold, not 3 days into the system, all those promises were broken,
and that was it. After 3 years of it, I couldn't stand to see the whiney, the rude, and the outright wrong rewarded.

Yes, this is a rant fest, but, it's the Number 1 problem in customer service these days, managment must learn, demoralized employees are not productive or loyal employees, and nothing will demoralize faster than creating an environment where there is no concept of "unreasonable request"

cheese
12-14-2006, 02:02 PM
Thats why I always call over a supervisor or manager as soon as a customer starts to argue. If they ask if they can do something or get a discount or whatever, I'll say that we can't do that once, if they complain or ask again I'll get someone over straight away. Then its up to the supervisor to either bend the rules and get in trouble for it - or to take the shouting from the customer when they also say no (I don't get paid enough to put up with that!)

To be honest I really don't care whether a customer gets what they want or not, it doesn't make any difference to me whatsoever. The bit I can't stand though is if you do try to argue with them, then a manager gives into them anyway, is the smug look they give you afterwards, with the "See, I told you it was OK, you just don't know how to do your job" while I just sit there clenching my fists :mad:

Lace Neil Singer
12-14-2006, 05:46 PM
At the garden centre, we had an interesting situation. The Idiot Manager would try to make employees cave in to whiny SCs; however, I always refused point blank to do so if the request was either unreasonable or against store policy. And you know what? I was safe in that fact, cuz the boss was dead against handing over refunds unless the customer had a receipt and a broken item. Otherwise, they got store credit and no amount of whining or complaining changed that rule. So, anyone who bent these rules risked getting a bollocking; so, I refused every time to do a refund if a customer didn't follow the rules, and said to the IM every time, "You want to give this customer a refund, so you do it. Cuz I'm not losing my job over this." And, cuz he feared the boss, he'd then have to explain to said ranting customer exactly why he couldn't give them the refund he'd previously promised. I used to wish he'd do it anyway and then get the sack, but sadly that never happened.

CrazedClerk
12-14-2006, 06:02 PM
I deal with PC software too, I am so thankful I have a manager with a backbone who admantly refuses any opened PC return. He has been known to cave once in awhile if it's a console game, but he usually stands his ground.

tenaciousb
12-15-2006, 12:45 AM
Edited to add one: Most software licenses that I've bothered to read thoroughly, at least for anything I buy a hard copy of, specifically *allow* you to resell it as long as you remove it from your computer and either destroy any backup copies or pass them along to the buyer. And returning it to the store for a refund is, essentially, selling it to them for what you paid. Again, it's the customer breaking the law (if they really did make and keep a copy; many such return attempts are legitimate) and not the store.

Thats not like reselling the same thing back to the store.

If you bought a used car, even if it had 20 miles on it, you'd be significantly less then if it were brand new from the original seller. Another person would be stupid to pay full price for opened, thus used, software. Why should the store hand full price back to the customer for a software that at the very least, has to go back to the manufacturer to be repackaged.

Sometimes the manufacturer will say they will take back your product within 30 days if the customer isn't satisfied. Hey thats fine. Then they can take it to the manufacturer. I like it when customers confuse who is the store and who is the manufacturer. They're gonna have to ship it back to them on their dime, and wait 4-6 weeks for a check like everybody else.

Dips
12-15-2006, 03:32 PM
Sometimes the manufacturer will say they will take back your product within 30 days if the customer isn't satisfied. Hey thats fine. Then they can take it to the manufacturer.

Exactly. Our company manufactures software and we will take it back up to 90 days; the customer is not re-imbursed for shipping and must pay to ship it back before he gets a refund. Since we have activation, it's also quite easy for the customer to verify with us that he has either removed the software or never activated it. We then retire the serial number and it becomes useless.

If the customer bought from a reseller, it's a bit more complicated, but still possible. The reseller has to contact us and we work with him. If the reseller decides to return the software to stock and resell it, we will kill the returned serial number and issue him a new one to sell electronically. If the reseller wants a credit, he pays to ship it back.

It works out pretty well for everyone this way. The only problem seems to be the suprising number of folks who try to return it after 90 days. Our record was a year and that jerk actually got some money back. :(

HYHYBT
12-17-2006, 07:40 AM
Why should the store hand full price back to the customer for a software that at the very least, has to go back to the manufacturer to be repackaged.

They shouldn't, of course. I never said otherwise. But it's only stupid, not illegal. Certainly stores take returns that they cannot sell or get credit for, or where the customer took out the one piece they needed first. Car dealers certainly *could* let people return new cars after a week for full price, despite their now used status. They don't because it would be stupid and would fast put them out of business, not because of any law against it. For that matter, stores could, legally, issue refunds without getting the product back at all.

Ackee
12-23-2006, 10:18 PM
My manager does this all the time.
I have found a sneaky way to cope.When they come in expecting the rules to be changed, repeat the policy. Whatever they say, look blankly and repeat the policy.
Ignore them and break eye contact, if they ask you again, wait. Think, then repeat the policy in different way. If they ask to speak to the manager. Tell them to wait. Pull them to one side wait for as long as possible before you call one.:devil:
It ruffles their feathers and if they get to speak to the manager they are no longer able to hold a manipulative frame of mind and you don't need to spend endless time reasoning with a dummy.

However, I must say you don't know what is in the box unless you open it. They should at least get a credit note and you should tell them when they buy it.