Failed to deliver product yet refuses to refund money
APPLE VALLEY, MINNESOTA -- On October 22, 2005, I purchased a baby gate from Burlington Coat Factory. When I got the gate home, it didn’t fit the space for which it was intended. The next day I brought the gate and my receipt back to the store for a refund. I was told the store does not offer refunds for returned merchandise, only in-store credit. Their policy was not clearly posted. I was very upset and asked to talk with a manager. The manager asked me condescendingly, “Didn't you measure the space before purchasing the gate?”. He said they did not have the ability to issue a refund and repeatedly referred to their no refund policy. I told him their policy is not clearly posted and is most certainly not customer friendly.
The store did not have a gate that fit my needs in stock nevertheless, as an attempt to make a bad situation better, I begrudgingly agreed to special order a gate. They applied the money I had paid for the returned gate to the special order gate and I was told I would receive a call in eight to ten weeks. I never received a call.
On June 5, 2006, I called the store and spoke with the assistant manager. I explained the circumstances, gave him the invoice details and requested a refund. He agreed failure to deliver the product was unacceptable and he would immediately issue a refund. He said I should expect to receive documentation in the mail. I never received documentation or a refund.
On September 5, 2006, I spoke with the store manager on the phone. He said his assistant manager would call me back. I never received a call back.
On September 5, 2006 I filed a complaint with the attorney general. I received a response from Burlington Coat Factory's Vice President of Customer Relations dated September 22, 2006, stating I am not entitled to a refund because they issued a gift card and I am only entitled to in-store credit. (I assume when I returned the original gate and had the balance applied toward the special order, their internal accounting deemed the transaction as issuing a gift card).
On October 2, 2006, I went into the store to talk with the manager face-to-face. He said he would refund the money but ultimately did not. He told me he could not issue a refund but only offer in-store credit. I told him no. I’m going to the newspapers – they failed to deliver the product and now refuse to return my money. He said he needs to talk to corporate… then he said he needs to talk to the assistant manager to ensure a refund wasn't already issued… then he said corporate needs to issue a check in 14 days to refund and the excuses went on and on. In the end he said he would call corporate the next morning and promised to call me back the same day.
On October 3, 2006, I received a voice message from the store manager. He said he spoke with corporate and they are going to “look into it”. He said I should expect to receive correspondence from them (corporate) either in the mail or by phone. No commitment to time frame or to outcome was made – it was an obvious brush-off.
The following are excerpts taken from your Code of Business Conduct and Code of Ethics written on August 5, 2004:
At Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation (the “Company”), integrity is our core value, and our good name is our most valued asset. We are committed to uncompromising integrity in all our dealings with each other, our customers, trading partners and members of the public.
Making Ethical Decisions
When faced with a decision, ask yourself these questions about the choice you are considering:
How does this decision affect others (customers, suppliers, partners, stockholders, competitors, the community, other employees, or you)?
How does the decision look to others? An innocent action can result in the appearance of wrongdoing, or create an unintended sense of obligation between parties.
How would you feel if this decision were made public? Could the decision be honestly explained and defended?
Have the implications of this decision been fully explored, or would additional advice be helpful?
I can say with confidence, this code was not applied to my situation. The dollar amount in question is not a large amount – a mere pittance to a National company, yet the company seems willing to sacrifice their own code of ethics, customer base and reputation to keep it.