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Merchant Refusing Refund On Defective Product

Merchant Refusing Refund On Defective Product

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  #1  
Old 09-30-11, 01:09 PM
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Unhappy Merchant Refusing Refund On Defective Product

I bought a Hunter-Douglas window shade. It came out in the wrong color. The merchant said it was fine, so I disputed the charge on American Express. American Express credited the balance ($684) but not the deposit ($500). They said "the information favored the merchant," although I submitted a picture of the shade next to the sample showing the color inaccuracy. All the merchant offered me was a Hunter-Douglas marketing initiative for customers who changed their mind, offering a different color for an extra fee. I re-billed the dispute on American Express, but that will probably come out the same way. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs did not sound encouraging. Will be very grateful for any suggestions -- at this point I just want my money back. (:-(
 
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  #2  
Old 09-30-11, 01:41 PM
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My first thought is to dispute the charge with the credit card company - you did that.

My next thought was any kind of governmental agency set up to handle such disputes - you did that as well.

My third thought is legal action against the merchant. However, your post does not make it sound like the evidence is overwhelmingly in your favor.
 
  #3  
Old 09-30-11, 01:46 PM
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Merchant Refusing Refund On Defective Product

Department of Consumer Affairs said they had more power in issues relating to mechanical defects. Said color was "subjective," (even though the color of the sample is manifestly different from the shade that was made), so would depend on judge and that would be iffy. Was wondering if at all useful to lay situation out on websites such as Yelp or CitySearch to induce merchant to behave with integrity. ?? Thanks for any advice or guidance.
 
  #4  
Old 09-30-11, 01:59 PM
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Almost every product I've ever ordered (or helped someone order) from a sample has a clause similar to "Colors shown in sample may not be identical to actual product. Color variations in material and supplies are beyond the control of the manufacturer"...or words to that effect.

I'm not sure of your actual loss ($500 or $164?)...and probably because I could never bring myself to pay that much for a window shade....but I'd have to just say stay with working with the company. If you return the product and they eventually offer a full refund...you would be better off. Anything that involves lawyers and signed orders or contracts, will just wind up costing you time, money, and aggravation.
 
  #5  
Old 09-30-11, 02:12 PM
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Merchant Refusing Refund On Defective Product

I returned the shade in June. Loss would be $500 if American Express again find for merchant, which they probably will. (American Express for some reason credited me for the balance only, not the deposit.) I'll try to work with the merchant, I guess. Any ideas for how to better protect myself this time around (e.g. if I order the different color they're offering and the new color comes out wrong) will be appreciated.

I've learned two good lessons: 1) if at all possible, never buy anything that can't be returned-no questions asked, and 2) American Express can no longer be counted on for consumer protection. In my experience, they used to be very helpful in that regard.
 
  #6  
Old 09-30-11, 02:22 PM
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I've disputed a couple purchases on a Capital One Mastercard and had good service, I've never owned an AmEx.

Custom purchases like this are where you're going to run into this kind of trouble most often, since they are typically products which would be difficult to re-sell by the merchant.

It is common for a merchant to show a known, repeat customer better service than someone unkown to them, so smaller shops will sometimes offer a greater deal of latitude than a larger more anonymous merchant. In my case, though I buy my window treatments from a big box store, the department manager is a friend of mine and I know I get better service than the average person does.
 
  #7  
Old 09-30-11, 03:18 PM
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Merchant Refusing Refund on Defective Product

Thanks for tips on store experiences and Capital One. I've started using their card exclusively now (since this unpleasant experience with Amex) and so far I've been very pleased. Better extended warranty protection and more flexible cashback arrangements.

I bought another expensive shade last year from this same merchant, which was fine. They obviously have a short memory or are completely unscrupulous, or both!

FYI - also bought a shade a few years ago from the Country Curtains catalog, as well as curtains and liners, and was v. pleased.

I'll call Consumer Affairs Monday and see if they can help at all. They said they might persuade merchant to let me have sample in my home to make sure color of new shade is correct, and I think they also said they might persuade them to waive additional fee for new shade.

I think it would be best to pay the $500 to American Express now rather than wait for another dispute decision -- no reason to believe this would one would be different, and they might charge me interest. Do you agree?

Thanks very much for help.
 
  #8  
Old 10-08-11, 02:00 PM
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You can always try Better Business Bureau too. This has proved to be a very powerful tool for me in getting refunds for merchant disputes. Many businesses take BBB complaints seriously enough to resolve them in good faith. BBB complaints can result in lost business when prospective customers check BBB reports.

Yes, you can post negative feedback on Yelp also. I have done this before. It might not result in a refund. But sometimes you just have to even the score so you can move on. Just be honest and fair. Sometimes sellers will make rebuttals to online feedback. Remember the Internet reaches a very wide audience. I am convinced that companies check the Internet regularly to check for bad reviews on their business.
 
  #9  
Old 10-13-11, 01:49 AM
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I'm obtuse enough to take such a matter to my local Small Claims Court. I've fought 2 cases in same in the last 50 years, and won them both. Even when opposing parties had their high-priced lawyers at the other end of the table. First time I did it, I was a 19-year-old college brat, shaking like a leaf.

If you have a legitimate claim, have facts that can be documented, and can present them logically and without emotion, you will win. In your case, however, differences in color may be hard to prove, especially since (I suspect) you no longer have the disputed product in your possession.
 
  #10  
Old 10-13-11, 10:25 AM
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Thanks very much to all for assistance and personal experiences. American Express is giving me another go-round in the dispute. Company's main defense was that their receipt said that "no refunds are allowed." But I've now been given information that that violates consumer rights statutes regarding implied warranties of merchantability and fitness-for-purpose (UCC 2/314). There's also apparently case law that it is deceptive to say that no refunds can be given when in fact they can be given when implied warranties are breached. (NYS GBL 218)

If it goes against me, I'll just pay the $500, defray it somewhat with the $98 cashback due to me on the account, and call it a life lesson. No more custom-made things, no more purchases that cannot be returned no-questions-asked. I'll also close my American Express account -- I've had two previous instances of difficulties with custom-made items, and I had no trouble getting the refunds once they were returned. All things change . . .
 
  #11  
Old 10-13-11, 12:53 PM
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I'm late to the race, as usual, but expecting a refund on custom made items is somewhat out of the ordinary. If it is defective, then, of course, there should be replacement or refund. Then you get into a spitting contest to see "where" it was damaged, and "who" damaged it. Color differences from a swatch to an internet picture, to the actual product can vary immensely. I'm just not sure how bad "off color" it was. Could you not have lived with it, knowing these things?
 
  #12  
Old 10-13-11, 02:47 PM
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Have you contacted Hunter Douglas directly? Its possible that you picked the right color and they sent you the wrong one. I've even seen things labelled correctly but PACKED wrong. Perhaps they have a service department that you could deal with if the merchant is unwilling to help.

For me, once it was a box of snowmist aluminum trim coil, which is WHITE. The coil inside the box was IVORY, not white, even though the label "said" it was white, it clearly wasn't.
 
  #13  
Old 10-13-11, 07:55 PM
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To XSleeper - Thanks, but I'm afraid Hunter-Douglas took no interest or responsibility. They referred me to a maneuver they've set up called Right Choice Promise -- if you're not happy, pick something else (of equal or lesser value) for an extra charge. And they presented that as a really generous offer.
 
  #14  
Old 10-14-11, 06:33 AM
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It would have been easier to comment on this thread if you had posted some pics showing the color difference between what you thought you were buying and what you got.

Were you looking for an exact match with something else in the room? How did you select the color? It appears to me that neither the retailer nor the manufacturer consider the product defective.
 
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