I had purchased a pair of dark blue jeans from the United Colors of Benetton showroom at Kesavadasapuram, Trivandrum last week. By the end of the first day of use, its blue colour was all over my shoes and belt. It also managed to daub the colour onto my office identity card. I approached the shop and demanded them to compensate for the loss of the shoe due to this. At first they said they cannot exchange the product or refund the money. When I reminded them of the consumer laws, they said they could at best replace the product or refund the money. But I insisted that the cost of the shoe must be compensated by them as it became useless thanks to the lack of quality of the jeans. A few days later, they asked me to return the product as they wanted to send it to Delhi for quality test. I agreed on one condition that they should give me an acknowledgement letter stating that the product is found to be defective prima facie. They said they can issue the letter but cannot write that the product was found to be defective. In that case, I said, I wanted to retain a piece of cloth cut from the jeans so that even if they tell me tomorrow that it passed the quality test, I could approach the consumer forum with the retained piece of cloth. They said they cannot do that too. That was the heights! Then how do I make sure they conduct the test impartially?
Their Kerala Sales Head then told me that he can issue me a gift voucher as compensation. But what do I purchase in exchange for the voucher? The same Benetton products, right? I said I cannot agree to that and gave him two options. One; compensate for the damage to the shoes (INR 2500) and Two; fight it out at the consumer forum. Finally, he agreed and on the next day, the Benetton representative visited my office and gave me a new pair of jeans and INR 2500 in cash. But the new jeans was not the same type, not the same colour, not the same design, and not the same fabric. It was something of “their choice”. Also, it did not have any price tag on it for me to verify whether it was of the same price. I tried it but it was not a perfect fit for me. When I informed their Sales Head about this, he told me that I could either go for an exchange or a refund the next day. The next day, I returned both denims (the defective product as well as the replacement) to the Benetton showroom and got a complete refund, including the alteration charges. Their Sales Head was helpful in arranging the refund without issues this time. The moral of the story is simple – Customer is King, if he wants to be!