LONDON Love&Hate 愛と憎しみのロンドン

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Banned by Amazon for returning faulty goods


Want to get banned from shopping at Amazon? Do this

But retailers have also their share of complaints about the money drain that can result from customers who overuse return policies. According to a survey by IHL Group in May 2015, retailers worldwide lose around $1.75 trillion annually from the cost of items that are overstocked or out of stock and from what they referred to as “needless returns.” The survey said those three factors can mean up to 1.7% in lost revenue for the majority of retailers.



While thousands of UK consumers boycotted Amazon over its controversial tax situation, many disabled and elderly customers – and those who live in rural areas away from big shops – have come to depend on the company’s slick online operation. Are they now going to have to accept damaged or wrongfully described items to avoid the risk of being banned, asks Nelson.




How I learned to get my money back


When Mum took the skirt out, I remember thinking that it looked about five years old. Not only that, it quickly became obvious that the garment had been taken up and hemmed – by hand. The manager was called. There followed a fervent discussion between two – or was it three? – members of staff and various no doubt sensible points were raised.

Mum stood her ground. She did not consider for a split second that she wasn’t going to win. That sense of purpose was almost terrifying: it was disgusting that a zip should break – how dare the shop assistant ask when she’d bought the skirt? She couldn’t remember! She couldn’t wear the skirt any more and wanted her money back!

She left M&S with a voucher and an awe-struck student daughter who had learned far more from her mother that day than she had from reading Moby Dick at university.

The teapot she returned was also impressive. I was in my teens and hoping to be bought some new clothes at the Brent Cross shopping centre when Mum dragged me along to Fenwick’s and placed the teapot on the returns counter. “It’s chipped,” she said and waited.

The teapot was, without a doubt, chipped – and there were tea stains visible inside the spout. The sales assistant, a young woman in her 20s, seemed confused.

She opened her mouth as if to say something and faltered. The issue hanging in the air, of course, was that Mum could have chipped it herself. I could sense that the assistant was about to suggest as much. She looked down at Mum (who was just under 5ft tall) and Mum looked back up at her. There was fire in the eyes of that diminutive, middle-aged woman. “Go on!” her eyes said. “I dare to you to confront me on this!” As if held at gunpoint, the sales assistant opened the till and handed over the cash.

Watching Mum in action was like watching Muhammad Ali in the boxing ring – she flew like a butterfly and stung like a bee but, unlike Ali, she won every fight. I think she had an innate skill, but whether nature or nurture turned her into a demon goods returner, she lived for and loved the thrill of the “win”.





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