A DISGRUNTLED shopper from Uttoxeter claims she was told a consumer helpline service couldn’t help her unless she was ‘elderly or disabled’.
Janette Jeffcoate refused to back down after clothing firm Quiz refused to exchange a dress bought by her daughter Emily, which became damaged after she had worn it once.
The firm claims the damage was caused by ‘wear and tear’ but Mrs Jeffcoate, of Hill Close, says she was left at the end of her tether after spending more than the £25 cost of the dress on phone calls to Quiz and to the national Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service, which now deals with trading standards complaints of this kind.
She says staff were initially helpful but after attempts to get the dress exchanged failed, she was told by an adviser at the helpline service it could only take further action if she was elderly or disabled.
Mrs Jeffcoate told the Advertiser: “I said to them: ‘Are you joking?’ We are full tax-paying citizens and yet we can’t get any help.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. I felt like a little fish in a big pond who’d been hung out to dry.” Emily, 22, had bought the dress from Quiz in the Coopers Square shopping centre in Burton in July to wear at her Staffordshire University graduation ceremony, but she claims it developed a series of frayed lines after she’d worn it for just four hours.
She returned the garment but after a lengthy series of exchanges by phone and letter, the Glasgow-based company refused to exchange it, claiming it had been subject to wear and tear, possibly as a result of a bag or jewellery rubbing against it.
Miss Jeffocate said: “That’s rubbish, in my opinion — the lines are all over the dress so I don’t accept it could have been caused by a bag rubbing.” Her mother said: “I’ve worked in retail for 20 years and if someone had brought something back like that I would have told them straight away to go and exchange it for another one.
“I’ve spent more than the cost of the dress on phone calls and letters. I feel like we’ve been passed from pillar to post and I think it’s disgusting.
It makes me so angry.” Quiz spokesman William MacLeod said: “We have sold hundreds or possibly thousands of this style of dress and this is the only complaint we’ve had.
“If the customer is not happy, they have recourse to trading standards, but we are satisfied we’ve handled the complaint correctly.” Michelle Sambrook, operations manager for the Citizens Advice consumer service, said she could not comment on individual cases, and would not confirm Mrs Jeffocate’s claim about not receiving help because she wasn’t elderly or disabled.
She said: “The service gives people advice and help so they can sort out their consumer problem but does not take on cases or act on their behalf.
“When necessary and appropriate we may refer people to their local trading standards service or another relevant organisation for extra help.”