The words “good” and “customer service in France” rarely go together in the same sentence unless you’re saying, “It’s impossible to find good customer service in France.” I’m not joking. This can be frustrating for Americans who live in a land where the customer is always right. In the US, if you have a broken product, the store will replace it with a new one. No questions asked. Have to return some pants that were too big? No big deal, they’ll take them back even without a receipt. Bought makeup at Sephora that you used and then realized it gave you a rash? They’ll take back the used product and refund your money. But is this how it works in France? Nope. I bought a coffee pot which arrived broken and I had a greaaaaaaat convo with a customer service rep at Amazon this morning.
Oh, and my dad is here and we went to one of our favorite wineries over the weekend.
French customer service & a winery visit
So first, my French customer service woes. France is on point with a lot of things like wine and cheese and medical care and a whole lot more. But customer service is not one of their strong suits. I’m sure awesome customer service exists in France, but in general, return policies and procedures are quite different than what an American might be used to back home. It’s just part of life here and you take the good with the not so good. Calls to customer service departments are often toll calls, wait times can be long and in general employees tend to not be overly accommodating. I’m used to it.
But when a product arrives damaged, why do I have to jump through hoops to get the damn thing replaced?
To make a long story short, I bought a basic coffee pot a couple of months ago from Amazon.fr. I took it out of the cardboard box it was shipped in but stupidly I didn’t inspect the actual item since I was saving the pot for when we had company. I put it in the closet until last week when my dad arrived. Sure enough, the little plastic handle was broken up top where it connects to the glass pot and a piece of the plastic that had broken off was in the pot. We figured we’d try to use it anyway since it seemed functional, but this morning the handle totally broke off and glass went everywhere.
I contacted Amazon France’s chat service right away. I figured they’d send me another unit or at least the glass coffee pot part. I even offered to send pictures as proof. But nope, they told me I had to contact the manufacturer, Melitta, and send the product back to the manufacturer directly. He went on to tell me that Amazon (the site I bought it from directly, not a third-party seller on Amazon) was not able to reimburse or replace the coffee pot. Why would Melitta want a broken coffee pot? I didn’t want to spend time packing up a broken pot and taking it to the post office. Waste of time. I said I’ve already spent time contacting Amazon France chat and cleaning up glass this morning and was hoping they’d just be able to send me a new one or at least reimburse me. Even partially would have been a step in the right direction. But nope to all of those options. Awesome.
No idea if it’s because a few months have passed since my purchase or if Amazon doesn’t deal with defective merchandise — even if Amazon packaged the item poorly and it was seemingly damaged in transit. The heck with all that. I’m buying a new one… and learned my lesson here: Open up all boxes and check the product in a timely manner. And don’t expect French retailers to be overly accommodating if something does go wrong. US Amazon and the French Amazon are not the same.
This isn’t an isolated incident. A few months back we had a faulty cable box and it took Tom 4 phone calls and over 2 hours of diagnostics and getting put on hold and going in circles for them to replace it. Everyone who lives in France has stories like these. Deep breath.
OK moving on…
We stopped at one of our favorite local wineries on Saturday to pick up a few bottles of wine. I love their rosés but you really can’t go wrong. If you’re ever in the Angers area, stop in to Domaine des Rochelles. They’re a family-run business and are super nice. Needless to say, we didn’t leave empty handed. 😉
And their property is beautiful.
How has your experience been with French customer service? Visit any wineries lately?