I’ve been asked a few times including here on the blog whether or not it is common in the Czech Republic to return merchandise to a store and get a refund. I’ve always answered no. I would still answer no, but I had a pleasant experience today that may mean that the times are a-changin’.
I bought a bracelet at the Promod store at Nový Smíchov on Sunday. When I tried it on at home, it quickly became clear that even though the piece looked beautiful, the design was not thought out that well because the bracelet kept twisting the wrong way on my wrist. It bothered me enough that I realized I wouldn’t wear it, so the sensible thing was to go back and see if I could return it. Mind you, this wasn’t faulty merchandise. The jewelry had a design issue that was unacceptable to me but may be acceptable to other women.
The store receipt said that merchandise could be exchanged within four weeks. Nothing about refunds or even store credit. I went back to the store expecting that I would probably have to buy something else right there and “exchange” it for the bracelet. It would have been a bit tricky because I pretty much bought everything I wanted to buy on Sunday and I’d have to struggle to find something else now, only five days later. But lo and behold, I was offered a refund. What’s more, it was given out in cash even though I had made the purchase with a credit card. The whole transaction was quick and easy, the girl at the counter didn’t make a face, didn’t give out a sigh and didn’t call a colleague to discuss the “non-standard situation” created by a “non-standard” customer. She filled out whatever she needed to fill out, thanked me and said good bye with a smile.
It may be that the times really are changing. Maybe if foreign-owned companies come in and bring customer friendly policies with them, Czech customers will gradually get used to a certain level of service and, with time, will begin expecting and demanding the same level of service from everyone. I hope it’s only a matter of time.