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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Cost Of Poor Customer Service

I really hoped I could avoid writing this.  I don’t particularly like to bash anyone, you know?  But, I have run out of patience.

Every word of this is true, except for the end, which is my own personal commentary on the facts I am about to present to you.

On Saturday, March 23 of this year, I walked into a Tourneau watch store in my area.  After looking around a bit, I saw a beautiful watch for $625.00.  That’s a lot of money, but I really wanted an upgrade from my previous watch.  So…I bought it.  Now, I was a bit reluctant to buy it at the store since it was cheaper from Amazon.  The convincing argument was that it was guaranteed for three years.  After having it sized, I put it back in the case so I could wear it to work the following Monday.

I wore the watch Monday and Tuesday at work.  By the time I got home from work on Tuesday, the band of the watch was causing me considerable pain.  I took the watch off, and saw the band had started to literally tear the skin on the underside of my wrist.  Not to the point of bleeding, but still, you could tell some of the skin had torn away.

On Wednesday, March 27, I called the store and spoke to a very nice salesperson named Susan.  She was also the person who helped size the watch. I told her the problem, and said I might need to return the watch.  She said to come back in and she would see what she could do.

On Saturday, March 30, I went back to the Tourneau store and met with Susan.  I gave her three options.  My first and preferred option was to get a new band for the watch.  She said that they could do that, but the band would not sit evenly against the watch, so it may look funny.  I felt for $625, I did not want my watch to “look funny.”  The second option was to look at a different watch.  I looked at watches costing as much as $900.  I just didn’t like any of them nearly as much as the watch I had bought.  Option three was to return the watch. 

Susan said they generally do not take watches back.  Susan suggested a fourth option.  Their watchmaker could buff the areas that were tearing at my skin.  Perhaps that would help.  I gave it a shot, and when I tried it on in the store, it did indeed feel better.  Once again, I put it in the case, so I could wear the watch to work the following Monday.

Monday morning, I put the watch on and drove to work, which is about an hour away from my home.  By the time I got to work, I had to take the watch off because my wrist hurt so badly.  Once again, the band had started to tear at the underside of my wrist.

So, on Monday, April 1, I called the store again, and told them that I’d like to return the watch and get my money back.  Well, apparently, they don’t do that.  It is against their policy.  Apparently, you only have three days to return the watch and it must not have been altered, even if the alterations were at their suggestion and the watch physically hurts you. 

I thought this was unfair, so I asked to speak to the general manager.  She was nice enough and said the best she could do was a store credit.  I told her that, while I appreciated that, I didn’t think the store policy was fair.  In any case, after a discussion, I felt I had no choice but to take the store credit.

My wife went onto the Tourneau web site and wrote an email to their customer service department either that day or the day after, so it was no later than April 2nd.  I started to tweet to @Tourneautimes about how poor the policy was, and @Tourneautimes contacted me and asked what the issue was.  @Tourneautimes was nice enough to follow me  on Twitter, so I could direct message them the entire story, and did so on April 4.  @Tourneautimes responded that they would contact customer service and someone would get back to me shortly.

Today is April 28.  No one from customer service has ever contacted either my wife via email, or me via Twitter. 

Those are the facts.  Now for my commentary: 

First, Tourneau told me on the phone that their return policy is on the receipt.  I don’t read my receipt, except to make sure I’m not overcharged, or unless someone tells me the return policy is on there.  No one did.  I think that was wrong of them.  If that’s where the return policy is, they should at least tell you that.

Second, it should not take a customer service department this long to get back to someone.   Having worked with companies with varying size customer service departments, it almost never takes any company I have worked for this long to get back to someone.  And when someone would contact me to complain about the length of time it has taken someone to get back to them, I stayed on top of it, as I would like to keep the person or company as a buyer of whatever product the company I worked for sold.

Third, I understand why Tourneau has the policy they do.  I am sure that many people have some event they need to attend and “rent” a watch with no intention of keeping it.  However, in my case, I made a sincere effort to keep the watch.  I had no desire for my money back.  My true desire was to keep the watch.  Having always worked in businesses where I deal with the public in one form or another, and having written policies for departments in the past, I believe that policies need to be flexible as long as that flexibility isn’t something that is illegal or puts the company in a compromising situation.

Fourth, am I blameless?  Absolutely not!  I should have been smart enough to ask what the return policy was before I bought the watch.  Unfortunately for me, I took my feelings to the store, but left my brains on my pillow.

Fifth, I don’t blame anyone in the store, the general manager, or @Tourneautimes.  They were just doing their jobs.  I do blame Tourneau corporate customer service. They did not care enough about me as a customer to bother to get back to me. 

So, what am I left with?  Well, I have two gift certificates.  One of them we sent to Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue for their annual silent auction.  At least that will help some poor animals who have been abandoned have a better life.  We haven’t decided what to do with the other one yet.

But I can tell you I will never set foot in a Tourneau store again.  And the way I figure it, even though I don’t have thousands of followers on Twitter, between the ones I do have, all of my wife’s Facebook friends, and all of the people who we have told personally about this story, we have cost Tourneau a number of potential customers and quite a bit of money. 

Perhaps this post will be the catalyst for Tourneau to begin to do the right thing for their customers.  And if they should ever contact me, I will tell you what they say.  Good, bad, or indifferent.


  1. We are sorry for any inconvenience and frustration this has caused. It is our understanding that this was resolved to your satisfaction however if you still have outstanding concerns or needs, please feel free to contact us. It would be our pleasure to assist you further.

    Team Tourneau

    1. My response: I'm not really sure how it is you think you were of assistance, or I ended up satisfied. I "resolved" this because I felt if I didn't take the gift certificates I would end up with nothing. No one from your customer service ever contacted me. If you want me to be satisfied, I would like to turn in my $500 gift certificate for cash or a credit to my credit card.

  2. Give Peace A Chance