By Elizabeth Broomhall
Retailer blasted as shoppers call for boycott over new policy on cash refunds
Twitter users in Saudi Arabia have launched a social media backlash against Gulf retail giant M.H. Alshaya, after the company rolled out new rules to restrict cash refunds to customers.
Staff in five Alshaya stores in Dubai said in September that buyers returning faulty or unwanted goods could no longer receive cash or credit card refunds, but would instead receive store credit under new company-wide rules governing returns.
Buyers have 12 months to spend their store credit - but the ruling ensures money is kept within the conglomerate’s network of shops, which includes Debenhams, H&M and Topshop.
The policy appears to have been implemented in Saudi Arabia, where Twitter users are using the hashtag #noshaya to call for a boycott of the retailer’s stores until the policy is changed.
“It’s so sad that it’s funny that no one really cares that the Saudi consumer gets ripped off on a daily basis!” said Tweeter @sara_alhaidar. “I told the guy @H&M the policy was silly [and] he said management have their reasons! Really? Is it to make sure no SR [Saudi riyals] leave the register?”
Other Tweeters flagged up how the big brand names owned by Alshaya in the Gulf, such as H&M, offered more favourable returns policies on their own, domestic websites.
A tweet from @Raiyola accused the firm of “hiding behind a silly policy that is equal to theft”.
In an emailed statement to Arabian Business, a spokesperson for Alshaya said:
faulty or damaged goods are entitled to a full cash refund within the specified
period and with proof of purchase, and we always comply with local laws.
other refunds are credited onto the Alshaya Card to the full value of the
purchase and can then be redeemed at any participating Alshaya outlet over the
following 12 month period."
A report by Dubai’s consumer protection agency in June showed the majority of disputes between retailers and shoppers arise from refunds and exchanges.
According to the DED, complaints from consumers soared in the first quarter of 2011, with 2,900 shoppers registering complaints against retailers, up from 2,300 last year.
Alshaya manages more than 55 brands across the Middle East and operates 2,000 outlets in 15 countries. Brands include a range of household names such as Debenhams, H&M, The Body Shop, Starbucks, Boots, River Island, Oasis and Mothercare.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Funny to say, these brands offer refunds in their own country!
Yesterday I wanted to buy some stuff from Debenhams and decided to return them after knowing about this from a friend.
If this succeeds, other retailers that are imposing the same unfair policy of Alshaya will respond. we are talking here about Centerpoint, New Look, City Max (they all belong to the same group), Paris Gallery and many others.
As a consumer itâ€™s my right to shop everyone and anywhere, Alshaya Group they donâ€™t have the right to control us as consumers where to shop, if they are the sole group in UAE, Iâ€™ll understand that they control the market, but they are not.
my main concern here not about the money as much as the principle behind their policy.
When I asked for my money, I was shocked to be advised by the staff member that the company policy has been changed 2 months ago!! and they donâ€™t give cash back or refund to my credit card, I HAVE to get store credit which I redeem it at only of Alshaya stores !!!
1- The items never been opened
2-I had my receipt with me.
3- My items NOT sale items
4- None of the staff advice us at the counter at the time of purchase there was a change in company policy two months ago! (So we assumed we have minimum 3-7 days for refund if we have the receipt like any well-known company)
My complain that they cannot control where and with how I could shop
by them giving me a gift card with my amount, which mean I have to shop only with Alshaya Group this not fair for me as the customer.
I told the staff and their customer care, I donâ€™t want your card (I just want my money back) what if I donâ€™t like any off your products else where I cannot shop with others!
Whatever the policy If I wish to shop with the brands i will shop with it because the brand and the style and the stuff itself means more then policy. Anyways I shop with all the brands and Debenhams is one of my favorite because of its designers. They rule in their design for customer and I love shopping with it. Al shaya card coming soon leaflet was given to me while my last shopping with Al shaya store. I don't mind if they still stick with same policy except few consideration like product damage etc.
As i feel the policy has changed due to misuse of it. I have seen people buying with 50% sale and keep it reserve for 14 days and refund before 14 days while the sale is on 75% and repurchase the same product at same time.
I as a customer looking for particular size was taken long back by some and reserved at home and repurchased at 75% how fair is management for loyal customer. I appreciate the policy for loyal customer with brand they shop with.
Whilst I am all for the consumer, I can understand where the shop policy is coming from. I have never seen so many goods treated so shabbily as I have seen in the region. Enter any changing room and there are goods strewn everywhere, nobody hangs anything back, nobody has any respect for the"new items" that the next person is buying! I have never worked in the retail trade but I shudder to think of the way some of the returns are brought back. think this is a reaction to the local attitude.
FRK ..sorry but you must be working for Alshaya !!
"As i feel the policy has changed due to misuse of it. I have seen people buying with 50% sale and keep it reserve for 14 days and refund before 14 days while the sale is on 75% and repurchase the same product at same time."
This is why retail asks for your receipt!! Any exchange or refund, If they do it with NO receipt, it's their problem, on the receipt will indicate the price before, after and the sale amount !! They have to train the staff more how to deal with these customers..
I worked in Retail and customer service for 12 years in three different countries, and this is not the way to deal with consumers if you want to keep them loyal to your brand !!the way customers treated new products same everywhere if you enter Macys in US or Mayers in Australia or even Debenhams in UAE !! You have some will take good care of products, and some won't !! However, the idea that alshaya want to control where a consumer could shop it's not right !!
Mona i dont work for Alshaya. I am doctor by profession. That was just my view and i expressed. Rest you works for retail u know it better.
You clearly dont know your retail right....Centerpoint ,New Look,City Max do not belong to Al Shaya...its the Landmark group.