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Nespresso coffee pods/capsules are one of the few “souvenirs” I recently brought back to the US from a trip to Europe. It was a no-brainer after seeing they’re -50% off of the standard prices we’re used to in the US. This substantial discount is even considering the 27% Value-Added Tax already factored into this low price. We learned about a VAT refund program from travel guru Rick Steves. It requires a detailed invoice showing the breakdown of items/taxes paid, the product, and an official VAT refund form to be taken to the customs desk at the airport on the date of departure. If everything checks out, the customs agent issues a refund on the spot. We secured the detailed invoice after some extended effort, but the VAT refund form, on the other hand, was out of the question. The Nespresso boutique claimed zero knowledge of this form or even the refund program, for that matter. I was defeated at this point; my wife not so much. We spoke with the customs agent at the airport on the day we left to see what he had to say. He wasn’t happy at all to hear of our troubles. The retailers are required to carry/provide the VAT refund forms. He verified that we were taking the coffee out of the country and stamped our detailed invoice indicating so. He told us we should pursue a refund directly from the company. We ended up finally getting our money but not after a fight. Nespresso really, really wanted to avoid responsibility. Edit: Purchased $600 (168,000HUF) and received around $125 (37,000HUF) back.

Me: Hello, we made a large purchase while in Hungary. We returned to the US and need a VAT refund form from you. Can you provide this?

Nespresso: Thank you for your inquiry. We are pleased to read that you’ve bought a large sum of Nespresso capsules. On the other hand, due to administrative reasons, we are not able to provide any VAT refund form. Apart from this, we hope that you will have many pleasant coffee-tasting moments in the future.

Me: We are very disappointed - this cost us quite a bit of money. I don’t understand why businesses elect or not elect to assist travelers in this manner, but given that Nespresso is a large company, I would’ve imagined we would be able to receive the assistance of having these forms available to us. Other large businesses are ready to provide such documentation. Do you have any other ways to assist us?

Nespresso: Thank you for your email. We managed to contact the relevant department of our company and are trying to solve the administrative issue. Please provide a copy of the receipt from the Nespresso boutique. We really appreciate your patience and cooperation.

Me: Sent a copy of the invoice.

Nespresso: We really appreciate that you sent a copy of your invoice. We have forwarded your request to the financial department of our company. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide a VAT refund form because a Hungarian address has been registered on your invoice. Due to Hungarian laws, we could only issue a VAT refund if the customer gives an address from a foreign country. Apart from this, we hope that you will have many coffee-tasting moments in the future.

Me: We asked the sales manager at the boutique if they wanted our US address and they insisted it be a Hungarian address. We provided our Airbnb address as this was our only option. Please revise our receipt to show our US address if you need and assist us with our refund. We met with customs at the Hungarian airport who advised us that you should’ve provided me with the refund form. He marked the invoice as necessary to show the coffee leaving the country by a foreigner. I think this falls on the shoulders of Nespresso to refund our VAT as we did everything we could to file these items properly. Your store personnel were unaware of all these procedures and their entry of our Hungarian address while on holiday(after we requested she enter our US address)should not be our fault and therefore cost us our VAT refund.

Nespresso: Thank you for your feedback. We are afraid that a miscommunication took place during your visit at one of our Nespresso Boutiques. In order to solve this administrative issue, we would like to ask you to provide a foreign address and we will forward these data to our relevant department. Hopefully, they could help you or offer you an option to receive a VAT reclaim form. We really appreciate your cooperation.

Me: Forwarded our US address.

Nespresso: Thank you for your email. We escalated your request to our financial department of our company. Thus, they would like to kindly ask you whether you still reside in Hungary. If the answer is yes, you might help you to solve this administrative issue. On the other hand, to create this VAT reclaim form, we need your passport details and a foreign address (as we mentioned earlier). We really appreciate your cooperation.

Me: We are not in Hungary. We are home from vacation and I provided you with my US address in a previous email. What other details do you need?

Nespresso: Thank you for your email that you sent yesterday. With regards to your purchase made at Andrássy Nespresso Boutique, you had been informed by the shop assistant about the fact that our refund procedure is not yet in place and we would not be able to provide you the necessary documents for VAT refund. Unfortunately given the fact that you have already left the country and passed customs, it is not possible to retrospectively find a solution as the goods must have been shown upon leaving the country. We deeply regret the misunderstanding and any kinds of miscommunication that took place at our Nespresso Boutique. Apart from this, we hope that you will have many pleasant coffee-tasting moments in the future.

Me: As I mentioned in my first email, I met with customs when I went to leave the country and explained my situation. He STAMPED my invoice as necessary knowing I was leaving the country. He was very disturbed that your company did not assist with the form but he provided the necessary proof so I could follow up with your company to provide the refund. Please assist with this matter and please stop replying with excuses as to why it’s not possible or why you won’t or what I did to cause this to not be possible. I did everything I could and should have. I have a customs stamped invoice showing it left the country and it did. Thank you and I hope that we can now find a satisfactory solution to this ongoing request.

Nespresso: Thank you for your quick reply. As we mentioned earlier, unfortunately, due to administrative reasons, we are unable to provide a VAT reclaim form retrospectively. On the other hand, we managed to discuss your situation with our colleagues of the financial department, we would like to offer you an opportunity to solve your problem. If you send us your bank details, the tax amount of your purchase could be transferred to your bank account. We would like to apologize that it has taken so long, but we hope that you will find this option suitable for you.

Me: Realized victory and provided bank details.

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I was excited because I made really good money at my serving job today so I went to a newly opened branch of my favorite store to pick out a couple outfits for some holiday events I have coming up.

I went in (still in uniform) and immediately started looking for a sweater that I have tried on before and loved, couldn’t find that in this store so I picked up another sweater and put it over my arm to continue shopping and all of a sudden one of the employees bum rushed me and said she would take the sweater and hold it up front for me. I was confused because whenever I’ve been in this store and picked something up, the girls ask if I’d like a fitting room started, so I tell her that’s actually what I’d like.

She sort of acts like that’s weird and I’m not sure why, and takes me to the back where the fitting rooms are, opens it up and I go in to hang up the sweater and start coming out as she’s trying to shut me in the room! I tell her that I am going to continue shopping as I would like to try on more than just one sweater so she moves out of my way and then says “well, you’ll need to close the door and I’ll have to open it for you every time.”

At this time, I am honestly starting to feel annoyed but I wanted these clothes so I continued, going out and picking a bunch of clothes and coming back to the fitting room and had to ask her to let me in, she Iooks me up and down like she was trying to memorize the clothes I had in my hands. I was in there and hear her chatting with other customers, asking them if they need any other sizes or colors, being really really nice and I suddenly got even more annoyed, stopped trying on the clothes and walked out of the fitting room and out of the store.

I honestly felt profiled, like she was watching me in a weird way and it felt so awful but thinking about it, I don’t even know if I’m overreacting and maybe over thinking things but it really felt like she was treating me differently!

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I had ordered four craft kits for my niece for Christmas. One of them she had specifically asked for (rainbow soap), and the other ones just kind of looked cool to me. One of them was unicorn slime. The other 2 don't matter for purposes of this story.

I was told the items would be shipped to my local store, and would be ready to pick up on the 13th.

On the evening of the 13th, I got an email saying that only part of my order was ready and I could wait until the last item arrived to pick everything up together.

It said the item that was not there was rainbow soap, the one item specifically requested by my niece. I went back to my order history online on the 14th, to see if there was an update. While brushing a hair off my screen, I clicked on that product by accident. When I did, it loaded up the item on their website, showing it had been discounted.

After seeing that, I checked all the other kits in my order, and they had not been marked down. Just the rainbow soap.

So I got online with the customer service chat line:

I asked about the price difference on the item that had been marked down. It was a $4.89 discount, on an item I hadn't even picked up yet.

She told me I hadn't ordered that item.

I told her I had.

She said that the item I had ordered was "different".

I told her I had clicked on the item in my order history, and that it had to be the same.

She then told me that what I had ordered was unicorn slime, and the item that was marked down was rainbow soap.

I told her numerous times that I had ordered both. That my order consisted of four items. I listed them. I gave her links to each of them.

She continued to insist that I had ordered unicorn slime, and that the marked down item was rainbow soap.

I expressed my frustration, and she insisted she was only trying to help.

I figure I can sort it out at the store when I pick these items up.

Then I asked if she could tell me when the last part of my order would be at the store, so I could pick everything up together.

The order pick-up Center is a zoo. I'd rather not go twice.

She kept trying to give me the tracking number that I already had, insisting my items were at the store. I told her the store had received only 3 of my items in that shipment. The number she was offering was the tracking number on the package with the three items that were delivered to the store already, per the email I had received.

I copied and pasted the email into the chat and she seem to understand. She then suggested that I contact UPS, to find out when the final part of my order would be delivered to the store. I told her I could not do that without a tracking number. UPS would have no idea what the number on the parcel shipped from the vendor to the store was, unless I provided it. I asked her to give me that number so that I could give it to UPS. She repeated the same tracking number she had already given me..

Obviously, at least to me, the fourth item would be in a separate box, and would have a different tracking number.

She kept telling me to call UPS if I had any questions, because that was the tracking number.

When I told her there has to be a second tracking number if there is a second box, she told me that I could believe that if I wanted to, but I was wrong.

When I asked if I could speak with a supervisor, she told me they would say the same thing that she was saying.

I told her she was either ignoring me, or not understanding me, and that I hoped that just speaking to somebody else might yield a better result.

She asked me why I felt that she was ignoring me, and I repeated what we had just been through.

That she continued to insist I had not ordered an item that was clearly a part of my order, even after I had explained it four times. Also, that she was insisting that two packages existed with the same tracking number, or that UPS could somehow tell me what the tracking number was for the missing item, and when it would arrive in my local store..

When she asked if there was anything else she could help me with, I told her "Clearly, not." And ended the chat, after saving it.

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This happened yesterday, right after another incident involving frustrating customer service at my local water utility company, so I was already in a bad mood.

I went shopping at the grocery store, and the cashier at the checkout was a woman looking to be at least my age (I'm 62). This is important because I live in an area where, in general, the people around my age are, let's say, sometimes quite vocal about "the good old days" being so much better and so on.

So I finish my transaction and she says, "Merry Christmas!". I respond as I do to everyone, "And a happy holiday to you, too!"

"No, MERRY CHRISTMAS!" she said louder, with a hostile tone of voice.

"I don't celebrate Christmas," I replied, now annoyed that she had an attitude.

You'd think that would be the end if it, right? Nope. As I was walking away she shouts, "MERRY CHRISTMAS for ME, and happy holidays for YOU, will that work for ya??"

By now, other customers are staring at her as if she's lost her mind. And I'm pissed off, because the woman is actually arguing with me because I didn't say "Merry Christmas".

My friend who went to the store with me - who heard this several lanes down, that's how loud this woman was - comes over and says to me, "Let's get out of here, it's not worth it."

So we leave. I didn't follow up and call the store or anything, because it wouldn't do any good. Our town is mid-sized, and the store is part of a chain, but it's still a "small-town" atmosphere around here and she was probably the manager's mother or something.

Happy holidays, indeed.

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Today on my Facebook memories a post popped up that reminded me of a great story about one my worst customer experiences. It takes a lot to upset me, but this time, I was pretty upset.

We were buying a set of drums and a guitar for my kids for Christmas - both 3/4 size, both technically "toys" (still regretting the drums, 5 years later). My mom bought the guitar immediately before I bought the drums and on both boxes, it advertised for a coupon inside for a future purchase. So she bought the guitar, opened the box, and gave me the coupon.

A couple of things to point out - 1. The instruments were the same brand. 2. We were buying them on the same day and the coupon was valid through the end of the year (which, granted, was only a couple more weeks). 3. It was a "store exclusive offer".

This was a major Christmas shopping trip. She bought all her grandkid presents, then I had just about EVERYTHING the fat man was bringing my kids on the counter. There was plenty of time for her to get the coupon. Which she did, no problem. The cashier gets to the end of my haul and the last thing was the drum set. I hand her the coupon as she was scanning the drums. "I have a coupon for that."

It didn't work. First she told me it had expired. Nope, it's good through the end of the year. Then she told me that it's only good on that particular brand. Yes, that's what brand I bought. Then the best one of all... She told me that it was only valid at [this one specific store].

Oh, that's right. She named the store that signs her paychecks and told me that the coupon wasn't working because that was the only place I could use it. I was very angry at that point so I just stared at her, waiting for her to realize that was where I was trying to use it.

She never came to that conclusion on her own. I had to ask for a manager. She then walked her manager through ALL THREE reasons why that coupon wasn't valid (remember, it is!) He noticed that it's advertised on the box, trying to ignore the fact, completely, that his employee is an idiot, I guess. He told me that I couldn't use it on the item I was buying.

I pointed out that the box is sealed and that coupon came from a guitar, not drums. My mom waved from the end of the counter and showed him her purchase. Finally, I lost my cool. There was a a long line behind me and they could not offer a valid reason why the coupon wouldn't work. It was a [store name] exclusive offer. I want 30% off my drums. We're done messing around now.

In the end, I got my 30% off. I don't argue with store employees often. If you tell me that a coupon doesn't apply because -xyz- I will apologize and move on. (Usually I feel stupid for missing something in the fine print.) But please don't tell me something that is blatantly untrue. Or really really stupid. Like "It's not working because it's only valid in the store you're shopping in right now."

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I don't need to be told a funny story about every. single. item. in. my. cart. I don't need to hear a lifestory about how you had to poop outside this one time. I don't want to inch my way away from you saying things like 'Oh thats great! see you next time!' only to have you start another story while your customers are piling up looking annoyed at ME. I don't come here to visit you, I come to buy like 5 things and get the hell out of there. Get some friends! How can you NOT notice when you're the only cashier people are STILL looking for anyone else's line to be open!

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A while ago, I attended my best friend's engagement party. We went to a nondescript bar and had huge platters of snacks and w/e.

Well I had not been to very many bars at that point (and still have not), so when I ordered my drink I looked at the little menu and thought the Long Island Iced Tea looked good. Throughout the night I had a couple of them, got a bit drunk, was having fun. The staff were generally very nice. But then I asked for my last one for the night before we left.

The guy seemed okay when I ordered, if a bit dour. I figured it was just a long shift and thought nothing of it. I took my drink to our table, took a sip. That **** was bitter as hell! All my other drinks had been nice and sweet but this was just awful. I took the drink back to the bar and the conversation went something like this:

Me: hi, I'm sorry, this drink is really bitter, do you think I could get a new one?"

Bartender: it's fine. I made it the same way it's supposed to be made.

Me: ...okay, well, it just tastes really off and I'd like another one, please.

Bartender, glaring at me: alright, but I tasted that myself and it was just fine!

First of all I didn't even think about how strange it was that he claimed to have taken a sip of my drink before giving it to me (was probably a little too drunk), but he was just so rude and I was shocked and offended. I went and sat down. He brought the drink out to me and I said 'thank you' and smiled at him, and he just stomped off with a sour look on his face.

To this day I don't know what I could've done to make that man so crappy towards me. I work in customer service myself so I try to give others the benefit of the doubt and never once have I been rude to a customer service worker. I actually thought about complaining to the manager but I didn't want to be one of 'those' people so I let it be.

Also the new drink tasted a bit better but not by much. At that point I was over it.

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So, usual caller ID says it's likely a bank call. Whatever, if I have free time I'll take the calls. PhoneLady will be PL, I'll be me.

PL: May I speak to /u/xxfay6

Me: Who's calling?

PL: I'm calling from Shittybank about his card.

Me: He's speaking.

PL: Oh audibly shaken

PL: Well, hello Mrs Mr. /u/xxfay6, I'm calling due to benefits available with your new card ending in 69. Everything you buy has warranties for yadda yadda movie tickets yadda useless shit all for $10 per month. Can I get your birthdate as DDMMYYYY?

Me: Yeah, I'm sorry but I'm not interested in buying something and I'm on the national no-call list, so unless the call is actually important could you please remove me from the ads list. Thanks.

PL: We're not advertising. We're explaining the services included with your card.

Me: Is this no-charge? If not that's selling, and if it's selling them this is advertising.

PL: Well, anyways you're currently misusing the name of /u/xxfay6 so look who's talking.

Me: I'm what? That's me! I know that I sound like a chick on the phone but I don't care. Who are you to judge who I am anyways?

PL: Well whatever, have a nice day. click

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I adopted a kitty last year from a friend whose cat go it on with the neighborhood stray. Catticus, as we call him, is an adorable black cat with white spots on his face. When we got him my friend said he was male. Cool.

Like a good pet owner, we took Catticus to the vet to get his shots and to get scheduled to be neutered. I chose a small vet office near my house. They seemed like they knew what they were doing and I hadn’t heard any complaints from anyone.

The first phone call should have been a red flag. First, when I called to schedule I told the receptionist that I had a new kitten, about 8 weeks old, that had never seen a vet and needed all the new kitten shots/health exam. She immediately asked me where his previous vet was so she could get shot records. I repeated again, he hasn’t had shots, he’s 8 weeks old. Finally, after a bit of back and forth she got us on the schedule.

When I go in with Catticus I explain to the tech that Catticus has had no shots, needs a complete work over and really should be treated as if he were a stray because they lived outside and had no care up to that point. Oh, and also, please double check the gender. I assumed he was male, but he’s a fluffy little guy. Please double check. The vet tech takes a quick look and tells me Catticus is a female. Huh. Ok. Well better trust the people who know, right? At least the name is gender neutral.

Fast forward a month, Catticus is scheduled to be spayed. I drop, now her, off for her appt. The vet tech takes her to the back and I head off to work. A couple hours later I see I have a message on my phone from the vet asking me to call ASAP. I’m super worried and give them a call and the convo goes like this:

Vet: So Moe, um has your cat ever had surgery before? Me: No. why? Vet: Are you sure? Me: Yes, pretty sure. Vet: Has she gone to another vet? Me: Nope. Only you guys. What’s going on? Vet: Well.. um.. I got in there and Catticus doesn’t have a uterus. Me: I’m sorry, what? Vet: Well, you know, is it possible she had it removed before you got her? Cause that can happen. Or she could just not have been born with a uterus. Me: What. Or, is it possible Catticus is a HE. Because we thought he was a he until your tech said otherwise. Vet: That is possible. We usually check before cutting them open. I guess we forgot to do that today. Me: Im speechless Vet: Let me give you a call back in a bit.

He calls me back about an hour later and tells me that Catticus is, in fact, a male cat. And that they’d be willing to waive the charge for the surgery that day. Also, that I can go ahead and schedule a neuter in a couple of days. I didn’t pay and didn’t reschedule.

When I picked Catticus up from the vet there was no apology, no real acknowledgment at all that they cut my poor cat open for no reason. Knowing I would never step foot back in that place, I asked for a copy of his vaccination records. You won’t be shocked to learn, they had him listed as a dog.

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Here's the exact timeline of events:

  • Tried making a big purchase order for around $500. Got declined. Tried again just to make sure I didn't make a mistake in entering the information. Still declined
  • Found out I needed to make a payment on my credit card to unlock more available funds
  • Went back and tried again. Still declined
  • At this point, I notice it's actually pulling the money from each transaction from my available funds, despite it declining my card in the end
  • At this point, I call my credit card company to see if there's something up on their end.
  • They tell me it's not just declining my transaction. The retailer (H&M) is actually approving each transaction and then immediately reversing it a second later. So it's actually charging my card each time, and all my money is being frozen on pending charges for 3-5 days.
  • That means that every time I failed the transaction, it would freeze another $500 of my money without telling me
  • I call H&M to find out why it was declined in the first place. After much hemming and hawing, they tell me that if you try and fail to purchase 3 times in a row, it locks your account from making any purchases for 24 hours. However, there was no prompt on the website telling me this, so I just kept trying at the time thinking I made a mistake entering my info or maybe it was a browser issue.

So:

  1. Their system set up in an inane way where it doesn't just decline your transaction, but actually approves and reverses it, so your money ends up in limbo for almost a week.
  2. They lock your account without even telling you, and then allow you to make additional attempts to buy without telling you that each "locked out" attempt will still keep charging your card. You know, instead of doing the logical thing and just preventing you from completing checkout completely with some sort of notification.

So here am I sitting here now. I don't have any of the clothes I ordered, and around $2000 of my money is frozen for the next week. All because they couldn't give me a simple prompt telling me early on that the account is locked from making transactions for 24 hours.

Even after the 24 hours is up, I'm afraid to try again in case it still fails and freezes even more of my money.

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