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Fnac/photo printing / Unreasonable response to order problem

1 Switzerland
Contact information:

I live in the U.S., and ordered two online (uploaded) photo enlargements as a gift for my sister who lives in Fribourg. I intended to prepay for them by credit card online and ask her to pick them up at Fnac’s Fribourg store. I do not speak French, but can figure it out in writing more or less. As I placed my order, I expected to have the option of paying online, but was surprised when my order was suddenly complete and I was informed that I must pay in the store at time of pickup. (I have ordered photo prints online several times here from Wal-Mart, CVS, etc., and have always been able to pay online). So I immediately sent an email to Fnac customer service explaining the situation, and asking that they accept a credit card payment (private information redacted):

Message 1 to Fnac:
“Civilité : Monsieur
Nom : Richard
Prénom : XXX
Téléphone : XXX
Adresse électronique : rXXX
Sujet de votre message : Payment For Online Photo Order
Votre message : Subject: Numero de commande XXX
Prix de la commande 10.00
Mode de paiement Retrait magasin
I just ordered online the printing of two 30×45 cm photos that I uploaded, for pickup in the Finac store in Fribourg by my sister, who lives in XXX nearby. These were intended as gifts to her, so I had hoped I could pay in advance by credit card, but after placing the order online, I noticed on the order summary the statement, “Paiement en magasin”.
My question: Is there some way I might pay for these photos by credit card so they are prepaid when my sister picks them up at the Fribourg store?
Many thanks for your assistance with this question. I am located in the United States (XXX, Maryland), and may be reached by email at XXX, or by phone at XXX.
Best regards, Richard XXX”
This is the response I received — Message 1 Fnac to me:
“Bonjour,
si vous retirez les travaux en magasin, vous payez en caisse le jour du
retrait.
Pour payer par carte de crédit, vous devez choisir le mode d’expédition
postal à domicile.
Si vous avez besoin d’informations complémentaires, n’hésitez pas à nous
écrire.
Avec nos cordiales salutations
Votre photo team”
I then wrote again to Fnac, asking that the order be changed to one delivered by mail so I could pay by credit card:
Message 2 to Fnac:
“Dear Fnac Photo Team . . . I would like to change my pending order, Order # XXX from store pickup to postal delivery, if possible, so that I may be permitted to pay by credit card, as per your message copied below. (Je voudrais changer mon ordre en suspens, ordre # XXX, de la collecte de magasin en livraison postale, si possible, de sorte que je puisse être autorisé pour payer par par la carte de crédit, selon votre message copié ci-dessous.)
Please mail the two photo enlargements to my sister at:
XXX
Please charge my credit card for this order:
Visa card, account # XXX
Validation code: XXX
Expiration: XXX
Name on card: XXX
Billing address: XXX
I understand the cost of the order is CHF 10.00.
Since these photographs are gifts to my sister, I would like to pre-pay the cost of the order. Please let me know if my request presents any difficulty. I very much appreciate your assistance under these circumstances.
Best regards,
Richard XXX.”
Here is the response I received from Fnac — Message 2 Fnac to me:
“Bonjour,
Nous vous remercions pour votre e-mail.
Il nous est malheureusement impossible d’annuler ou de modifier une
commande passée même si la prise d’ordre est récente. Celle-ci est déjà en
cours de traitement.
Merci de votre compréhension.
Cordialement,
Le support mail”
This really surprised me, as I had never encountered such an inflexible response from a retail store before when compelling circumstances would seem to require some accommodation. Customers must grow on trees in Switzerland, or else be so used to abuse that this sort of event would be taken in stride. So I wrote again, providing further details, and asking Fnac to reflect on the situation and suggest a solution:
Message 3, to Fnac:
Dear Mail Support . . . I am happy to pay for the order and have my sister pick it up. Since I live in the United States and have no plans to travel to Switzerland, I cannot pay in person at your Fribourg store. I would be happy to either mail you a dollar personal check at a fair exchange rate or authorize you to charge my credit card, and then have my sister pick up the order in Fribourg prepaid. Which would you prefer?
As I explained in my first message sent to you on Saturday a few moments after I placed the order, the order is intended as a gift. Consequently, my sister will not pay for it when she visits the store. The reason this situation arose is that the first I encountered or at least noticed the statement “Paiement en magasin” was on the final summary screen after I had placed the order. I do not really speak French much at all and may have missed some prior notice. I have ordered photos for store pickup from numerous stores here in the United States (Wal-Mart, CVS, etc.) and have always paid online by credit card, which is offered as an option — it had not occurred to me that it would not be an option here as well.
As soon I did notice that statement, which I discovered after I could not find how to pay by credit card — literally, minutes later — I contacted Fnac customer service by email to explain this situation. I feel in all of your company’s responses to date, copied below, you have not made any effort whatever to understand the situation, how it arose, or to find a reasonable accommodation that meets the needs of the situation. I know you could do so if you wished to. No company is without any situational flexibility. After all, I am not trying to avoid paying for the order but merely seeking a reasonable way to do so under the circumstances. In my view, customers who seek services in good faith are probably scarce enough these days all over the world, and shouldn’t be placed in untenable positions by application of an inflexible company policy that is blind to circumstance.
I urge you to reflect further on this situation and your company’s responses to date, and to let me know what you suggest. I hope to reach a reasonable agreement about how to pay and arrange to have my order picked up or mailed. I believe these objectives are entirely reasonable on my part under the circumstances.
Thank you for your continued attention to this matter.
Sincerely,
Richard XXX”
I have not yet received a reply, but will post it as a follow up when I do. I am, at the moment, just amazed.

Bo

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