The Perfume Emporium / Non-delivery of goods
I placed an order for over £80 on June 17th 2010 for my wife's birthday. Received email saying that goods despatched 21st June by Royal Mail First Class signed for.
Emailed "Chris" that goods not arrived. He replied Royal Mail were at fault, give it a few days. When a few days were up I emailed again. Received the standard reply that "Chris" was "upset" with Royal Mail and then we entered into many emails where "Chris" was telling me that Royal Mail would not investigate until after 15 days and that any refund would be after many more days after that, as per "distance selling".
Suffice to say that I made it abundantly clear to "Chris" that I was not prepared to wait that long and that if he did not refund me straight away, or send the goods, he would regret it.
By this time I had belatedly read reviews and knew what sort of person I was dealing with.
I also knew that I lived reasonably near to his address (it is on his website) and made him aware that I was quite happy to arrive on his door and sort out the problem if we could not resolve it by email, he knew that I could be there in under an hour.
For some reason he did not want this and said it would achieve nothing
I had asked for proof of posting and despite the fact that the proof would show that he was genuinely an honest businessman, badly let down by Royal Mail, he declined to send me a copy or any details so that I could pursue the matter with Royal Mail.
I made a point of emailing him 3 or 4 times a day to ensure that he knew I meant business.
I contacted Consumer Direct, got a reference number and immediately rang Notts. Trading Standards on [protected] where I spoke to Anna Potter. Although she could not comment on The Perfume Emporium as it was an on-going investigation, I got the impression that such cases were very drawn out. I had a further conversation with Trading Standards during which I told them that I had told Chris Collings that I had managed to contact a large number of irate customers who had posted reviews on a number of forums and were willing to give up their time to have a demonstration outside his house at Glenloch Drive. I had also notified John Robinson of This is Nottingham [protected]), a local journalist who had expressed interest in covering the idea.
I told Trading Standards that I hoped their role in this saga was robust, as it would undoubtably come out during the following publicity.
I had already informed Collings that unfortunately I would not be able to let him know when the demo. would take place, but it did not matter if he was not there, as the media would catch up with him after the event if necessary.
I had been advised by Consumer Direct to send Collings a letter stating that if goods not received by a certain date he would be in breach of contract. I did this, recorded delivery. I was still sending him 3-4 emails per day and he acknowledged receipt of this letter in a reply.
He is obviously worried by complaints to Notts .Trading Standards
It was at this point that I found an item referring to The Perfume Emporium on the BBC Watchdog web-site which had a statement from Collings saying how he had run out of money in 2009 and was trying to pay refunds back and should be clear by end of year.
This was followed by a joint statement by Notts. Police and Notts. Trading Standards which said that they had had a meeting with Collings on 25/11/09 and he had given certain undertakings. Although still trading, they were "monitoring" him.
I was furious. Here he was, still pulling the same stunts and they were supposed to be monitoring him.
I rang Trading Standards and asked a manager what it was that Collings had to do to not conform to their requirements, as it appeared that he was still carrying on in exactly the same way, but now with their joint approval since 25/11/09.
I should add that I was insistent that a manager speak to me and I was phoned at home by them. I was told that they could not discuss this case as it could prejudice the outcome, but I got a 10 minute lesson on current legislation.
By this time Collings was being worn down by various things that I had proposed to him and promised me a refund which was put back on my card account on about 20th July. Very quick.
I had already been refunded by my card provider, so was never going to be out of pocket. I had made the point to my card provider, Notts. Police ( oh yeah, I rang them as well) and Notts. Trading Standards; thsat I was not bothered about losing £83.85. I just wanted to ensure that Chris Collings was stopped from pulling the same stunt on anyone else.
My advice. Deal through Consumer Direct, then Notts. Trading Standards. Send the letter to Collings by recorded delivery. Keep the pressure on Notts. Trading Standards, this guy should have been shut down by now and the more people that tell them that, the sooner it may happen.
The other things I proposed to Collings were to make him believe that he had picked the wrong person for his scam and spoil each day for him. (I did send one early in the morning to keep him on his toes).
The fact that he refunded so quickly makes me think that he actually did believe that.
I still send him an email or two just to let him know I have not forgotten him and intend looking him up next time I am in the area.
I am watching the reviews to see if new ones are still being posted and intend letting Trading Standards know if this is the case. Just in case they do not realise it.
I would love Watchdog to pick this up and examine Trading Standards role.
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