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Herbal Inn Blackpool and London Review rip off blackpool
Member Name: ravster
Date: 15/02/09, updated on 15/02/09 (479 review reads)
Advantages: Quick sale
Disadvantages: Feel ripped off
My brother in law had this experience with Herbal Inn in Blackpool, they have a terrible refund policy, pressure selling and convieniently forgetful staff.
I went to a glass front small Herbal Shop in Blackpool Hounds Hill Shopping centre called Herbal Inn, I thought I'd pop in to buy some Himalayan Salt that my half-brother a physiotherapist also studying acupuncture in the United States suggested I try for my Atopic Eczema.
I asked for some and the woman at the counter told me she was new and didn't understand what I was asking for so to sit down and wait for the doctor.
The doctor came over and asked me about where my eczema was (the counter woman had to translate both ways for the doctor) then took me to a desk further back and asked me what I used to treat it, I said steroid creams. She simply stated that they were no good she would use accupunture, herbal tea and cream to treat it without explaining how it worked, why it worked, how much it would cost or if it was a course or single treatment. They asked if I had 30 minutes, She then ushered me to some curtained area, pointed at my clothing and said 'take off', I was quite scared and said I was scared. This being due to the fact that nobody had explained anything to me still and would not for the whole session whilst performing the procedures.
The doctor spoke some broken English asking me what I did and I said I was a nursing student and that I work at Blackpool Hospital. She asked me where my family and I were from, she said that she was from Shanghai and travelled from shop to shop UK and Ireland. She asked me how long I had this condition and I said since early childhood. She asked me why I had not tried acupuncture before, I said because my mother disapproves of it and mentioned again my brother was studying it.
She cleaned the areas with an alcohol swab which stung my sore eczema areas and she started sticking needles all over me on my arms, legs, round my head, neck and stomach and told me to stay there for 20 minutes. She came back and rubbed the areas after she took the needles out and massaged my head and neck then back. Then the doctor started heating a bowl and started placing it on my stomach causing a suction. She then said finish and left the curtained area
We then went back to the desk and she wrote down in Chinese. She said that it was a course of treatment I needed, not a one time thing that I would get £5 off each £35 treatment totalling 5 sessions as I was a student and that the oral liquid and cream was £10 each and I would get the 5th one free.
The counter woman then ushered me to the till and started tapping on the calculator, and said £230 for sessions and medicines. She then asked me to pay in full and I was taken back that I would have to pay for the whole treatment on the first visit since they had given me no time to even consider the treatment having rapidly moved me through the process & not explained anything to me. I stated that I did not realise that I had to pay for everything right now and assumed it was pay for the session each time and obtain medicine each time. She said no this is not how it works and that I could pay half now or half later. I said I didn't carry that amount of cash and she said I could pay by card. She said just pay for the session and medicine now, I felt very pressured into agreeing and she input and I paid £110.00 on my debit card. While it was processing she asked me to fill a registration form in for information, which I assumed to be a newsletter from the words registration form. I started filling it in and reading the sentences but she waved her hand over the form covering it and said no need to read just sign, the card finished processing and she put the machine receipts in front of me with her other hand and urged me to sign it quickly as the store was busy.
I asked for a copy of the Chinese prescription that the doctor wrote to explain what the course was, a breakdown of the costs and she said the doctor was too busy and would maybe do it next time I came in. She opened the appointment book and said I will book you in for next Wednesday or Thursday, I said I work shifts so I don't know when I will be free and would call back.
I felt very nervous afterwards when I was travelling home because I wondered how I had walked in wanting to buy some Himalayan Salt for about £10 to buying a course of treatment and medicine for £110-£230. I thought over the whole sale and thought it was very rushed and I felt bullied with their sales techniques, they hadn't explained anything to me and I didn't understand why I agreed to buy the medicine thinking I could not really afford it when I had time to think and could definitely not afford the course. I went on their website upon returning home to see if I could get a refund for the medicine and it stated that they "Products sold but sealed and with saleable condition are entitled 90% of refund within 10 working days. 10% will be used as administration and post cost. No refund afterwards but exchange can be offered". So I thought if I returned them to the store tomorrow there should be no need for postage or administration costs.
Went into the shop with the goods in the same condition I received them and asked for refund explaining that I realised I could not afford the full course of treatments or the medicine and so wanted a refund for them.
The counter woman said that:
* Said that I could have acupuncture instead of the medicine
* It was very complex as they were a small company not like a big company with lots of shops and big office
* That it was not like returning t-shirt there were forms to fill and would take six months when sent off to the owner
* That the doctor was very busy and that we should come back next Tuesday or Wednesday.
I said that I could not do that as I was working at the hospital, the doctor repeated what the counter lady said whilst rummaging around behind the counter looking through files of sheets getting very irate in her body language, pulling faces and talking harshly in mandarin to the counter woman. I then said to the counter woman how about coming back later when they were less busy at around 2.45pm.
I came back later at around 3.30pm they told me to sit and said because I signed the form that she would not refund me as I had waived my rights. I explained that I did not know I was signing a contract of any kind as it simply said registration form. I believed it to be a newsletter of some kind and as stated before she stopped me from reading the declaration, even filling the form in full and did not know that I was agreeing to any conditions or understand the writing the doctor wrote on the back of the form. She simply said company policy no refunds.
I then said this was done fraudulently and I was not happy with their sales techniques, that I had been on their website showing their numerous locations all over the UK and stating that consumers are able to return goods in sealed and re-saleable condition within 10 days. Both of them kept saying no to me then went to the other side of the store talking for a very long period, so I went over and said that if they are not process my refund then I would have to seek legal advice over this regarding my consumer rights and other legal acts. She said again that it was company policy and would not offer me a refund.
The doctor took me back to sit down and then began asking 'why causing trouble' and waving her arms at me, when she was only trying to help me, I said I did not want any trouble that I had no personal offence against her or the counter woman being a student nurse myself I simply wanted a refund. She then began putting her head in her hands repeatedly and saying that I was causing her trouble, saying they would 'both get fired'. I observed this as acting because it was a huge over-reaction and had done nothing to provoke this having acted in a civilised and calm manner, simply asking for a refund I believed I was entitled to and had no personal malice against them. She then reminded me that she even offered me £5 off the £35 acupuncture sessions because I was a student. I said I was grateful for the session, I was happy to pay for that session and had done so but desired a refund for the medicine. I did not want to continue the sessions as they were sold in a miss-informed manner and as a student cannot afford £230.
The counter woman then came back and said the only thing she could do was offer me £20 each from herself and the doctor. I said I did not want their personal money that it should simply be a card transaction refund from the company the way I paid the company. They talked between themselves in Mandarin becoming increasingly more irate and appearing distressed in front of me again saying they 'would get fired' the doctor slumping over the desk and putting her hands in her head.
The counter woman then ushered me to the phone and the person over the phone said that it was company policy not to return goods, I explained again the website statement, she asked me what website I said the name of the company. co.uk and she said no because they are .com and I said whichever it was as the website I had visited was their company.
She then stated it's company policy not to offer refunds that its different when you buy online. I said that this was an unfair policy and whether I could talk to her or a manager, she then stated that was the Refund Manager and there was no-one else to help me. I said that if they were not willing to refund me then I would seek advice on what action to take and again she said no. I said I would be writing a letter of complaint also and left the store.
Summary: Don't bother, you can get this on the NHS