In a Facebook post by Malaysian Stefen Chow, he related to the public how staff at The Body Shop on 68 Rue de Rivoli, Paris discriminated against him and oppressed him further even after they overcharged him 5 euros in a single sales transaction.
Take a look at his Facebook post here:
Here’s the full text of his post:
Body Shop, I was racially abused by your staff. This is 2017. What gives?
Dear The Body Shop,
I have been a regular customer of your products and services in the past 20 years. I think this is the last time I will buy anything from you.
I came to Paris this week for a personal trip. I love France. I have been here for almost 10 times, and I am familiar with the people, the sights and the ambience. My wife gave me a shopping list of things to buy, and this includes two items from The Body Shop.
So yesterday on Sunday, 12th November, I walked into your store on 68 Rue de Rivoli, Paris. I was served by Dembele and a colleague. They were courteous then. However, when I made my payment, all 3 of us realised that the cash register made a calculation mistake and charged me 5 euros more. They admitted there was a mistake there and then. However, as it was a weekend and the manager wasn’t around, they couldn’t refund me the difference as I made the purchase on a credit card. They apologised profusely and asked me to come back the next day.
I was about to forget the 5 euros. It wouldn’t affect my day if I lost 5 euros. However, this was in principle the shop’s responsibility, so I went back the next day.
I walked in today, greeted by Dembele. There were a lot more staff on a Monday, and the assistant manager, Dorothy came in. I showed her my receipt, explained the miscalculation, and she immediately rebutted in a very passive aggressive manner.
‘You got your bargain, what else do you want?’
I was taken aback because I wasn’t expecting an argument. I explained that yes, there was a discount over the items, but I am still over charged 5 euros – this was clear to me and the staff the day before, thats why I was asked to come back.
At this moment, Dembele denied all recollection of what happened yesterday, saying it was all my fault. The staff started surrounding me, and I must say that I have never felt threatened in a hair and body care shop – until today.
When I explained that I was asked to come back, and I wasn’t expecting an argument, Dembele threatened to call the police, saying that I was abusing them.
I knew at this moment it wasn’t about the 5 euros anymore.
I felt very confused.
The assistant manager then wanted to know my details, to know who I am.
When I told her I live in Beijing, China (even though I am from Malaysia.), she rolled her eyes and gave an audible sigh.
This is 2017. In a very connected social media world. Do you think that blatant racism and atrocious customer service will still go unnoticed?
I walked away, feeling embarrassed, angry and confused. As I was feeling calmer, I realised at no point the manager offered any form of compromise. I had the products with me, and I was even happy to return everything for a full refund. I thought the least she could do was to solve a customer issue.
In the end, I was verbally abused, racially profiled by your staff. Don’t you think this is rather unacceptable in today’s world?
13th November 2017
Some notable things his account of the events that transpired on his visit to The Body Shop in France:
- The people he spoke to the day of the overcharging denied the incident the next day after asking him to return for the refund.
- Their demands to know his personal information like country of origin and identity.
- The visible scoffing and sighing of some of the staff when they found out he lived in Beijing.
- The passive-aggressive manner of the manager when he asserted his refund.
- The staff threatened to call the police on Stefen.
What has The Body Shop said?
Stefen has released a screenshot of an email The Body Shop has sent him regarding the incident. Take a look:
In the email above, The Body Shop apologized for Stefen’s bad experience. They went further to say that they were investigating the matter but the fact that Stefen was uncomfortable with his store experience was enough to warrant some action.
They also offered to refund his whole purchase if he brings in the products and the receipt to any store.
In essence, this Malaysian man was overcharged 5 euros and told he could only claim the refund the next day.
When he returned, they refused to deal with his transaction, made him feel unsafe, lied about yesterday’s verbal agreement and threatened to call the police on him–even if they made the mistake and told him to come back the next day!
What do you think of this case? Have you ever experienced something like this in a foreign country? Let us know in the comments!
Header image from Stefen Chow