A mum says she was left "mortified" after being called 'c***' three times in response to a complaint to New Look - but the store insist the offensive term "could not and did not" originate from their customer services team.
Yvonne Redmond had sent a WhatsApp message regarding a refund for her £15 jeans order, saying she had already attempted to contact the retailer both online and by phone.
But the 39-year-old claims she had to "do a double take" when she received an automated reply message to her phone which began: "Hi C***".
Yvonne replied to the message to ask: "Did you seriously just call a customer a c***?" - only to be addressed by the vile swear word in a further two responses.
New Look says the automated messages generate the name using the customer's Whatsapp profile name and claim the slur "did not come from its customer service team".
The retailer suggested someone must have got a hold of Yvonne's phone and changed her WhatsApp details as a "joke" - but she says this isn't possible as she could see her name was correct even as the abusive term continued being used to greet her.
The full-time carer even sent the retailer a screenshot in a bid to prove her name was appearing correctly on her device.
Yvonne says she believes someone working for New Look must have changed customers' names "thinking they were funny". After complaining about the insult, the store told her they had now corrected her name, which she says proves they can change customers' names to "whatever they like".
The mum-of-six, from Sheffield, said: "I was mortified. First they take my money for an order they said they couldn't honour, now they swear at me for trying to find out why.
"I had to do a double take because the message said 'Hi C***'. I said 'did you seriously just call a customer a c***?'
"Usually I would think it was funny. Once is a mistake, but three times?
"It's concerning that there's someone there that could be changing people's names to all kinds of things, also the fact they're taking money that doesn't belong to them.
"I'm laughing about it but at the same time it's like 'how dare they?'
"I had my six-year-old daughter sat beside me at the time and she saw it."
Yvonne snapped up three pairs of jeans for just £15 online last week, but her fear the deal was too good to be true were confirmed when New Look said it wouldn't be honouring the sale due to a 'system issue'.
Her order was cancelled but she noticed money had still been taken from her account, and messaged New Look's customer services team to resolve the issue.
After failing to reach them by phone or online chat, she said the website directed her to WhatsApp, where she flagged the complaint.
That's when Yvonne says she received the abusive messages, and she added: "Someone is obviously doing that [replying using the term] thinking they're funny.
"When I complained to New Look they came back and said: 'It appears that someone has changed your WhatsApp name on your phone. Perhaps someone has played a joke on you. Not ideal and I would have been as shocked as you'.
"When I clicked on the settings on my app, it's my photo and my name Yvonne. If that was the case I'd be able to see it and it would come up with that word but it's not, it's coming up as Yvonne."
She says a New Look worker told her they had changed her name to Yvonne in their system, but when she again complained later on that she still hadn't had her money returned, she claims she again received the message: "Hi C***. Thanks for your message."
"If they've changed my name to Yvonne, they can change my name to whatever they like," the mum said.
"That word is not on my phone, so what other explanation is there? They said that someone must be playing a joke on me because that's what my display name is, but it isn't.
"It's also the fact that they've answered me on WhatsApp to say they've corrected it, which they obviously haven't because it's happened again today."
Yvonne has since received a refund and a New Look spokesperson said: "When customers get in touch with us on WhatsApp, an automatic response is generated using the customer's WhatsApp profile name, which our systems do not permit us to override.
"We have reviewed all customer enquiries, including this one, over the time period in question, and can confirm this was indeed the case with all enquiries we received.
"Our customer care team have spoken to the customer about her concerns to reassure her that the offensive term could not and did not originate from our customer care team."
WhatsApp said it found no evidence that Yvonne's account was hacked or compromised in any way.