I purchased a re-edition nylon bag from Prada on 13 October 2020 for my girlfriend's birthday but she didn't like it so we decided to return it.
I contacted Prada on 16 October to arrange a return and a collection from DHL. After initially not collecting it when it was meant to, the parcel was eventually retrieved.
I thought that was it and I would receive my refund in a week or so. However, last week I received a text message from DHL stating my Prada parcel was out for delivery. I was confused.
Handbags at dawn: A Prada bag was left on the doorstep of a customer unexpectedly after he returned the item
A parcel was left on my doorstop with a label on stating 'do not leave with neighbour or in a safe place'.
Inside the parcel was the handbag and a letter with Prada's terms and conditions of returns and a comment saying it believed I had used the bag 'several times'. Now it won't take it back. What can I do? B.B, via email
Grace Gausden, consumer expert at This is Money, replies: Unfortunately the kind and bold act of buying your girlfriend a designer bag without her input turned into a disaster.
The Prada Re-Edition 2005 Nylon bag set you back £585 and you were keen to return the item and get a refund as quickly as possible after she said she didn't like the design.
You arranged a collection with DHL, who initially delivered the bag, for 21 October but the firm never showed up, even though your girlfriend stayed in all day.
Eventually another date and time was organised and the bag was taken away. At this point, you assumed this was the end of the matter.
However, a few weeks later you received a text from DHL advising it would soon be with you to deliver your Prada parcel.
You put this down to an error but later that day you found a package on your doorstep.
Not only were you shocked that the same bag had been re-delivered but also that it was covered in labels advising the driver to hand to the customer or leave in a safe place – rather than in plain sight of anyone walking past.
Inside the parcel was the bag, with a note saying Prada believed the bag had been used several times.
You claim the item only came out of the box once and then put straight back in.
You emailed Prada saying it was unacceptable to accuse you of wrongdoing and requested a refund two days after receiving the bag.
A consumers delivery was left on his doorstep, with a label saying 'leave in a safe place'
Importantly you added that in this time, the country was in lockdown so your girlfriend was unable to use the bag on 'several occasions'.
Prada advised you an internal investigation would need to be done. I have sympathy with the fashion giant somewhat, as it is likely that some people do try this trick - buy an expensive handbag, use it a few times, and then send it back, especially in the Instagram-era.
But you were adamant this had not been the case - it was simply a gift buying exercise gone wrong.
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When I contacted the fashion giant, it said that, due to privacy, it is not 'entitled to share information with third parties about any purchases and transactions performed by our customers'.
It added it wanted to 'reassure' me it is corresponding with you and providing all necessary explanations.
Meanwhile, DHL said there was no record on its systems of a return collection or subsequent delivery to the address or name provided having been arranged or completed and to speak to Prada.
As such, it couldn't explain why a driver had left a parcel on your doorstep without taking the proper precautions to hand it over safely.
Since I contacted Prada, it has been in contact with you and has refunded you the full amount for the bag.
The bag has also now been returned, hopefully, once and for all.
Although an extremely kind act buying your girlfriend an expensive bag as a surprise, it might be worth getting some style hints in the future to avoid this scenario again - although it would require letting the cat out of the bag.
Lakeland told a customer looking to return his kitchen scales to donate them to charity instead
Hit and miss: This week's naughty and nice list
Each week, I look at some of the companies that have fallen short of expected standards as well as those that have gone that extra mile for customers.
Miss: This week, we hear from reader John, who had a problem after ordering some Adidas trainers online from Size? that cost £53.99.
Unfortunately, after ordering, the shoes were then delivered to the wrong address on 9 January by Hermes - and the delivery firm is in the firing line here.
After John contacted it, it was confirmed the courier had delivered to the wrong address, would go back to collect the parcel and re-deliver to you 'within one day' which did not happen.
As many customers have found, it can be difficult to get in touch with Hermes online to report any problem and you struggled to get answers.
I contacted Hermes who apologised for the issue and gave you a full refund straight away.
A spokesperson for Hermes said: 'We have been in contact with John to apologise for the inconvenience, provide a goodwill payment and organise a replacement item.
'This was a genuine error and when our courier did return to collect the parcel unfortunately he was unable to locate it.'
Fortunately you're walking away from this situation with an apology and a brand new set of trainers - and some credit to Hermes here for holding up its hands and sorting the problem.
Hit: However, it is not just complaints that we receive. One reader, Marc, has told of his positive experience with Lakeland.
He said: 'I bought a set of kitchen scales from Lakeland with a gift card I got for Christmas.
'I received a better set for my birthday so I rung Lakeland to return them.
'It gave me a full refund on my bank card instead and told me to donate them to a charity shop so someone else can benefit from them instead of returning them.'
No need to weigh up the choice here, well done to Lakeland for its generous approach.