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Teavana - I am really really stupid. *UPDATE / RESOLVED*

Good grief, I don’t know what I was thinking. I am new to the tea world (I only drink matcha) and my girlfriend has always liked walking past this place and so I thought I’d buy her some tea and may be a nice pot for her birthday (she’s into this stuff). She always has free samples here and I know what teas she likes.

$1014.46 later………..

I am very easily persuaded by good sales people and by the time the total had been rung up, I was horrified, but the store was packed and I just wanted to get out of there. I should have gotten out of there without paying but for some weird crazy reason, I paid and sat in the car and drove home, and pondered what to do next.

I then panicked more when reading about all of the ghastly ‘no-return’ stories, and then checking my receipt which says ‘Any regular priced item can be returned for a full refund or exchanged within 90 days of purchase’. The problem is, my tea seems to have been discounted (because I ended up buying a TON – lol) – and so all of it is 20% off.

I have enough tea to feed an army.

To be clear, I would have been happy spending between $150-$200 for a pot and some tea. But the upsell happened so fast and before I knew it I was taking home a mountain of tea and … ugh….

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, I’m going to try and return it, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to seeing as it’s 20% off. The items were NOT listed as on sale at the store, and the return policy was not explained to me until after I’d signed. Should I have asked? Yes. Am I stupid? Yes. But we all make mistakes.

I’m going to upload my receipt – and you can decide for yourselves what my situation is going to be if I try to return some/all of the tea.

http://tinypic.com/r/zxmj3p/5

Return policy:

Returns with Receipt – Any regular priced item can be returned for a full refund or exchanged within 90 days of purchase.

Returns without Receipt – Any regular priced item can be exchanged or issued as an in-store credit to a Teavana Gift Card within 90 days of purchase.

Sale & Clearance Items – Purchase of all Sale and Clearance Items is final. (this is the part that worries me based on what’s listed on my receipt).

I can’t go back to the store until tomorrow morning, so I’m trying to prepare myself if I’m going to have to live with this huge hit/mistake.

After reading so many stories online about the returns policy, it’s just left me dazed and confused so I need another set of eyes and that’s why I’m posting here.

Feel free to mock me, I know what I did was pretty silly and I should have been a lot stronger at the store, but I’m also looking for help/clarity on this situation. The whole thing is pretty embarrassing, but it will hopefully shed even more light on how easily they can upsell to unsuspecting people like me.

One final thing, just to be clear, the sales clerk who served me was incredibly kind, helpful, and extremely knowledgable – or at least he seemed so. It will be interesting to see if the same thing happens tomorrow when I try to return some/all of this stuff. Honestly, now I know what’s going on I’d love to do the whole thing again.

On the other hand, I suppose the worst case scenario is that I have tons of tea. I’ve also learnt that as I don’t shop very often, if I’m going to buy something at a fancy store, I should probably be more cautious at first!

37 Replies
Lala said

It can’t hurt to try. I have never returned anything at Teavana before so I can’t help you out there. But I would try, and if the salesperson says no, ask to talk to a manager. Make sure to mention what an awesome customer you are that you bought so much!

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momo said

Holy crap. Well let’s see. The 20% is done automatically for buying 5 pounds or more, so technically it’s not on sale, that’s their regular price when you buy that much. I’m not sure if that’ll work on them, but it’s worth a shot I’d say. I am not sure how much you might be able to return, or if you might be able to pull of partially returning amounts.

You’re not the only one this has happened to, I remember seeing a video on Youtube where a guy got tricked into I think $600 or $700 and his friend recorded his reaction in the car, I’ll see if I can find it.

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I’ll definitely report back tomorrow on the outcome of this. Surely any sane person can see I don’t need this crazy amount of tea!

I want to give Teavana a fair shot, and I don’t feel I was tricked. I knew what I was signing and saw the price, etc… They could have been more up front with the prices and that is where they really fail as a company. I would have happily bought $250 worth of merchandise from them if they had been up front about everything and they would have a repeat customer. But the salesman blew me away with his knowledge and charm, I got swept up, and boom, there it was! Now I just feel very weird about the whole thing and it will be uncomfortable to return. A shame, as I visit that mall once a week.

Their business is probably built on people like me though!

momo said

Well, in the short time I was there, when I was taught about selling tea, I was only allowed to even focus on the those expensive “indicator” ones: gyokuro, monkey picked, golden monkey, yin zhen pearls. And they will purposely distract you, part of the charm, so you cannot see how much tea they are putting in the one pound tin, they will not mention the price beyond the first time they show you the tea. From there it becomes quantity, not price. They honestly do not care about repeat customers, the majority of the training revolves around getting people in the store and the presentation of the cast iron and the teas…I’m not even joking that there’s maybe half a page dedicated to regular customers.

btw just to add I’m not trying to be like “no you were tricked!!!” I just want to share what they do so if you do choose to go back, you can be smarter than them at their game. Act like you’ve been there 100 times, like I said, regular customers to them are just there to restock. They might try to show you a favorite then rather than one of those indicators, but if you are really firm with your decisions and confident (even if you have no idea what you want, work it) you can get them to give you just 2 oz without the tin crap. Oh and you always have tins at home, that’s a good one to use too.

Dustin said

“Surely any sane person can see I don’t need this crazy amount of tea!”

You haven’t checked out the threads where we show off pictures of our tea stashes, have you? I don’t think any of us are sane when it comes to tea! :)

I returned some tea to them once and the sales guy was kind of a snot to me, but I stood firm, ignored his sassy looks and the fact that he was making it take as long as possible by helping others in the middle of my return. Be ready for them to not be happy about it, but don’t let them make you feel bad. Bring a friend for moral support if you need. A bossy friend.

I’m really over their pushy obnoxious sales tactics, especially when there are so many other companies out there with amazing tea and great customer service.

I wish you luck on your return! You can do it!

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Lala said

When you go back to return, make sure you leave your wallet at home :P

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Ellen said

woooow you bought all of their most expensive teas at quantities that would take years to drink _ I always buy teas at 2oz.
If they dont let you return it, try to prove that the 20% is a normal discount, not a sale.
If things turn out bad you can try another store or call them, though calling them is probably worse.
Worst worst case and you’re stuck with the tea, you can try to sell it at 2oz quantities on ebay or something. There are also sites specifically for people selling tea.

I will always be buying teas at 2 ounces from now on! The gyokuro and/or matcha is what I originally intended on buying, and the pot. Now I know the pots are probably overpriced, but honestly there is no price on seeing something you know that your significant other will love (it’s her bday tomorrow) – so the cost on that was irrelevant. The tea on the other hand just got out of control.

As for the 20% discount, he told me there would be a discount based on how much I bought, but it was not clearly marked on sale. (The tea was taken from those containers behind the counter which definitely had no mark-downs). The way I see it is that it’s a very grey area. I could also take it up with AMEX (my CC provider), but I’d rather not go there.

Ellen said

Remember: you are fighting for ~$750.
Don’t feel ridiculous if you have to make a scene. Don’t feel like you’re hurting their feelings.

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Lilysmom said

I feel bad for you….trying to do a nice thing and got caught up in their hard sell. Try to be calm and determined with your return. I am sure they will give you push back, at least initially….don’t give up too easily….if you have to, maybe cause a bit of a scene, take up a lot of their time ( they lose other sales, and are motivated to get you out the door?) the tea is not sale tea, just discounted because you bought tons of it……good luck…..

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darby select said

First, I must say….I want to be your girlfriend! If my S.O. bought me all that I’d be in tea heaven.

I wouldn’t worry too much about returning it. Thoses teas aren’t on SALE that’s just a DISCOUNT. The only difficulty might be in returning just a portion of the tea. I have seen customers return tea so you shouldn’t have a problem.

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Chizakura said

The key thing is to be calm. As someone who works in retail, I can tell you that I’m far more likely to give someone who’s friendly and calm what they want than someone who is too quick to get aggressive. When that happens, I just want them out the door and I do as little for them as possible.

Be firm in that you don’t give up if you get a bit of resistance. That was a huge sale they got, and they’ll want to keep it if they can, so they might try to talk about how “it’ll stay fresh for a year” and attempt to downplay how much you have. Just assert that you don’t need a year’s worth all at once — though really that looks like several years worth to me… — and all that. If they try to point out the sale thing to you, gently point out that that was just the discount.

If they’re still giving resistance, then just politely ask for the manager. Be gentle about it though. Say something like, “Do you mind if I ask the manager?”

Politeness and friendliness and maybe a touch of “oopsie D:” will get what you want. Panicking at them is the absolute last resort.

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If you need another excuse for return – the gyokuro, whites and greens, really you have to drink it down in a year, which would be really hard in that much quantity they upsold you for.

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Just on instinct I’d say try not to go through the person who sold it to you in the first place if their there. I’m not sure if their comission, but it seems like if they are the odds of them saying no are higher, even if their policy says they can return it. And their so good at double talk, you might not even realize they were blowing smoke.

This happened to me on a FAR smaller scale after christmas. Went in out of curiosity, walked out with a bag and 50 bucks less, confused at how stopping to sample cost so much lol.

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