Have You Ever Returned A Bottle Of Wine?



Over the weekend this lady came up to me at my stall and started telling me that a bottle of wine she’d bought from me was off when she opened it. I genuinely didn’t know how to react. She’d bought it three weeks previously, opened it, tried it, thought it was corked, and then poured it down the sink. She bought me the empty bottle back and after a bit of to’ing and fro’ing I got the general gist that she wanted it replaced. How should I have reacted here?

What is a corked wine?

So a corked wine is one of the most annoying things that can go wrong with wines. It is not, I repeat NOT, where the cork breaks and falls into the wine when you’re opening it. This is where the cork seal has at some point failed, let oxygen in, and ruined the wine during storage. It used to happen a lot, it happens a lot less now as cork manufacturers evolve their technology. But it still happens.

Not being helpful

So, how did I react? My first thought probably wasn’t very helpful. I wondered what the hell she wanted me to do about it?! It happens and it certainly wasn’t my bloody fault. The other thing being was it’d been a few weeks since she’d bought it, and she’d poured it all down the sink so I couldn’t check if it was or wasn’t corked. They were my first thoughts (I didn’t say them out loud!), so as I said, not very helpful!

Statutory rights

It’s the first time it’s happened to me, so I genuinely didn’t know what to do. So I got on the ol’ smart phone and searched for what other companies did. Nearly everyone offered a new bottle if the customer wasn’t satisfied, something to do with the rule of “fit for purpose” in the statutory rights. (Although I would point out that they all said the purchase had to have been within the last week.)

Stuck in the middle

So despite tiny margins, struggling to make money, and the fact it wasn’t my fault, I had to give away a free bottle. You think I can go back to the producer and say I had a corked bottle, can I have another one? They’ll laugh at me!

My biggest gripe was as it took me about five minutes to work out a response, she was genuinely pissed off with me, despite the free bottle.   Didn’t handle that one very well, did I?




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