Frustrated customers feeling short-changed as Jenners owners claim store is still open
Customers seeking to return items to Jenners are furious after turning up to find the doors closed, while owners insisted the department store was still open.
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Shoppers were incorrectly told by the company’s own customer service team the Edinburgh outlet was open – but it has remained shut for more than four months since it last welcomed customers on Boxing Day.
It comes amid confusion over the future of the department store.
Owners Frasers Group plc, which announced the permanent closure of the landmark store earlier this year, confirmed in a statement in late January the retailer would cease trading today.
The owner of the building Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen later said in a statement “Our aspiration is to restore the building to its former glory. The Jenners building will always have a department store.”
Shoppers were left frustrated last week when they turned up expecting to be able to exchange or return items, after the company assured them the shop was open when they asked about returning items bought for Christmas.
But while other non-essential retail reopened across the country, Jenners was padlocked.
Now irate customers who have been out of pocket for months face a journey to Glasgow to visit House of Fraser’s Buchanan Street outlet, after the company insisted customers can only process exchanges or returns in-store.
Mother-of-two Christine McGee said: “I bought clothes for my kids, ages six and three. When I emailed to ask about returns, they said the shop was open until next Monday.
"I drove into town yesterday and it was shut – a total waste of my time.
"Now they are saying I can only return in another store. I’ll need to go to Glasgow.
"It’s ridiculous and confusing that they are still telling people it’s open. I’ve been out of pocket for months now and it’s not like £180 is a small amount. It would be fair enough if they were honest and just told customers what was going on, instead of messing folk about.”
Earlier this year, owner House of Fraser announced that it was closing the landmark store after 183 years, having failed to agree a “fair” rental agreement with landlord, Danish retail clothing billionaire Povlsen.
Mr Povlsen bought the building in 2017 for a reported £53m.
The permanent closure of Jenners – once the biggest retail establishment in Scotland – marks the end of an era for the capital’s high street.
Sandra Graham, 58, bought a shirt in December and contacted Frasers several times about returning it.
In an email reply to Mrs Graham on Thursday, Frasers advised her that returns have to be made in store.
She said: “At the start of January, I emailed asking what to do with the shirt I bought that didn’t fit my husband. They told me the 28-day returns period would kick in when they reopened.
"When I saw the shop was shut I contacted them via email, web chat, Instagram to ask for flexibility, but just keep getting told to return it in store. How can I do that if it’s already closed? They told me at first it was still open.
"The last thing I want to do is go to Glasgow. They could at least let people return things via post. It’s so disappointing.”
Nurse Laura Swan said: “I bought a bracelet for a gift, which I need to return.
"They have been shut since Boxing Day now, but people have not been given any warning of the early closure. I’m making a complaint.
"Who’s going to make a journey to Glasgow for a £15 bracelet? It’s shoddy the way they are treating customers.”
Frasers Group have been approached for comment.