Reporting Kurtis Ming
Getting double-charged was the last thing Bia Saruwatari expected when she swiped her debit card at Roseville’s Louis Vuitton store for a purse that cost $1,950 before tax.
“We’re not rich,” she said, explaining how frustrating it was to be out more than $4,000. “We just want to have something nice once in a while.”
Louis Vuitton customer service, however, refused to correct the double charge, according to Bia and her son John.
The store would not reverse the double charge unless Bia made the 60-mile drive from Suisun City back to its Roseville location, they said.
“That’s not the way you treat customers,” Bia said.
Frustrated about the customer service, the Saruwataris made the trip and tried to return the purse altogether, since it was well within the 14-day return policy.
The store’s manager reversed the double charge but refused to take the bag back because of a small scuff mark on the handle.
“It seemed like she already had her mind made up that she wasn’t going to return the bag,” John said.
The bag had been a display model, and she had barely taken it out of the box, she said.
“In this case, it was being returned in the condition it was purchased at,” John said.
Elk Grove viewer Pamela Campbell complained of a similar issue in 2009, saying the store wouldn’t accept for return an $1,100 bag because it showed signs of wear.
“You have to recognize that it’s somebody standing there that’s going to make these determinations,” said Gary Almond, president of the Better Business Bureau of Northeastern California. “It’s [the store's] opinion that’s going to carry.”
He said the BBB had received similar complaints in the past two years.
“We do not take back items that show signs of use,” said Tara Hannert of Louis Vuitton North America. “The bag in question was brought back to the store by the owner, showed clear evidence of use.”
Louis Vuitton said Bia’s bag was not a display model, and they had no comment on the other complaints submitted to them.
“It’s not fair at all,” Bia said.
The Saruwataris said they aren’t done with their fight, and they plan to sue Louis Vuitton in small-claims court.
“The only thing we want is for Louis Vuitton to refund my mom’s money,” John said.