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Mandarina Duck Handbags

When in Italy the other week I did a full on search – we must have visited at LEAST 25 handbag shops (my mother and aunties say it was 50 but they are Italian… i.e. they exaggerate!) – to find an ideal bag for using when travelling.  I was looking for a leather bag so it was durable, reasonable size so you can get documents, small camera and maybe even a guide book in, something that you can use when out and about all day long, that looked smart if going out in the evening but also casual enough with day-tripping clothes.

After two shopping expeditions, and a second visit to the Mandarina Duck store in Florence, I found it!  A soft, leather handbag with a front end pocket for my mobile, a back end pocket for keys, decent size to hold what I may need, long enough strap to wear diagonally over my shoulders and attractive enough to be smart-casual from the Venice range.  The price tag was not inconsiderable (£150+) for this bag, but many of my Italian relatives have used Mandarina Duck bags for years and found them to be good quality and my wallet is by Mandarina Duck and after a few years of use it still looks as good as new, so although the price tag was healthy I thought I was buying a quality, leather bag that will last me for years to come….

So, when in London at the weekend I decided to give my new handbag a try out…. and imagine my disappointment when I noted on day 2 of it’s outing that a bit had fallen off!!!

Missing a rivet in the handbag strap

Missing a rivet in the handbag strap

On my return I fired off an email to customer services, as the telephone number for Customer Services UK in London that was printed on my Guarantee did not work, and a few hours later I got a reply thanking me for choosing Mandarina Duck and apologising for the inconvenience and (quoted directly from the email):

“In reply to your e-mail, we’d like to inform you that our guarantee – terms and conditions- are  based on the European laws in force (European directive 99/44/EC ).

In accordance with the present European laws, the guarantee is given to the consumer by the shop where the product has been bought and paid for – therefore in case of complaint you should first ask the seller , who is responsible to fulfil the guarantee. Other shops, expecially when located in a different country, are not bound to replace or repair  a product which they have not sold.

However, we understand that sometimes it might be difficult to follow the common rule, and we will try to find another way to assist you : can you please email  us a picture of the bag and of the broken part, as well as a copy of the purchase ticket ?”

Whilst I am sure that is the correct answer, is that really putting your customer first?!

I did send an email with the photo of the damage, the guarantee and my receipts from the Firenze shop.  Now, I know that it’s only a wee part that’s fallen off, but its in the strap – a pretty important part of any handbag – and seems to be what holds the two pieces of connectingleather secure, also it’s a BRAND NEW HANDBAG that cost me a fair penny!!

After they saw the photos and receipts I got a further response –

“thank you for the pictures, it’s very strange that one of the rivets has come off , luckily it is a minor fault which can be easily mended.
We therefore suggest you to return the bag to the MD London shop – 16 Conduit Street, W1S 2XL (phone 02074958288) so they can fix it.
After the repair, the bag will be sent back to your home address . If you prefer, we can as well send to your address some rivets , in case you want to have them fixed there by any workshop of your choice.
Kindly let us know how you prefer to do,”
Now, for those of you who don’t already know….I live in Scotland, and I did explain this in my email so being given a suggestion of returning the bag to London did not go down well! I could have posted it, but if it went missing in the post, got damaged even further?  More hassle for me, as well as the fact Mandarina Duck would not pay for the bag to be sent to their London store.
I am now waiting for the replacement rivets to arrive in the post so I can take my BRAND NEW HANDBAG to get REPAIRED after only 2 days of use! Grrrrr.
Whilst the lady I have dealt with by email (also named Paola …bit weird emailing “Dear Paola, ….regards Paola”!) has been pleasant and did apologise for the inconvenience I feel that the ideal customer service response would have been to send me a new bag and take this one back.  I will always doubt the quality of this handbag now and be checking to make sure the rivets haven’t fallen off again!
Poor, Manderina Duck, very poor.
So, if you are considering splashing out on a lovely, quality handbag try Coccinelle or Furla – these bags have always stood me in good stead and I still have their bags dating back, in the case of one Coccinelle bag, 12 years. I also I love my Francesco Biasia handbag which I have used for 400 days on the trot, still looks as good as new, has been admired by ladies walking along the street who have stopped me to ask where I got it, and, more importantly, has no bits falling off it! Fabulous, darling!

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