Justerini's corked wine

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Stefan Bogdanski, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. Not quite true, the retailer should have the opportunity to repair or replace the item bought if there is a fault with the product.

    Given the product being wine, whilst a merchant could adher to the letter of the law, it is not good practice.
  2. Agreed, Sean. As I understand it there is no special derogation for wine.
  3. Two things here really. Firstly, I am always staggered at otherwise intelligent people's ready acceptance of corked wine. As long as people continue to accept them wineries will be happy to keep producing them.

    And secondly, I recently organised a tasting of Italian wines and one of the most expensive Brunellos was corked. Always interesting when you have two bottles of each wine and one is corked; people always like to compare the two. I mentioned it to the wine shop/importer I got the wines from and they asked if I wanted a refund. I asked if they can recover it from the winery and they said they don't because it is too much hassle, so they just have to carry the cost.

    Such a complex situation. I know in the early days when my wines had corks, the only wines we ever had returned weren't actually corked at all, or faulty in any way, just a style the customer wasn't used to.
  4. Thank you everyone for your thoughts. It's good to hear about possible rights in this situation.

    Exactly that Ian! This was a poorly executed attempt to brow beat with jargon. Very worrying from a merchant of this calibre.

    I'm afraid that that is my takeaway here. Even when the second (higher up?) person replies with the offer to refund on this particular occasion, they do it in an unpleasantly stroppy manner, almost like a toddler being forced to say sorry.

    I'm pleased to report that this has continued at HR. On the few occasions that I had mentioned a corked bottle, I always got a prompt apology (not that this is needed, how's a merchant to know?) and refund/credit from Sebastian. Perhaps Justerini's should get some training from HR on this :p

    Overall, I am tempted to escalate this one final time, to see if perhaps someone in the company does want to provide proper customer service. I wonder who the right person to contact on this might be?
  5. In the good old days I'd have suggested a letter addressed to the Company Secretary at the Registered Office address but suspect you might be thinking of an email. I've had a quick look on the Companies House website and although 7 Directors are listed nobody states specifically that they are the Company Secretary. Interestingly all 7 Directors list their occupations as solicitor, Head of Legal Compliance, accountant etc but nobody states they are a wine merchant-interesting. I suggest you have a look at the Directors and contact the one you think is most appropriate-perhaps the Head of Legal Compliance.
    Stefan Bogdanski likes this.
  6. Even ten years down the line?
  7. I opened an Ardanza 2001 the other week that was corked. I knew I’d bought it from majestic, before all that crap with Gormley et al. I took it into the shop, they immediately offered a refund or suitable replacement. I really only did it to see where the customer service bar had been set and was really impressed, so much so that I bought a case of white that I didn’t really need ( but somehow seems to have been consumed) so this unquestioning and excellent customer service with no condescending bollocks about it maybe being oxidised has made me a customer once again for a business I’d given up buying from.

    There are businesses, small independent ones that I would not return a corked bottle to unless I could be sure they could pass it up the line, but big, long established and self-styled top end merchants should have the good grace and professionalism to deal with this politely and swiftly.
  8. Indeed.
    It's true that the domaine do not replace corked bottles. As for their agents, I guess it's on an 'as needs basis' - I once asked the question of the royal-warranted importer 'Do you keep a stock of 2005 RC for the day one of your customers returns one that's corked?' This Question Time style of response - 'It's never happened' - ie not answering the question.
    Stefan Bogdanski and Thom Blach like this.
  9. Thom, I don't keep a record of such things, nor do I return bottles on anything like a frequent enough basis to give a definitive answer. I agree that with older bottles it is often harder to be sure something is corked, due to other potential issues. But if you know a wine well enough or the taint is particularly bad then it is defective and, whatever the legal position, it is clear enough that a proper merchant should do the right thing.

    I don't take a dogmatic approach by any means and mostly follow the approach Chris advocates above.
  10. Said agent were exemplary in replacing some poxed 09 Leflaive Chevalier -- the first two bottles like-for-like with the same vintage of which they had a couple of loose bottles to hand, and subsequent bottles with a credit. I think in the days of A-C L at the domaine it was taken on the chin in London, but I wonder whether that situation has changed with the new broom in Puligny.
  11. So the 6 years mentioned, is from the time I purchased it, or from the time the wine became available on the market? I'm guessing the former, in which case I am well in having bought the wine about 3 years ago.
  12. I recently had very good service from L&W regarding an out of condition bottle purchased on their website “from a client” (i.e. brokered).

    It was La Gerla Vigna Gli Angeli Brunello Riserva 2006 and when opened with several forumites last friday, the consensus was that it was far more evolved than it should have been and likely heat damaged (the nose was much older than the palate, which itself was lacking fruit and had a bitter edge, although it did not taste “cooked”). I emailed then to bring it to their attention, as there were a further two bottles from the same case for sale and, given it could be a storage issue, I thought they may be interested. I did not expect a refund but thought they may check provenance and perhaps withdraw the rest of the case from sale. They immediately dispatched a further bottle, with a request that I let them know the condition of the replacement when drank (which I shall do).
  13. Generally I don't ask for refunds on corked wines, unless there's a systematic issue with a case, or sometimes if it's a recently purchased bottle bought to drink soon. The vast majority of what I drink has been in the cellar (or bonded storage) for several years and it doesn't really seem reasonable to do so (that's not to say others aren't entirely within their rights to think diffferently.)

    I'd never know with J&B though. Ten years ago an order of 24 halves of a bin-end Auslese were delivered to Seckfords, not with the odd one damaged, but with fully 15 of them missing. No apology, and after several unsuccessful tries to get a refund I lost the will to live and just let it go. I expect they miss me as little as I miss them.
    Leon Marks likes this.
  14. Surely the best policy is to drink other people's
    Nick Templeton likes this.
  15. To the best of my knowledge it is 6 years since purchase as that would be when the contract was concluded between you and the retailer..

    The Decanter article was correct at time of publication but beware as most of the legislation quoted (when talking about faulty wine) has been replaced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Provisions are a little clearer in the CRA and introduce specific time periods. Perhaps you could refer J&B to the article!

    The article mentions S 75 of the Consumer Credit Act in a different context. I've never heard of someone claiming against their credit card company for faulty/corked wine supplied but I can't think of a reason why you couldn't. Another option perhaps.
  16. Just to continue with the recent changes at majestic and following on from my comment above I decided to go for a mooch round and buy a few whites to try. I was pleasantly surprised by the apparent removal of most of the crap stuff and picked out a few interesting looking bits circa £10-£15. As we were loading the car the chap who served me said that if I didn’t like any of the wines I should bring them back for a refund. I said that if they were faulty I would but if I don’t like it then I really should know better by now but he was insistent that it’s their company policy. Maybe, just maybe they might actually be getting back to how things were.
  17. At that point I'd have bunged them over a pre-action protocol letter prior to issuing a small claim..
  18. Yeah, I really should have, but at the time we had a one-year-old and a second on the way and it just didn't seem a reasonable use of time. It was only a small amount of money really - but the principle is pretty basic, so I've lived without them ever since.
    Stefan Bogdanski likes this.
  19. I think the odd "off" bottle goes with the hobby I'm afraid. I would imagine in most cases getting a refund would be flogging the proverbial dead horse for bottles that were bought many moons ago.
    Tom Grande likes this.
  20. There's nothing more infuriating than not being able to get any kind of answer from within a large company, as I am currently discovering with one of J&B's competitors.
    Alino Punzalan likes this.
  21. Waitrose often give you your money back and a new bottle if you take a nearly full faulty bottle back and they don't even ask for a receipt!
    Leon Marks and Stefan Bogdanski like this.
  22. It beats me why businesses are happy to have pissed-off ex-customers out there, all for the sake (for them) of a few pennies of tax-claimable business expense.
    Different if you're an identified con-artist with a bit of history, sure, but otherwise it just seems very bloody-minded of them.
    I'd just drop them a quick note to say how unprofessional you think they are and never trade with them again.

    I once had a corked bottle of Wendouree red about a dozen years ago which I opened a good 8-10 years after vintage, bought from them via a friend's allocation.
    I sent them a note about it (literally printed on paper, to their PO box), and they sent a direct replacement, like-for-like, vintage-and-all.
    That was impressive for such a small business.
  23. It has happened with La T though, no replacement was forthcoming.
  24. I've been buying on and off from J&B for 25yrs and it has never been fun. There is obviously a deeply ingrained cultural issue there. Looking at the quality of their list, I could happily buy most of my wine from there....but I choose to go elsewhere on account of the quality of their service.
    Ben Coffman and Chiu Lin like this.

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