When we first visited National Drapery’s store we found the staff to be friendly and helpful – unfortunately, after that point our experience took a complete U-turn, mutating into a cautionary tale of disservice and disregard.
Initially, we were pleased when National offered a complimentary in-home consultation. We had an idea of what we wanted and were looking for some advice from someone with the aesthetic and technical expertise to provide options based on our tastes and preferences. We were looking for what we thought was a fairly simple item: a white roman shade for our kitchen window that would let in as much light as possible and were explicit about not wanting anything that resembled a bed sheet on the window; rather, something that hung nicely and did not wrinkle. After much back and forth via email and telephone with the consultant (emails that went unanswered until we followed up with the store directly), multiple trips all the way across the city to their showroom to view fabric options and multiple inquiries about the suitability of the fabric we liked, we went ahead and ordered our roman.
$1000 dollars later we have what appears to be an unfinished square of cloth hanging in the window of our newly renovated kitchen… and don’t take it from us: multiple National staff have themselves agreed after seeing it. It was delivered with the wrong chain pull (plastic, not metal, as we requested) and we have found that the fabric does indeed wrinkle. Moreover, the structure of the blind (strings, loops and stitching) is entirely visible through the fabric. Here lay the root of our initial disappointment with this company: with someone standing in our kitchen, observing the light, architecture and décor, and understanding our fabric preference, they failed to deliver design advice – or even a warning, for that matter – that would have led to a better result. Instead, the expectations they set for the product we eventually received were completely out of line.
From there, our experience turned from frustrating to infuriating. When we reached out to National to discuss the blind we were met first with indifference and, on subsequent phone calls, with rude, defensive and patronizing behaviour from their staff. It was, bar none, the worst customer service we have ever experienced. We were told it was a matter of “he said, she said,” that they had done nothing wrong, and that they owed us nothing for what had happened. Upon seeing a photo of the blind, the manager acknowledged that it did look unfinished. She offered to make some small adjustments – removing loops or adding a thicker liner – but this would have involved multiple trips to their store (they refused to pick it up from our home) without doing much to solve the issues. She also suggested we could pay an added fee to add a border to give it a more finished look… so we were also unaware that we were paying $1000 for an UNFINISHED blind!
Our customer experience with National has been nothing short of dreadful: because they failed to provide us with the details necessary to make an informed choice; the finished piece of work suggested they hadn’t been attentive to our questions, concerns or specifications; and they were uncompromisingly unhelpful and defensive when we expressed our disappointment with their product.