Appalling customer service from Weinhandel Scholzen/ in Köln, Germany

It is saddening that my temporary return to the message boards was prompted by an atrocity of below dimension, but here goes.

On June 20th I ordered a mixed case of bottles through their website It took them nearly a week to respond to several inquiries I mailed them and a further week to check if said 18 bottles were available. As it turned out two were not, but there was no attempt made to substitute them with anything else. As the female shop manager wrote me, they were brutally understaffed and about to go on their summer vacation, so I decided to let that slide.

I hadn’t expected to have my order shipped before autumn, but as it happened a cooler period was forecasted for the second week of July and so we agreed on your national holiday to ship on Monday, July 7th. I also asked to be sent the DHL tracking codes, so I could monitor the shipment myself. Over the weekend however, the forecasts changed dramatically and threatened to return the hot weather as early as Wednesday 9th. I tried to cancel the shipment, but my phone calls/emails went unanswered. No confirmation –nor tracking codes– arrived on Monday however, so I assumed everything was delayed and to resume communications after their summer break.

Lo and behold, the next Monday my case showed up. The sealing tape was broken, clumsily replaced and the case was wet on the side, which I all had the delivery man enter into the system. As it turned out one bottle was broken and two more were missing. The rest felt very warm to the touch –so was obviously heat-damaged– and there were also several raised corks and stained labels.
To add insult to injury, several of my emails on the subject were ignored during the next SIX WEEKS and even on the phone I could not get through until last week, when a male employee answered my call. He sent me a short email the next morning, stating that they did not feel responsible and any inquiries had to be directed to the local post services by me rather than them.
This last statement is blatantly incorrect, as international shipping laws state that all inquiries have to be made by the sender of the parcel. All things considered however, this has to be the worst customer service I encountered since I started having wine shipped in the previous century.

Caveat emptor! [soap.gif]

I don’t think this is going to turn out the way you think it is.

At this point, I have zero expectations. I have warned them last Monday that I would post this thread, but that didn’t merit a response either. Their level of apathy is beyond anything I have ever experienced.

I guess it’s good that it’s nearly impossible for Americans to buy and ship wine from European retailers. Sorry for your problems, Mike!

Sorry to hear of your troubles Mike. Hopefully the wines not broken will be fine as early drinkers.

I learned years ago to NEVER attempt to squeeze a shipment into a window to avoid weather. Just too risky. Yes their communication has been appalling, but in the end, you did authorize them to ship.

I would just chalk it up to a lesson (albeit an expensive one) learned.


A first for me too and I certainly will never try that again, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they unilaterally broke every single agreement I had with them. What pisses me off the most, is their refusal to take it up with DHL and as the adressee I CAN’T. [crazy2.gif]

Hi Mike,

sorry to hear this. Weinpalais is probably the merchant with the worst reputation for availability of wines offered on their website and customer service that exists in all of Germany. The people I know who want wines from them, go to the store in Cologne and buy them physically (or try to buy - subject to availability) or send people to buy the bottles. Possibly, the only thing that helps is actually suing them.

Credit Card dispute?

I learned years ago to NEVER attempt to squeeze a shipment into a window to avoid weather. Just too risky. Yes their communication has been appalling, but in the end, you did authorize them to ship.

AFTER having already had problems with them. Very bad move.

The broken bottle doesn’t seem to be their fault however. Not sure why you can’t take that up with DHL. I’d definitely contact the credit card company though. BTW - please say you paid with a credit card!

Also, if shipment was scheduled for Monday, it was probably packed and ready on Friday. Maybe even picked up. It’s hard to change those directions over a weekend even in the US.

The lack of communication sucks, but that wasn’t news. As far as threatening to post about the experience, I just can’t believe they took that seriously. Probably smiled about it.

“Hey Hans. Some guy is threatening to tell some other people he’s unhappy with us.”

“Oh. It’s so sad Karl. Turn on the game. Podolski is playing.”

Still - a shame about the wine.

Let me see if I understand this…

You place the order, communication from them over the 2 week period is not what you hoped it would be.

You try and thread the weather window to ship and YOU TELL THEM TO SHIP, forecast changes OVER THE WEEKEND, you try to contact them to change your mind, ask them to hold on shipping, they do not or are unable to. Wine is damaged in transit likely due to weather/ heat damage.

You are mad. You tell them make it right or your going to start a thread on Wine Berserkers to complain about them and run them down all over the innerwebz? (you actually lost me before this but this really drives me crazy) They either ignore you or tell you to F@#k off?

My Opinion… You should have known better. They shipped when you told them to. How nimble can you expect them to be, when you send emails over the weekend to tell them you changed your mind about shipping?

Surprise surprise… I am not on your side of this argument. I rarely (if ever) am on these kind of threads

This is NOT an atrocity… Grow up, take some responsibility.

Hi Mike,

Sad that this is the reason for you popping up here again.

Ah, the for good old days when I just drove cases of burgs on over!


I’m beginning to see what you were predicting there. [welldone.gif] So, to all those jumping to conclusions…

Initial communication -once established- was generally okay or I would not have gone through with the order. If they would have shipped on Monday the 7th as was agreed upon in writing, I would not have had any issues with them. I can’t definitively prove they shipped too late because I wasn’t sent the tracking codes -as I was again promised in writing- but according to DHL it is virtually impossible for a shipment within Western Europe to take as long as one whole week. I order regularly from several German sources and it routinely takes 2-3 days.
Anyway, after I received the shipment they simply would not answer any queries until I finally got through on the phone, after the umpteenth attempt. Again, it is their refusal to take up the issue of missing and broken bottles with DHL I find the most annoying.

So… Joel W., do everyone a favour and actually try reading before you start shooting your mouth/keyboard off, okay? Is the second part of your name hateveryournameis, by any chance? I do loathe clever spellers. [snort.gif]

Lastly, thanks for the hints but this was not a credit card transaction. Their policy for foreign payments is that you have to pay by bank transfer before shipping, which is not at all uncommon.

Oh, by the way Greg… I did take it up with DHL and they answered me that they’d be happy to reimburse any shipping damage as long as the sender would lodge a complaint. That is nothing new, at least not in these parts. It that different on your side of the Atlantic?

Mike, as both you and Henry have already commented on, it is sad that this is the reason you were prompted to come back here. Lousy customer service, to be sure, but we do miss you around here - I never know when to pull corks on my Felsina without you around anymore (although I am committed to soldiering on without you) [cheers.gif] .

You believed a weather forecast
You tried to stuff a shipment in to that window with a shop who has below average communication
You tried to cancel a shipment on a weekend a day or 2 before the already agreed upon shipment day.

Strike 3.

Did you really need the wine so soon? Outside of the broken bottle, which DHL might take care of what do you want the shop to do?



Read just a little more thoroughly and you can render those three strikes moot by yourself. Unlike from some others, I really expect better from you than above post.

Mike - I understand your frustration with the lack of communication from the shop. Certainly there is no excuse for that. In regards to your original desire to handle the shipping arrangements for this wine in the way that you did, it does not seem surprising that things got messed up. If I read correctly your not sure when the shop actually shipped the wine. We don’t get DHL in the states but is there not some sort of tracking number on the box label that you can look up online and get the shipping history? I think if you requested a Monday shipment and they shipped Wed or Thurs you might have some recourse… maybe. It would also seem reasonable that the wine shop puts in the proper paperwork for the broken bottle.

Beyond that you have an uphill battle IMO.


Whats that supposed to mean? You don’t think posting here is worth your time but if you do post its just to complain about something? That’s not very nice.

Color me shocked.

You threaten a business by saying unless you get your way you are going to flame them on the interwebs and they don’t think that it merits a response. Who would have thought?!?!?


I feel so sorry for you Mike.
Is there something I can do for a defintely poor chap like you?

Can we maybe make a sidesponsoring from the SF earthquakefund for monumental continental idiots?

You may apply for the most stupid person I ever experienced from a northern country in Europe.


How should the americans ever respect us?
I just had trouble writing the former sentence…