MISFIT I’d like to speak with the manager


n marches the customer with a used carrier bag and demands to see the manager. “I bought these shoes a couple weeks ago and they are faulty so I

want a refund”. How many times do we hear those words? The problem then comes on how you deal with the situation. Do you just say yes and give the full refund, so you don’t get into an argument and finish up losing a customer? Or, do you look at the fault and decide that this isn’t a manufacturing fault, but the issue is purely down to wear? Or, that they have been tampered with to get the refund.

Over the years, I have heard some of the most amazing complaints and

bizarre reasons, but the one I heard a month ago was the best I have ever heard. A lady returned a pair of Waterproof boots that she had purchased 2 years ago complaining that they were leaking. When the assistant examined the boots the one boot was bone dry and the other was completely sodden. The assistant asked why the one was dry and the other was so wet. The customer replied, “ Well, to check where the boot was leaking I filled it with water and waited to see where the water seeped out from”. How do you resolve this issue?

Although I don’t have anything to do with children’s shoes, I hear the

returns rate is just as difficult, especially with scuffing, which the consumer feels should happen as their little darling would never scuff their shoes on purpose!! If you do try and explain that the fault is not a manufacturing issue you get the good old chestnut “they are not fit for purpose so I am entitled to a full refund”.

A lot of these situations arise from consumer programmes on TV where they encourage the consumer to take product back and demand a refund.

20 • FOOTWEAR TODAY • JANUARY 2017 This gets me thinking why are we as retailers battling with the public when

they return a shoe. It’s not actually the shop they are complaining about, but the product. So why are we jeopardising our business name only to defend the manufacturer? Why don’t we refund any return and then turn the tables on the manufacturer when we come to place our next order, accept your returns or lose our business.

With the boot season upon us we will all start to get the customer

returning their boots complaining that they are letting in water, even though they have not been sold as waterproof. Trying to explain that only product with a waterproof membrane is waterproof goes on completely deaf ears.

I was speaking with a retailer in the north last year who was actually taken

to court over this issue and LOST. The Judge felt that an £80 pair of boots should keep you dry so awarded a refund and full costs.

Hopefully this will have given you all a good laugh and also a few wise words.

What really annoys me is that these programmes make out that the retailer is making plenty of money, so can easily refund just to keep the customer happy and not blacken the shop’s name. They actively encourage the consumer to play on this.

As independent retailers we are representing lots of different brands and

each brand deals with returns in a different way. Some are excellent and will credit any return, others want to see the item before they will credit and others refuse to accept anything that isn’t a definite fault.

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