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i had a e-mail from a customer today asking for some advice i will post the e-mail...


(We have been asked by trading standards to get a second opinion on a pair of football boots we bought for our son in the summer. After wearing the boots for only just over six weeks the boots split right down the one side. We approached the store where we bought them and they're not interested in giving us a refund as it's over the six week period (just). My husband has written to the store saying that we are taking this further and given them time to reply but we have again heard nothing. Trading Standards have asked us to get a second opinion on the boots before they do any more but we don't quite know how this works. Could we bring them down to you to have a look at them or can you tell us of someone else who does this. )


well any thoughts on this would be helpful

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The Trading standards own document on the law relating to the Sales of Goods Act or Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 as it is known these days, is quite clear about what are know as "Free Guarantees/Warranties". The can only be offered in addition to the customers rights. Also, as a consumer (I.E not a business) the company selling the boots cannot have the customer contract out of their rights and agree to the companies own 'returns' policy, e.g say it was only 30 days in the case of these boots etc. So saying this "six weeks" business is just total rubbish. Free guarantees are only useful in situations when the goods are not faulty and you want to take them back for a full refund or you lost your receipt and cant exactly prove you bought the goods from that shop etc. Its like a grace to the customer.


As it stands, as long as those boots have only been used for the purpose for which they were intended for and/or sold on that basis, then the burden of proof to prove the boots are not faulty falls on the retailer. I.E within the first 6 months the customer does not have to go to the expense of proving (for example by contacting an expert like you) that the boots were inherently faulty at the time of manufacture, because as a consumer in any dispute it is assumed that the goods are faulty until the retiler proves otherwise. Its known as "reversed burden of proof" The idea behind this is that the consumer is the little man and the retailer is the big bad monster with all the resourses.. so it attempts to protect the little man, well at least in the first six months..


Sounds like someone at trading standards is being a bit lazy as they should know about this aspect of the law.

If i was the customer then I woudl just hit the retailer with a letter threatening to submit a county court claim for the cost of replacing or repairing the boots + expenses. Then actually go ahead and do so.

When that lands on a branch managers desk then all hell usually breaks lose at head office, because the threat of a CCJ against a PLC company has consequences. The value of the boots are probably no more than 10 minutes of the directors time so I think they will get it sorted out pretty sharply.


If your customer still insists on you writing them a second opinion letter, then I would go ahead and do so and perhaps charge them a small fee much like a doctor would do for signing you passport application.

This matter is probably quite emotional for them (it has been for me when I've been in the same situation) so befriend them and you may just win a new customer, for life..


Hope this helps :)

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Very well put Chello, I'm impressed.


What the customer should also be aware of is that if they go to the county court there is a fee to be paid, once that fee is paid and the summons is given, the company then have the oportunity to refund the original cost of the item + costs + court fees or contest the action.


Put this as a customer to the branch manager and await their reaction.


The boots could be photgraphed showing the damage and posted on here for comments, there could be mitigating circumstances that we are not aware of.

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I couldn't find any information on it through a quick search, But I believe you can have the retailer send the shoes to satra http://www.satra.co.uk/index.php/content/view/full/73 for independent assessment.


I also believe the cost has to be shared between the retailer & customer should you lose, but be fully paid for by the retailer if the judgment goes against them.


I would avoid giving an opinion on the footwear because "if" the case went to the small claims court you "could" be called on?


I will email SATRA a link to this topic to see if they will give us some advice.



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SATRA is a membership based organisation and as such we only test and provide consultancy services for our members. We do not test or examine shoes for members of the public.


The customer's contract is with the retailer and it is up to the retailer to decide how he deals with the complaint. Even if the retailer concerned is a member of SATRA he may not choose to send the footwear to us.


If the customer is not satisfied with the retailers decision, we would advise him to contact his local trading standards office. I must stress again however that we cannot examine footwear directly for a member of the public.


Best regards

Lynne Brent




Lynne Brent

Business Area Manager

On behalf of SATRA Technology Centre


Tel: +44 (0) 1536 410000


Website: www.satra.co.uk


So its back ot trading standards & consumer law.



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Unless the retailer is a member of SATRA and then they can ask for a report from them, providing that they are willing to stand by the costing rules.

The Shoe and Allied Trades Research Association (SATRA) also covers the Leather clothing industry. The produced a pictorial booklet many years ago that highlighted the majority of problems due to manufacturing fault and wearer faults. I still have mine and have used it on many occasions to pusue claims for customers.

Perhaps they still produce it or would allow the forum to reproduce extracts from it.?

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Worth getting if you can get a copy off a member, mine is 30 years old and dated though still relevant today. Worth its weight in gold when customers come complaining that its your fault a problem has occured. Just show them the classic photo of the symptoms and they are then lost for words. I used it to write letters for customers in dispute with retailers and earned a fair few quid doing so.

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  • 8 months later...

you have to get fair and reasonable amount of wear out of your shoes there is no time limit.


you are even allowed to wear a pair of shoes for say a few hours or a day and still take them back.


shops will always try and rip people off or rather the sales assistants who want to look good in front of their bosses by saving them money but who dont realise the boss will sack em without a moments hesitation.


makes me look great especially when you get your customer a full refund when they have already been back into the shop and got fobbed off by a sales assistant,

the shop always back down once ive told the customer what to say (apart from river island)


i always get loyal customers after that giving me really good recommendations to everyone else.

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