/ Mud on boots... and Cotswold Outdoors

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richprideaux - on 21 Dec 2011
Does anybody here know the facts in relation to the return of faulty boots etc to UK retail stores?

Most of them seem to have the following somewhere in their T and Cs:

"to comply with Health and Safety regulations we cannot accept returns for exchange unless they are clean and free from any mud or debris"

Is this true? Or is it just because the manufacturer won't accept returns from the retailer in that state?

VERY irritating bloke in Rock Bottom yesterday questioning the return of gaiters purchased the week before because they hadn't been fully dried after being cleaned...
Andrew Bolden - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

It's both. The store are not supposed to handle them due to H&S and the manufaturer uses the same interpretaion of H&S.

Why not clean them first?
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa: Did you expect the shop to offer a gaiter drying service for you?
richprideaux - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to Van De Rooster:

But do the HSE actually state that they cannot handle them, or is it a perpetuated myth?

sharpie530 - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

Not sure of the facts, but when I used to work in an outdoor shop some manufacturers wouldnt accept stuff that was dirty, and some would charge the customer for cleaning if the stuff was dirty. I can understand somebody in a shop not taking returns of stuff if it is still wet. It means they have to find somewhere to store it while it dries as you can't really post it while its wet. It was never that pleasant when somebody would walk in with a pair of muddy sodden boots after a day of torrential rain, put them on the counter expecting a full refund or a new pair as they had leaked all day!
nufkin - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

It's been the same policy for outdoors shops I've worked in. It might seem like they're trying to be as awkward as possible and is probably a bit unnecessary, since there really isn't much likelihood of catching anything ghastly, but you should do it out of courtesy to the staff, if nothing else. Why should they have to wash someone else's boots?
mike kann - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa: Who gives a toss about Health and safety, it's common courtesy. Would you want to handle muddy boots whilst trying to work out if there is something wrong with them or not? For a start you can't see the boot and seams etc when they're muddy, so in a shop you would need to go to a sink, and clean them off before inspection - I would have thought this would just be common sense?
gethin_allen on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:
Why should the people in the shop have to deal with your mingin wet gear? clean it dry it then send it back.

Re H+S regs, they probably mean their H+S policy which can be whatever they want it to be within reason.

timjones - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:
> Does anybody here know the facts in relation to the return of faulty boots etc to UK retail stores?
>
> Most of them seem to have the following somewhere in their T and Cs:
>
> "to comply with Health and Safety regulations we cannot accept returns for exchange unless they are clean and free from any mud or debris"
>
> Is this true? Or is it just because the manufacturer won't accept returns from the retailer in that state?
>
> VERY irritating bloke in Rock Bottom yesterday questioning the return of gaiters purchased the week before because they hadn't been fully dried after being cleaned...

Surely it's good manners to dry them properly before returning them?
richprideaux - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to mike kann:

Just to note, the gaiters were clean, washed and just slightly damp. Not muddy in this case

Just trying to find out the actual legal right a store would have to refuse to follow the Sales of Goods act etc. When buying, you don't sign a piece of paper saying you will return faulty goods in the state they were sold to you in...
In reply to shingsowa: I don't see why a shop should take back something that is dirty or cleaned after being used - unless of course it is faulty. Why on earth should a shop accept back a pair of used gaiters? If you want to take it back, try them on inside, not outside.

Look at it another way. You are a customer buying gaiters. You decide which one you want, the rack has two of them. One is brand new, shiny, with all the labels. The other one is either muddy or just does not look brand new - it hasd been used and washed. Which would you choose?
Andrew Bolden - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

My understanding it that a shop has to safeguard it's staff.

You couldn't expect the staff to be able to identify whether it's "good" or "bad" mud, just easier to ask things come back clean.
richprideaux - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Probably wasn't clear enough in the OP, these were £90 gaiters and the zip failed when i unzipped them after first use.

I just quietly wanted an exchange for a non-knackered pair and was subject to poss-taking and claims that it would be hazardous to the staff health as they were mildly moist...
alexgoodey on 21 Dec 2011
Return to exchange is one thing, a refund is completely different...

A return should be fine if the goods are faulty, in which case they can be swapped for store credit or a new set of boots from the same shop.

If the customer wants their money back however, the retailer should expect that the goods have not been used (certainly not outdoors) and there's a taste or fit problem which wasn't picked up at the store. The store should also expect to be able to resale the returned item at the same price (hence cleanliness and tags/box retention) or with minimal discount, otherwise they're looking at a loss of profit or even a total write-off.

Reasonable customers should respect that they have an equal part to play in using consumer rights, just as shops should respect customers by ensuring customers are well informed of them (on the back of every receipt and on signage in store, for example)
alexgoodey on 21 Dec 2011
p.s. the H&S stance is probably just made up by someone who can't explain consumer rights properly. Sadly most shop staff are only taught company policy, and not 'statutory consumer rights', which frequently over-rule shop policy!
In reply to shingsowa: Ah ok, makes sense now. As for the fact they were wet from cleaning, just ask politely to see someone senior? I find getting irritated by irritating people is a waste of my time. I have a low threshold for aiming higher up the ladder when people in a professional capacity get difficult!

Alternatively, the young lad just got the job in the shop and doesn't know his arse from his elbow, was out of his depth and somewhere in his head a dim lightbulb went ping! and he remembered thhe words H&S from the staff induction day which he spent half asleep, half looking at the pretty shop assistant, and for him a job is a job is a job, a way to earn money, and he has no interest in doing it well! And a bit like "the computer says no", when faced with a situation he'd not dealt with, rather than working out a solution, he defaulted to H&S.....
mike kann - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa: I know - personally I would have taken them back, but I was refering to your opening title which is about boots... slightly damp gaiters I wouldn't have a problem with, especially if they are clearly faulty.
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

The general rule for nothing that is muddy is because you don't know what else is mixed in with that mud. If it was a pair of wet boots I wouldn't take them back, as they can really pong. Gaiters are a funny one, if they where a little bit damp then I would normally accept them back, if they where dripping wet I wouldn't. You must have gone from washing them back to the shop pretty quickly for them still to be damp!
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Or he was following company rules and couldn't are arsed to piss about with wet gaiters, only to get in trouble with management?
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to alexgoodey:
> Return to exchange is one thing, a refund is completely different...
>
> A return should be fine if the goods are faulty, in which case they can be swapped for store credit or a new set of boots from the same shop.
>
>

Or a full or partial refund.
itsThere on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa: some manufactures will test the boots they get back, or i like to think they do. this may be why they need to be dry ect. H&S could be a good excuse for this. also you cant see what is wrong with muddy boots. zip on gaiters is different.
Jaffacake - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

There's nothing in the law saying staff can't handle wet or muddy boots.

If H&S is their reason (rather than it being rather impolite to return wet or muddy things) then it's down to their interpretation and policy.

The only times that the law cares about what you're handling is if it's dangerous in some way, as this obviously isn't too heavy or likely to blow up or something I would assume they are considering it could be hazardous in a chemical sense, which the law concerns itself with in the case of basically anything with a little orange box on the side warning you of a hazard.

They are presumably arguing that if it's wet or dirty they are unaware of what hazardous substances it may be oozing onto the skin of their poor employee's and thus are unable to risk assess it other than to say they can't handle it.

Which is obviously bollocks, it may equally have been impregnated it with some hazardous substance that just doesn't feel wet to touch, some form of hazardous powder perhaps? To follow this policy to the ridiculous conclusion would be that things simply cannot be returned because staff don't know where they've been so do not know if it's hazardous or not.

HSE's take would likely be to say that while it is correct that such things should be risk assessed, the logical conclusion that if it's muddy or wet it's almost certainly covered in ordinary mud or water which is highly unlikely to pose a risk to staff (which if was the genuine concern you'd just make them wear gloves) and to apply a ban has nothing to do with health and safety law and is someone just using H&S as an excuse to not have to take your muddy shoes.

Using H&S as an excuse is bullshit, if they want a policy not to take dirty returns then just say that, it's pretty reasonable. Why work towards undermining the good work that H&S law does (saving lives) with crap like this (this applies to virtually every headline on a silly H&S rule), it just makes everyone think the whole lot of it is crap rather than aimed at making shitty employers not kill their employees.
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to Jaffacake:

If someone has walked through a field covered in cow crap I don't really want to be handing that, wouldn't that be considered a biological hazard?
franksnb - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to JoshOvki: if you stick that wet dirty boot in a bag and send it to the supplier it will have all sorts of bacteria in it when they open it. its standard procedure for all outdoor retailers i know of.
Jaffacake - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:

It could contain just as much bacteria without being visibly covered in cow crap.

So could my hands, that I've just put all over your counter, so could anything really. While HSE does have guidance (which is not the law, it's just advice on how you can fulfil your legal duties) on hazards presented by micro-organisms it's more aimed at people working in rather more dangerous places than a shop and while you could extend it to include dirty boots the same extension could also cover all staff having to work inside radiation suits with self contained breathing apparatus.

You may well be concerned enough about the risks to include it as a health and safety risk in your own policy, but it would just be your interpretation of the law and it would still be incorrect to say that health and safety regulations mean you can't handle it, which is what the OP wanted to clarify.

This may be getting somewhat into semantics (H&S law rarely states anything specifically).

I should point out that I don't think it's acceptable for people to expect a shop to take returns that are dirty or wet, but using health and safety as an excuse is bollocks and undermines it's real purpose. It may be a factor in your decision not to take them, but a minor one, after it being completely unreasonable to expect a shop to take wet or dirty returns.
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to Jaffacake:

The official lines for Cotswold is:

"Please be aware that in order to comply with Health & Safety regulations any faulty items should be returned for assessment in a clean condition free from mud and dirt. We regret that we are unable to process items that do not meet with these criteria and we will return such items to you. "

Probably because as part of there risk assessment the nasties that could be found in mud and dirt could be a risk to the staff. There precaution to make a safer environment for their staff is to say no to anything that is muddy or dirsty.
captain paranoia - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to alexgoodey:

> If the customer wants their money back however, the retailer should expect that the goods have not been used (certainly not outdoors) and there's a taste or fit problem which wasn't picked up at the store.

A customer has no entitlement to a refund for goods they've bought if the goods are not faulty or unfit for purpose. If a retailer chooses to allow such refunds, it's purely a goodwill gesture.

Distance selling regulations for purchases made via phone, mail order or internet entitle the customer to a refund, even if the goods aren't faulty.

But, as you say, the goods must be unused, otherwise you're just taking the p*ss...
richprideaux - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:

If their risk assesment says that they are potentially hazardous then it is the duty of the company to ensure their staff are protected... But that would take the form of cleaning equipment, PPE and protocols to ensure problems are minimised. Refusing to obey the law with regards to faulty returns isn't the answer...
muppetfilter - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to Jaffacake: You are obviously unaware of a piece of UK legislation called COSHH or Controll of Substances Hazardous to Health. The person who owned the boots could easily have come into contact with any number of nasty diseases and the employer is legally bound to provide a safe workplace... Weils disease is one of a number of diseases boots could come into contact with, E-Coli,Toxo Plasmosis,Toxicara Canis etc

All nasty and all could be potentially found on muddy boots, google the diseases to see how they could ruin a shop assistants day...
In reply to JoshOvki:
> > Or he was following company rules and couldn't are arsed to piss about with wet gaiters, only to get in trouble with management?

Ahh! The good old "I can't help you, it's more than my job's worth, I am incapable of independent thought beyond what I have been told" response that seems all too prevalent in the British consumer industries.
Clarence - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
> If someone has walked through a field covered in cow crap I don't really want to be handing that, wouldn't that be considered a biological hazard?

I hope not, I have ingested enough cow crap over the years and it hasn't affected me moo much...

There is a world of difference between slightly damp but clean and dirty though. Since gaiters are generally waterproof it shouldn't take too much for the shop to leave them out in the fresh air for a bit to dry. As long as they haven't been washed in a bucket of stale tramp's piss they should be perfectly safe and hygienic to handle. Muddy stuff is different as it is not only discourteous but can be a bugger to clean up in the shop. I have had to pick cleat-shaped divots of semi-dried mud out of the cash drawer before, nobody likes a £5 note in their change with a brown streak across it do they?
Jimbo C - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

Health and Safety is not the real issue here and I expect it gets reffered to as a quick and easy way to get people to go away and clean and dry the stuff they want to return.

I'm not saying the OP was wrong since I don't know if the gaiters being returned were soggy or just slightly damp in places. However, in general I wouldn't expect a shop assistant to have to handle dirty or wet goods out of common courtesy. They are selling brand new shiny gear all day in a clean, dry and (hopefully) pleasant environment. To expect someone to get all shitted up whilst working on a busy till where the next customer is buying something shiny and new would be out of order.
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

I never said that at all. More of a who do you think you are, demanding I do something that will potentially get me into the shit?
winhill - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

If you bought them in the morning, at an outdoors shop far from where you lived, and they failed whilst you were out with them that day, it would be absurd for the shop to refuse to take them back if they were wet.

It really isn't a question about 'respecting' the staff or fulfilling your obligations as a consumer.
In reply to JoshOvki: What is going to get him "into the shit" about a wet pair of gaiters? What do you mean by "in the shit"? What is the worst that can happen? The manager says "Look Jimmy, you shouldn't have taken the gaiters because of XYZ. Here's a refresher of the policy....ABC....DEF....right, that's you now reminded of our policy, the matter is now finished and dealt with". End of story. Does getting told that you have not done exactly the right thing at work really matter that much?!
timjones - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to Jaffacake) You are obviously unaware of a piece of UK legislation called COSHH or Controll of Substances Hazardous to Health. The person who owned the boots could easily have come into contact with any number of nasty diseases and the employer is legally bound to provide a safe workplace... Weils disease is one of a number of diseases boots could come into contact with, E-Coli,Toxo Plasmosis,Toxicara Canis etc
>
> All nasty and all could be potentially found on muddy boots, google the diseases to see how they could ruin a shop assistants day...

You seem to be implying that shop assistants don't wash their hands iften enough?

You can't entirely remove these problems by washing boots so RA's should include handwashing as well as relying on things appearing to be clean.

I still think that this is all about good manners.
birdman - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

Interesting, i bought a pair of gaiters from Needle Sports the other week and one of them fell apart after walking literally 300m. I took them back at the end of my walk (they were put in my rucksack to avoid further damage and were flapping aroung which was annoying) whilst still wet but clean of mud etc and they were replaced instantly.

I think a bit of common sense is required from all parties, the OP said they had been cleaned but not fully dried, which it's not always possible to do. Lets face it if a good is faulty, the shop are hardly likely to put it back on the shelves once dry to sell it again are they!
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

That is all good an well until the same shop assistant has done it 10 times, and then its. "Look Jimmy, you have ignored company police several times now, unfortunately we are going to have to give you a written warning. If you carry on doing this we will have to considered further disciplinary action."

Que next customer with something to return that is muddy or wet.
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to timjones:

But you have a problem of a busy shop, you handle the muddy boots at the till, and pass them onto your college. You then go and serve the next customer and pass them change. They then go and order food with the change you gave them from the fast food place next door. Unlikely but still possible.
In reply to shingsowa: Shame people can't wash their hands. That would solve all the problems...
In reply to JoshOvki: You make it sound as if when it happens for the 10th time there is a serious problem - I don't think there is, if he can't cut the mustard after repeatedly failing to get it right, let's be honest, Jimmy is in the wrong job. If someone repeatedly - as per your example - messes up, there is no reason why management should not go dowen the patyh that can lead to dismissal. Simple - replace him with someone who can get it right. Who's problem is that? Jimmy's. If Jimmy repeatedly cannot learn from his mistakes, he is in the wrong job.

Conversely, if someone the first time (or few times) they mess up really cannot justify to their management why in the interest of keeping customers, and acting in good faith and in accordance with their honest interpretation of policy, they did such and such, they are probably in the wrong job.
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

But if Jimmy does learn from his mistake and does not accept the return he gets all sorts of comments from you about how he doesn't know his arse from his elbow, and isn't interested in doing his job well.
timjones - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to timjones)
>
> But you have a problem of a busy shop, you handle the muddy boots at the till, and pass them onto your college. You then go and serve the next customer and pass them change. They then go and order food with the change you gave them from the fast food place next door. Unlikely but still possible.

Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that good manners dictate that boots should be returned clean.

Sadly the risk still exists even if the boots appear clean. Washing your hands before eating is always a sensible precaution.
In reply to JoshOvki: Christ on a bike. We can chase our tail forever over this if we want. My bottom line - the "excuse" of "I don't want to try to help you out of fear of getting told off" in a customer service/retail environment is utterly pathetic.
JoshOvki on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

You might think it utterly pathetic, but that is your problem. I read on your profile you used to be in the forces, you wouldn't disobey something you where told to do, so why should someone working in retail?
Jaffacake - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to muppetfilter:

No, I am aware of it, I just don't believe that handling something that has been outside would class as a substance hazardous to health, nor apparently is it something the very anal auditor who likes to pick apart my work thinks either as mud and dirt is something that workers at the place I do health and safety for do come into contact with. I did however get in trouble at my last audit a month ago for failing to assess and document some old tipex he found in a drawer that I didn't know was there, because that actually is covered by COSHH.

But that's not really my point, my point is that the law does not forbid people from handling muddy boots.

If their reasoning is health and safety then the correct phrasing should be "due to our interpretation of health and safety regulations..." Of course most things with H&S law is down to interpretation, but in answer to the OP's question about whether or not the law forbids you from touching dirty shoes, the answer is no.

I imagine people working in shops come in contact with all manner of diseases, as do the rest of us, and a pair of boots is unlikely to be the cause of the issue, especially as if it's dirty people probably aren't going to touch it anyway, certainly not smear it all over their hands then lick their fingers.

And one pair of boots is less likely to be harbouring anything particularly nasty than every other pair of shoes walking in and out the shop, spreading their deadly poison. Or on the hands of customers, pawing everything. I imagine the shop is already crawling with enough bacteria that being worried about a single pair of shoes is worrying about a drop in the ocean.

On a related but unrelated note one first aid trainer I had said you're most likely to get Weils drinking from a bottle at the pub, as they've been pee'd over by rats, I always wanted to find out if it was true.
richprideaux - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to Jaffacake:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k34SL6DWZcw

Mythbusters had a crack at finding out
Jaffacake - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

Damn, why doesn't it show me the whole story

This suggests it is false though http://www.leptospirosis.org/topic.php?t=9

And that you can only get it if the food or drink comes into direct contact with the urine of an infected animal, is neutral pH and never dries out.
In reply to JoshOvki: Strange response, you seem to have a very simplistic idea of the whole order/disobedience thing in the Armed Forces. Mate, the Armed Forces don't work on the basis of simply giving out orders and people all falling into line. If someone wanted me to do something that was wrong, we'd discuss it. virtually always I acted in what I thought was the best interests. Occasionally I got it wrong or my boss disagreed. But I'm grown up enough not to take it to heart and I never saw being told off (not sure what you think that really means in the Armed Forces?) or having a disagreement over how to proceed with a situation as a reason to stop engaging my brain, applying judgment and common sense and thinking about it rather than relying on default black and white positions that by their very nature are not applicable in all situations, and in fact are only applicable in a small amount of situations. The Armed Forces need people who can think on their feet and apply interpretation rather than slavishly following protocols. Also, if I thought I was being told to do something I knew was categorically wrong, I bloody well would have had the courage of my conviction and spine to refuse to do it!
birdman - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

Ahmen to that!
In reply to shingsowa: I think they ought to ensure all staff wear respirators that filter out cold and flu viruses, or even avoid any human contact whatsoever to prevent the spread of disease.
victim of mathematics - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to muppetfilter:
> (In reply to Jaffacake) You are obviously unaware of a piece of UK legislation called COSHH or Controll of Substances Hazardous to Health. The person who owned the boots could easily have come into contact with any number of nasty diseases and the employer is legally bound to provide a safe workplace... Weils disease is one of a number of diseases boots could come into contact with, E-Coli,Toxo Plasmosis,Toxicara Canis etc
>
> All nasty and all could be potentially found on muddy boots, google the diseases to see how they could ruin a shop assistants day...

Wow, I'm never going near the outdoors ever again.

In other news - stop being an idiot.

In reply to birdman: which bit!?!?
Bimbler - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:
I've taken wet and a bit dirty boots back to cotswold in betws and they took them back fine. I think cotswold are amongst the most generous of shops with regards to what the accept- I've taken loads of stuff back and its exchanged no problem.

I think the op may have left himself a bit open to criticism by not giving the full details at the start. I would add that I suspect they took the item back as it was on their way home so was easier than having to return later at much additional cost to replace a clearly faulty item. In this case I feel it was entirely reasonable to have item exchanged.

Anyone else find kit is not as well made as it used to be... I'm thinking ME and gore-tex in general for me.
Duracell - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa: Shop assistants in Cotswolds or any other outdoor retail chain do not get paid enough to handle your mudded up boots. I know.
timjones - on 21 Dec 2011
In reply to victim of mathematics:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
> [...]
>
> Wow, I'm never going near the outdoors ever again.
>
> In other news - stop being an idiot.

Are you saying that as a farmer I don't need to about the huge heap of SHH in the yard ;)

For many many years we've minimised the risk it imposes upon us with a wonderful and readily available product called soap!
muppetfilter - on 22 Dec 2011
In reply to victim of mathematics: Thanks one again for your usual constructive input on a topic. I really hope you get worms ;0)


I wonder why Aus and NZ have such stringent footwear regultions at immigration ?
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 22 Dec 2011
In reply to muppetfilter:
>
>
> I wonder why Aus and NZ have such stringent footwear regultions at immigration ?

Isn't that more about invasive species than disease.

Plants that can sprout from the smallest piece, seeds in the mud, insect eggs etc.
ezzpbee - on 22 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa: So with all this talk of HSE how come in cotswolds rock bottom in betws they had a line of dirty muddy boots for sale upstairs marked as shopsoiled and factory returns a few months ago ?
Luuuke - on 22 Dec 2011
definately true!!
Although some stores are more strict than others!
And at the end of the day, shop staff shouldn't have to clean or dry your disgusting muddu foot wear, stop being so bloody snobbish and lazy and do it yourself!!
ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to Luuuke:

> And at the end of the day, shop staff shouldn't have to clean or dry your disgusting muddu foot wear,

While I agree, the stores shouldn't be spreading bullshit about it being for H&S reasons.

bluerockman - on 22 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:

As a previous employee of Cotswold Outdoor I hope to put a few of the issues raised here to bed.

Any kit returned must be clean and dry. For the following reasons: The manufacturer will reject the return. Think of it like this; you return the boots day 1. The boots are then stored in a returns basket. It may be a few days before the RTM (Return to Manufacturer) is processed. Lets say Day 3. From here, the faulty boots are then sent to head office, (day 5). At this point the boots are either written off or return to the manufacturer for a credit note if the boots are deemed to be faulty through manufacturer error. A few more days and the boots arrive at the manufacturer distributor and then the maker itself. From this example whilst someone leaves muddy boots with the shop and forget about them the staff have to deal with them for up to another 10-14 days. By which point they will smell more, might have gone moldy, especially if they are put inside a plastic bag for shipping to head office.

Health and Safety does play a big part - no one wants the risk of dog/cow crap on their hands or it being spread around the shop, but it is courtesy as well. Now if someone had brought in kit that was clean but damp from cleaning then personally I would accept it and store them until they are dry. I wouldn't do the same for dirty kit.

At the end of the day its a little bit staff/shop dependent - my old bosses policy was to do everything possible for customer but at the same time deal with customers who take the p*ss. Hope that helps
winhill - on 23 Dec 2011
In reply to bluerockman:
> (In reply to shingsowa)
>
> As a previous employee of Cotswold Outdoor I hope to put a few of the issues raised here to bed.
>
> Any kit returned must be clean and dry.

In the example I gave of someone who bought it from Cotswold and used it that day, was faulty and returned to the shop with wet and dirty faulty goods, it would be unreasonable of Cotwold to refuse and they are not within their rights to do so.

It's just corpoarate bullshit hidden behind some stupid rules, it doesn't reflect the law.
Jenny C on 23 Dec 2011
In reply to bluerockman:
> (In reply to shingsowa)
>
> As a previous employee of Cotswold Outdoor I hope to put a few of the issues raised here to bed.
>
> Any kit returned must be clean and dry. For the following reasons: The manufacturer will reject the return. Think of it like this; you return the boots day 1. The boots are then stored in a returns basket. It may be a few days before the RTM (Return to Manufacturer) is processed. Lets say Day 3. From here, the faulty boots are then sent to head office, (day 5). At this point the boots are either written off or return to the manufacturer for a credit note if the boots are deemed to be faulty through manufacturer error. A few more days and the boots arrive at the manufacturer distributor and then the maker itself. From this example whilst someone leaves muddy boots with the shop and forget about them the staff have to deal with them for up to another 10-14 days. By which point they will smell more, might have gone moldy, especially if they are put inside a plastic bag for shipping to head office.

Exactly, bit of common sense is needed by both parties.
Doghouse - on 23 Dec 2011
In reply to winhill:

Agreed. If I buy something that later turns out not to be fit for purpose then I expect to be able to return in what ever condition. What the shop does or does not do with it afer that is of no concern to me.
Jack Loftus - on 24 Dec 2011
In reply to Doghouse:
Also a member of staff at Cotswold Outdoors, I understand the customer concerns about faulty items. As a company we are very good with returning faulting products. Unforchantly sometime there are manufacturing defaults and we try to please the customers as we can.

If you return something back to a store, you will get much better custom if they are clean and dry. Firstly it is easy to see a fault on the product. Secondly, many manufactures will not accept them back in a dirty/ wet condition. And finally, why should staff have to handle dirty/wet products.

I personally will be much happier if I don’t have to handle wet/dirty products. In the past I have told customers to clean them, and given them a bush.

If the customer has been on the fells, and wants to return them that day, I can’t see this being a problem if approached sensibly.


And Finally before people talk S**T, READ the customer return policy .

“Please be aware that in order to comply with Health & Safety regulations any faulty items should be returned for assessment in a clean condition free from mud and dirt. We regret that we are unable to process items that do not meet with these criteria and we will return such items to you”.

http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/main.data/filename/returns_exchange.html

Jack.
murdster on 24 Dec 2011 - cpc3-gate9-2-0-cust95.gate.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to shingsowa:

> VERY irritating bloke in Rock Bottom yesterday questioning the return of gaiters purchased the week before because they hadn't been fully dried after being cleaned...


Your attitude is very irritating. Dry them before you take them back. Is that so hard?
myth - on 24 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa: Ive not read all this thread, so in true UKC style Ill wade in uninformed.

I wouldnt care too much if I returned faulty goods in less than perfect condition.

The way I see it, the shop and manufacturer have let me down greatly by selling/making faulty goods. Its their fault that I have to go back with dirty shoes. Simply dont sell/make crappy and I wont have to return them.
JoshOvki on 24 Dec 2011
In reply to myth:

How exactly are the shop staff to know they are faulty? Why do you think they would sell them to you if they where?
Bimbler - on 24 Dec 2011
In reply to murdster:
In fairness to the chap he'd paid 90 quid for them and by the sounds of it dropped them off for and exchange/refund/repair as I'm guessing (from his profile) the shop was exactly on his way home.
Given the options available and the fact that it was an obvious product failure I feel it would be very reasonable to accept the faulty goods rather than endure a 90 mile round trip or go to the extra expense of posting them.
As for the op being irritating? I felt he seemed reasonable and if told to take them away again I could understand him finding the shops attitude irritating.
birdie num num - on 24 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa:
I took a pair of TNF Apex pants back to Cotswold, they were nearly a year old. The bonding had gone on the edge of one of the pockets. I didn't have the receipt. Cotswold replaced them for a brand new pair straight away, no quibble. Excellent service. (they weren't muddy though)
digby - on 25 Dec 2011
In reply to cavemanjack:

> In the past I have told customers to clean them, and given them a bush.

Is that the best way to clean them?
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 25 Dec 2011
In reply to digby:
> (In reply to cavemanjack)
>
> [...]
>
> Is that the best way to clean them?

I don't know, I'll ask Jenkins when he's brought the coal in.
richprideaux - on 25 Dec 2011
In reply to cavemanjack:

Just because you put it in your terms and conditions doesn't mean that you can ignore your legal requirement.

To be fair, it's not just Cotswold, lots of outdoor retailers seem to have a similar clause. It's misleading.

I use to work for a farm supplies company. Most weeks we would get returns of faulty this or that, wellies that leak etc. If we had asked customers to drive away and go clean and dry their knackered wellies we would have lost their future business and rightly so. Mud isn't covered under COSHH, if your company decides mud is hazardous the. It is up to your company to find a way to deal with it when accepting an obviously faulty return. It is not the responsibility of the customer.

BTW, several members of staff at the other Cotswold store in ByC have apologised on behalf of their colleague. I must say that the two places I normally receive great service are Cotswolds and Needle Sports.
David Hooper - on 25 Dec 2011
In reply to shingsowa: Ive had such excellent service on the amount of returns Ive taken to Cotswold it almost makes me feel guilty.

Brilliant staff, brilliant service.
richprideaux - on 25 Dec 2011
In reply to David Hooper:

It is normally the way David

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