/ Boot companies - dodgy customer service/warranty

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purplemonkeyelephant - on 02 Dec 2017
When you spend your hard earned money on expensive gear you expect something reasonable for it. I'm not fussy but I expect my moneys worth. With my recent fantastic service from Scarpa my next dealings with these companies has left a pretty bitter taste in my mouth.

Sorel: Bought some snow boots from their XT line for an expedition in Iceland. They worked great, but upon inspection for my next trip a lot of the lining of the boot is peeling off - in my eyes it's a design flaw. The boot has a felt inner and PU backed nylon outer. The PU membrane is exposed, so about 50 miles of use has managed to peel it off all around the ankle. Contacted customer service - they barely get back to you and when they do asked me for a selection of photos of the boots, which apparently wasn't enough as they now want me to post them back to France at my expense for 'evaluation'. If the boots are defective they will destroy my boots without any guarantee of providing the same boot, just a 'a similar model of style and price'. They now seem to be ignoring my last response wondering why consumers have to pay money for them to look at their defective products despite the wonders of high resolution digital cameras and the internet.

Alpina: Bought some XC ski boots for my partner. When they arrived they were all good apart from on the tongue where it seemed like either a mouse has been chewing the material or the person sewing was having a bad day. Nothing particularly bad but I didn't want it to degrade over time leaving me in a bad position out of warranty. Contacted the retailer who didn't think it was a problem. Contacted Alpina for a second opinion - 6 emails and 2 international phone calls later their last stance (it changes every email) was that despite clear photos of the issue I should post the boots at my expense 3000 miles away to New Hampshire, USA (around £25/30) or take them to an Alpina dealer (there are none in the UK that I can find). They are also now non responsive to my last contact.

With the rise of distance selling it's seems apparent that even if you get sent a duff product it's up to you to pay for return postage for them to be looked at, even if they want you to post it to France, America, Antarctica, Mars... Not sure what the lesson to be learnt here is. So much of my equipment is specialist stuff that has to be bought from outside the UK, so maybe the lesson is take up a domestic sport that doesn't require any gear you can't buy from your local shop!
wbo - on 02 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:
are you talking to Alpina in the Czech republic or their US distributor?

And Sorel have a uk distributor? Why France?
Post edited at 23:59
purplemonkeyelephant - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to wbo:

> are you talking to Alpina in the Czech republic or their US distributor?

I emailed their only contact email (with the Slovenian .si ending), and have been presumably dealing with their US team who responded (with a .com ending).

> And Sorel have a uk distributor? Why France?

You'd have to ask their useless support team that question. It was the address they gave me, perhaps that's where their EU returns department is.
richlan - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Handling the return to the warranty department should be the responsibility of the UK distributor, that’s what they are there for.
Trangia on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

If you buy through a reputable UK supplier like Cotswold or Blacks/Millets they will help you in making a claim against the manufacturer. All you have to do is take them back to the shop, they do the rest. Over the years I have had excellent service from such shops returning boots made by manufacturers like Brasher, Merrell and Meindl on my behalf and have obtained replacements or repairs free of charge and postage under the warranty.

Because of this I much prefer buying from a UK outdoors retailer rather than on line. OK it might cost a bit more, but it's worth it for the service they give. Also, particularly with boots and shoes I like to try them on first.
mrchewy - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

The only boots I've ever had to return, due to the goretex failing inside 18 months, where replaced instantly with the same boot - I had bought them from a very local and independent outdoors shop. I was pleasantly surprised as I'd assumed they'd have had to be sent off for testing etc. But no, they replaced them and said they'd sort the rest out themselves.
I'm very careful as to what I buy online now. Distance selling is great, I've just bought some goretex 5.10 boots from Rock&Run but at 50 quid, I'm not overly worried about them lasting and I knew they'd fit properly as I've had the model before but my B3 boots were bought from a localish independent, in the shop. It's not just the return postage that's annoying otherwise, it's all the time spent trying to contact via email and generally chasing around the houses to sort a problem not caused by yourself. Possibly that risk is worth it if it's vastly cheaper but that's a personal call I guess.
Hope you get sorted.
olddirtydoggy - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I don't think personally I'd buy any footwear online or whist on holiday due to potential fitting issues and returns. That said, they should be keen to sort you out as any complaints will generally end up on here. No way I'll buy off the above companies if thats how they're treating you.
bedspring on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:
> Not sure what the lesson to be learnt here is.

Yeah, bit tricky, sure if you think it through you will get there.

Looking at your log book you are cutting edge https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/showlog.html?id=150260
Post edited at 20:19
wbo - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant/olddirtydoggy - but I've bought Alpina before and been perfectly happy, and if they go back its off to the place I bought them. did you buy them from the UK? Certainly by the time you're talking to the US distributor you're stuffed - they aren't Alpina, only a distributor, didn't sell you your boots and anything they do to help will only cost them money with nothing to gain. Plus you also need to be aware if you deal with the US, US trading laws.
The Lemming - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

If you bought your boots with a credit card then you may be able to take it up with the Credit Card company to give a full refund.

Check out Section 75 of the Credit card act.

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/section-75-of-the-consumer-credit-act

I had a problem earlier this year with a Drone on-line from a company who do not have a presence in the UK.

The company did not play nicely however when I took up the issue with my Credit Card company, I got a full refund.

just a thought.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to bedspring:

Not sure what my climbing logbook has anything to do with skiing in the arctic, or the boots I will be using..? I'm happy cruising VDiffs with my mates Hope that doesn't affect my statutory rights!!!
purplemonkeyelephant - on 03 Dec 2017
In reply to Trangia:

Generally speaking I buy from retailers, specialist shops in the UK etc, however as stated in my original post some things you can't buy local!
Timmd on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to bedspring:

> Yeah, bit tricky, sure if you think it through you will get there.

> Looking at your log book you are cutting edge https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/showlog.html?id=150260

Why the sarcasm?
Timmd on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> Not sure what my climbing logbook has anything to do with skiing in the arctic, or the boots I will be using..? I'm happy cruising VDiffs with my mates Hope that doesn't affect my statutory rights!!!

This is UKC, some people are rude, sarcastic, or unpleasant in ways which are unwarranted. Some people aren't, too.
planetmarshall on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> With the rise of distance selling it's seems apparent that even if you get sent a duff product it's up to you to pay for return postage for them to be looked at, even if they want you to post it to France, America, Antarctica, Mars... Not sure what the lesson to be learnt here is.

I'd say the lesson is that if you choose to buy online, either because you can't find a local equivalent or because it's cheaper, then you pays your money and you takes your choice.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

I'm getting tempted to start manufacturing more of my own gear!

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