Left feeling down at heel over some shoddy shoes

Mon, Nov 12, 2012, 00:00

YOUR CONSUMER QUERIES:Ciaran Geraghty bought a pair of shoes from O’Neill’s on Dublin’s Talbot Street in July for €40. He says that after six weeks the shoes broke at the heels.

He brought them back and was told that he was “using the right shoe too much”. Our reader pointed out that he had only worn them as a pair, as you do, and that if the shop assistant “had another look he would see that both shoes were broken and not just the right one”.

Eventually the shop agreed to send them back to the manufacturer and he was told to come back the following week. “I called in the next week as requested and was served by a different sales assistant.”

This chap said our reader would have to speak to the original shop assistant, called Joe, who was holidays. “I called back in the following week to find that Joe was on his day off. By this stage, I started to feel I was getting the runaround.” Eventually, after a number of visits and phone calls, he spoke to Joe, who did not mention the manufacturer again, but instead offered him €10 off another pair of shoes.

Joe said that was the best he could do. “I told him that that this wasn’t acceptable and that the shoes should not have broken so soon and were obviously faulty. He acknowledged that the shoes had broken but asked me ‘What do you expect for €40?’ I said I expected that when I purchased a pair of shoes from a reputable shop for €40 that they would last longer than six weeks.”

Joe wasn’t for budging and suggested that our reader could take a case to the Small Claims Court. He can do that but the fee of €25 is non-refundable and not covered in any settlement so it hardly seems worth the hassle.

We called the shop and spoke to Joe. While he said we would have to speak to the manager – who is, incidentally, the man who said he could not handle our reader’s query in the absence of Joe – he did say that the shoes were plastic and that he was unsurprised they broke and that he could not be expected to give our reader either a new pair or his money back.

We explained the law. Goods have to be fit for purpose and if not a person is entitled to a refund, a repair or a replacement. There is no mention in the law of a part refund which must be offset against a purchase in the same shop.

We rang back again a few days later and spoke to Joe again. His attitude had softened and after a brief discussion he agreed that if our reader called into the shop “we will sort him out”.

So where in Spain can you find Blackwater?

You see this yoghurt? It looks nice, right? Like a fine locally produced artisan yoghurt, right?

Well, a reader spotted it selling in Wexford recently, not a million miles from where the river Blackwater flows.

She picked it up assuming that it must be from the region. It was only when she looked at the code identifying the country of origin at the back – not something that many consumers would be familiar with – that she realised that this yoghurt comes from Spain.

“Blackwater is a village near Curracloe, and also an area in Cork – I’m sure it’s a common enough name in Ireland,” she writes.

“The packaging is so deceptive it’s really hard to figure out its provenance.

“I think it wouldn’t be a problem if it was packaged and sold as a Spanish yogurt – at least the consumer would have a choice as to whether they want to buy Irish or not.”

Studio currency fluctuation

A reader called Nicola has a sister who is interested in buying the V-Tech Kidijamz Studio for one of her children for Christmas.

“It is priced at $54.99 on Amazon.combut sadly they do not ship to Ireland. It is £119 on Amazon.co.uk.

“As far as I am aware it is not yet available in Ireland but given the sterling price it is likely to be about €130.”

Bring back the brack

A reader called Margaret is dismayed to see Halloween go. It is not the ghosts or witches she misses but the brack, specifically, the brack from Aldi. She wants the brack back. “I love Ballymore Crust brack but why can we only get it at Halloween? I made a special trip to Aldi in Belgard.

“They had none and I was told there was no more expected . I was very disappointed. Fruit Loaf is not bad, but not as nice as the brack.”

Right so.

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