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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Lakeland Great Outdoors and Scarpa - thumbs up

Followers of my recent MacmillanWay walk will have read about the problem I had with  Scarpa Cyrus trail shoes.

After returning the shoes to my retailer, Lakeland Great Outdoors at Staveley near Kendal they were returned to Mountain Boot Company at Newcastle upon Tyne who I presume are the UK distributors for Scarpa. Initially Mountain Boot refused to refund because there was no manufacturing fault, but further communication followed emphasising that my complaint was a matter of "fitness for purpose".

I have now been contacted  by Lakeland Great Outdoors saying they have have come to a mutual agreement wtih Mountain Boot enabling them to give me a full refund.

I would like to say that the whole of this matter was handled by Lakeland Great Outdoors' Sales Manager, Geoff Jackson in a professional and courteous manner and I would have no hesitation in shopping there again.

Others may wish to look more carefully next time they are buying trail shoes - here is a copy of the formal complaint that I needed to make to Lakeland:

Lakeland Great Outdoors Ltd
Plantation Bridge
Nr. Staveley
Cumbria LA8 9JA

Dear Sirs,

I bought a pair of Scarpa Cyrus trail shoes from you on 15th April 2015 (£129.80). I have an issue with this purchase and have taken legal advice and I understand my contract is with you as retailers and as such I must therefore claim against you, so please accept this letter as my formal complaint.

I explained to the sales assistant (somewhat boastfully) that I wanted the shoes to walk The Macmillan Way from Boston, Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury, Dorset, a distance of 290 miles. This is a recognised English Long Distance Footpath marked on the Ordnance Survey map following public footpaths and bridleways and some Tarmac roads.

I am a an experienced walker having completed many long distance walks including Land’s End to John ‘o Groats, The GR10, and the GR5 as well as completing all the Munros. I suggest that nobody of experience would dispute the advisability of  wearing good quality trail shoes for the above mentioned long distance walk. 

I tried the shoes in the shop and wore them briefly outside and had no complaint regarding comfort and fit but I wanted to preserve them, specifically because of the long distance of the walk, which I started on 20th May 2015, and finished on 10th June 2015.

After a couple of miles from the start of the walk on 20th May 2015 the soles of my feet became painful, which is a problem I have not encountered before. In my opinion ANY walking footwear should be capable of sustaining comfort for a distance of more than two miles over normal terrain. When I examined the shoes closely I found the soles had no cushioning apart from some uncushioned footbeds. I struggled on wondering if I would be able to continue with the walk until I got to Stamford on the third day which was the first place of any size. By then I could not have continued with the walk at that stage wearing the Scarpas. I was able to buy a pair of shoes from an outdoor shop which were well cushioned, and cured the problem immediately, and lasted for the rest of the twenty one day walk with no further painful soles of my feet. I had to post the Scarpas back home at a cost of £13.75 (I have the postal receipt). 

I returned from the walk on 10th June 2015 and returned the shoes to you on 12th June 2015 and you offered to return them to your wholesaler with my complaint. The wholesaler has since returned the shoes to you refusing to accept any responsibility. I have the original receipt in my possession and you accepted the veracity of my purchase when I returned the shoes.

I am not complaining about a manufacturing defect.

I am complaining about the "fitness for purpose" as required by the Sale of Goods Act. 

There is no question of the shoes being the wrong size, they fit my feet properly. I had equal discomfort on THE SOLES of BOTH feet, not because they were being pinched in any way, but because there was no cushioning. As I stated replacement with shoes that had good cushioning cured the problem immediately.

I would appreciate a rapid  acknowledgement of receipt of this email, and look forward to your considered reply which I would hope to receive within fourteen days.


Conrad Robinson


Gayle said...

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to someone who was asking my opinion about footwear. It turned out that the reason this chap felt he needed advice was because he had bought a pair of expensive trail shoes (he admitted that his thingking was: more expensive = better) and had found that they just caused the sole of his feet to really hurt. He'd then thrown more money at the issue and bought an expensive pair of insoles, which still hadn't solved the problem.

What he was saying rang bells with what I'd read on your blog, so I asked him what shoes they were. Yep, Scarpas. So, your issue was certainly not an isolated incident.

Sir Hugh said...

Gayel - I was using Sorbothane full gel footbeds. The ones that came with the Scarpas were poor with no cushioning. Without the Sorbothanes I don't think I would have lasted a day.

John J said...

You handled that perfectly Conrad, absolutely factual and completely businesslike. Any company rejecting your claim on the basis of your experiences detailed in your letter would be on a very sticky wicket.
I've no experience of Scarpa but I was always under the impression that they made good gear.

Sir Hugh said...

JJ - yes John. It is all too easy to go overboard with indignant provocative language which just serves to alienate people. If your complaint is justified the unadorned facts should be enough.

gimmer said...

yes, indeed, well handled - softly softly catchee monkey: absolutely no answer to that and no escape from their duty.
What is amazing is that they should be made that way and v even more amazing, be sold here - maybe a Friday afternoon batch.
Is it the old PA issue in another guise - footware made for slim (for which read the silent 'elegant') continental feet don't suit the broader (again, read the silent 'contempt') English foot, I was told by a sniffy french shopman in paris hundreds of years ago when I complained of the agony on hard routes in those revolutionary rockshoes: in this case, maybe the 'nerveless' continental foot!
On the same subject, I have found my cheapish Mountain Warehouse shoes, which were pretty good at first, have now caused the same plantar fascitis and ankle numbness as the Keen's did when they were getting worn: maybe all such shoes are only much good when new or nearly so - my Ahnu's are still superb but they haven't started to collapse yet, so we will see.
Sturdy leather boots of the past never seemed to cause such suffering - once the breaking-in blisters and pain had subsided , of course.

afootinthehills said...

Hello Conrad. Lynne bought a pair of Scarpa shoes a few months ago just for everyday use and finds them somewhat less than comfortable if worn all day. She has had a similar pair before which were fine so has persevered with the new ones, but really ought to have returned them. I've had one pair of Scarpa boots - never again.

Sir Hugh said...

gimmer - I had a pair of "sturdy leather boots" a long time ago that were impossible. they gave me endless heel blisters. In desperation I ponded them with a lump hammer to try and soften them up. I ended up giving them away to a marginal friend. My Mountain Warehouse shoes that replaced the Scarpas are still fine with plenty of life left in them after finishing the Macmillan Way. The best value footwear I can remember buying.


Afoot - Hi Gibson. Another commenter referred to their believed quality of the Scarpa brand which I must say had a large influence on my purchase. I often wonder about professional designers. I had a portable answerphone which stood vertically on its base. The base had a light to tell you when there was a message waiting, but it was behind the phone where you couldn't see it - some guy would be on £50/60k a year as a designer - how can you get something so basic so wrong.?

afootinthehills said...

Another example you will recall is my Keen sandals. Big holes in them and marked 'waterproof'. I do like them, but what were the designers thinking? There is a photograph on my blog.

AlanR said...

Gibson. I thought that your sandals post, one of the best.

Conrad, never had a pair of Scarpa before on the hill but I bought a pair once and saved them until my existing boots wore out. I wore them round the house and they killed my feet. I sold them on the blog.
I won't be rushing to buy a new pair but I think I am right in saying that Martin B wears them without a problem. He might even have a pair on his current LD walk, although I suspect he will have a softer shoe. Keen maybe.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - I'm beginning to wonder if waterproofing for trail shoes is really necessary. However good it is your feet end up wet in persistent long wet grass or non-stop rain, but I have to say the cheapo Mountain Warehouse shoes I bought in Stamford kept my feet dry except for the one day when it rained most of the time. The wet eventually soaks down through your socks. I hate wearing gaiters.


Alan R - I'm not sure of the ethics here selling them to an unsuspecting on the blog - at least you din't sell them to a friend.