These boots weren’t made for walking!

In July, when mum and I went shopping for a day, I managed to pick up some winter boots at the bargain price of £14, reduced from £47, in BHS. We couldn’t believe my luck as they only had two pairs of these boots, and one was in my size. I tried them on and they were lovely and comfortable, smart enough for work, and should be nicely rainproof – which was what I needed as my old boots had begun letting in water. I put them in the back of the wardrobe ready for autumn.

A couple of weeks ago, I wore them to work – a one mile walk each way, and found they kept out the rain, as I’d hoped. However, the heels didn’t feel stable – they felt like they might snap off any moment! Unwilling to risk my neck, I sent the boots off to our shoe technicians that we use at work for making, repairing and adapting footwear and asked if they could make the heels more secure.

They called me after looking at the boots and said they’d taken the heel off and planned to both glue and tack it solidly in place – but they found the heel unit was hollow, giving nothing with which to work. They were very regretful but couldn’t help, so the boots were returned to me.

Although I no longer had my receipt after all this time and therefore didn’t feel able to claim a refund, I did contact BHS as I felt the boots were not fit for their purpose and moreover there was a safety issue here. (I have, in the meantime, found my card statement> which shows the transaction) My e-mail:

Hi. I bought a pair of long black boots in July at your Broughton store and stored them for winter. (They were priced £47, but in the sale for £14)
I wore them 10 days ago for the first time and they were beautifully comfortable and rain-proof (the reason I bought them) during mny 1 mile walk to work. However the heel didn’t feel secure – it felt in danger of snapping off at any moment (both boots) Through my professional contacts I sent the boots to our bespoke footwear making technicians to see if they could do anything to secure the heels for me. I have spoken to them today and unfortunately when they removed the heels to investigate, they discovered that the heel units are hollow rather than solid, meaning nothing can be done to affix them more securely.
Naturally, all these months on, I have no receipt to take them back to the store and will therefore have to write off the loss as I don’t dare wear the boots for fear of the heels coming off and me injuring myself.
However, I did want to contact you because this is clearly a safety issue of which you need to be aware. Also had I paid the full £47 I would be furious at spending this much on a pair of boots I could only wear once.
I would be very interested in your comments and to know whether all your boots routinely have hollow heel units as if they have I will certainly be avoiding them in future. I am at a loss to know how you can justify the full asking price for footwear which is so apparently unfit for purpose and my confidence in BHS has plummeted accordingly.

I received quite a prompt reply as follows:

I am sorry that the boots you purchased in store are faulty. Although it is difficult to comment on it without seeing it, your local store (within the UK or Republic of Ireland only) will be happy to refund you provided they identify a manufacturing fault.

As our footwear would come from a variety of suppliers, the manufacturing process and resulted product would be different for each style, therefore I am unable to advise if all of our footwear would be similarly designed.

I hope that this is a satisfactory resolution, but if there is anything further I can help with please do not hesitate to contact me by responding to this email.

So I am going to take the boots into a store when I next visit mum (as I never get in to Newcastle to go to one here) and we’ll see what happens. I am still bemused that a pair of boots with a £47 asking price can be so shoddily made.

In the meantime, I did manage to replace them with a pair of boots from Dorothy Perkins thanks to my NHS discount plus £20 of vouchers which I’d earned doing my online market research surveys, but I did still have to find £20.50 which I wasn’t expecting to have to do!

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