This is part 2 of my ongoing complaint against Sportsdirect. You can read part 1 here.
Last week I bought a suitcase from Sportsdirect, discovered the measurements on the label were wrong, attempted to return it (due to it being useless in the actual size), and they refused to refund me. I’ve done some digging, mostly on google and web forums. Some very helpful people on MoneySavingExpert have given me links to various sources of information, but the most simple and helpful one has been a leaflet from the Office of Fair Trading’s website (link).
I’ve emailed firstname.lastname@example.org, explaining the situation. I sent this Sunday, and there’s been a bank holiday, and then two working days since then. No reply, so far.
Today, I messaged them on Twitter:
OK so they reply on Twitter, but how come they can reply on Twitter in a matter of hours, yet they only “aim” to reply “within 5 working days” when you send them an email? That’s a bit shit.
And then I was reading how to contact Trading Standards, when I happened upon this page on the Citizens Advice Bureau website, that gives you template letters you can use for different situations. I used this to write a letter.
Amidst this, in a moment of weakness, I wondered if it might be easier to just eBay this case and move on. I looked on eBay for a similar case, and to my surprise found Sports Direct selling the same make/model case, but where it lists the sizes, they’re totally different. I then had a look on Sports Direct’s website, and found the same case, with the same description. Check this out:
Interesting, isn’t it.
In case that doesn’t come out readable:
I’m a fair man. I think most people would realise they probably mean 58 centimetres not 58 metres, but that’s really quite different to the 50.5cm that is written on the label which is stuck on the case. Also, while some of the cases are listed as cabin-friendly on their website (including a smaller Dunlop one), this one is not listed as such. So it seems they are aware this case isn’t actually cabin-friendly, yet still sell it as such in the shops. And that seems a little unfair to me.
I used the template from the Citizens Advice bureau, and 3 sheets of paper, on putting together a recorded-delivery letter (in case they tell me they never received it – and I’ve known quite a few companies in the past that have tried to pull that one). My letter goes:
Unit A, Brook Park,
Mansfield, NG20 8RY
8 May 2013
Dear Sports Direct,
Complaint about faulty goods
I bought a Dunlop suitcase from you on 3 May 2013. I paid £11.99 for this product.
I subsequently find the goods have the following fault:
The size specified on the suitcase is wrong. It is larger than the written measurements you list, meaning it is not suitable for hand luggage on most budget airlines, and is of no use to me as a result. The suitcase lists that it is 20” and measures 50.5 x 34.5 x 19.5 cm. If it were these measurements, I would have no wish to return it. However, the suitcase is actually 59.5 x 39 x 17cm, and as such is too big for the airline requirements.
I attempted to measure the suitcase prior to purchase, and was told you did not have tape measures available, and a member of your staff informed me that if there are measurements on it, these measurements would be accurate.
I have attempted to get a refund on 4 May, by visiting the Cribbs Causeway (Bristol) Sports Direct store where I originally purchased it, to be told that you do not recognise misdescribed goods as being “faulty” and that you would not provide a refund – only an exchange or gift card.
Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) goods you supply must match their description. As there was a problem with the goods when I bought them, I request that you provide me a full refund.
I have enclosed a photograph of the written information stated on the suitcase, which are incorrect. in support of my claim. I have also since found this same suitcase on your website (product code: 709901, which has different listed measurements (much closer to the actual ones), and is not listed as being suitable for hand luggage.
Please respond within 14 days of receiving this letter.
N.B. I have already contacted you via email (2 working days ago), but have yet to receive a reply, as of the current time.
I included not only a printed photo of the label on the case, but that screenshot above from their website, showing that the measurements are clearly wrong, and they are at fault.
Hopefully the email reply will come a lot quicker than the 14 days I’ve asked for in the letter (which was part of the Citizens Advice Bureau template, so figured it may have some legal/other reason for that number of days).
Maybe more to come. A satisfactory solution, perhaps?
I did see while looking around, an interesting forum post about someone who bought a football shirt in there, wore it for a few hours, and the colours started to run. He attempted to return it (and was even happy to exchange it for another – he didn’t want a refund), to be told that this wouldn’t happen with this shirt, and he must have spilt something on it – and basically called a liar in front of other customers. A lot of forum posts later, an American user adds that he can’t believe any company would refuse a refund in these circumstances purely because of the bad reputation that comes from people complaining about you in numerous forums.
Just look at the stuff you find when looking for reviews:
Guardian reviews Sports Direct against another sports store – Decathlon: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/jun/08/store-wars-sports-direct-decathlon
Mary Portas checks out their customer service: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/mary-portas/9987818/Mary-Portas-visits-Sports-Direct.html
On Mary Portas’ Secret Shopper review site, independent reviewers collate 101 big name chain shops, and rank them in order. Out of 101 stores, Sportsdirect comes in at no 101. http://www.maryportas.com/secretshopper/best-shops/
ReviewCentre’s 1.7/5 average review: http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews172042.html
Trust Pilot’s 3.3/10 average review: http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/www.sportsdirect.com
They can barely scratch 3/5 from their own employees: http://www.indeed.com/cmp/Sportsdirect.com/reviews (and if you’re thinking that any employee who posts on an anonymous review forum will be slating a previous employer, think again. Poundland do better. As do Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and numerous other large national chains.)
Still, they’re very profitable. That’s all that matters, right?
(This is part 2 of my complaining about SportsDirect. Click here to read part 3.)