Sportsdirect – very poor customer service

It’s not often I blog about things I’ve bought in actual physical shops. That’s because I don’t shop in person often. However, yesterday I shunned my Amazon account, threw caution to the wind, and went into a branch of Sportsdirect near where I work. I wish I’d checked out their online reviews first, but I didn’t. Lesson learnt – internet = better.

So Friday 3 May, I went into Sportsdirect, Cribbs Causeway. I went in looking for a suitcase, and saw some things that looked like suitcases.

I want the suitcase to be small enough to be usable as hand luggage on budget airlines, and Easyjet’s current requirements are that:

“Each passenger may carry one item of hand baggage only, measuring a maximum 56 x 45 x 25cm (including wheels, pockets and handles).” – Easyjet’s website, as of May 2013.

In Sportsdirect, there was a Dunlop-branded case, mostly black, fairly discreet looking. It states on it, that it is a 20″ model. As this inch-measurement is completely useless, thankfully, it says the actual dimensions underneath. The printed measurements are: “50.5 cm x 34.5 cm x 19.5 cm”. There is also a drawing showing the case in a measuring device which encompasses the case easily, and the clearly ambiguous statement “cabin friendly”.


I asked a girl working there, if she had a tape measure to measure the case, to make sure it was the right size. She said “we might have some left at the front [by the tills]”. I asked her if the measurements were approximate or accurate. She got a bit agitated and said if it says on it, it would be accurate.
As someone who works in retail, I’d be given retraining for customer service as poor as this.

There didn’t seem to be any tape measures at the tills, and there was a queue, so as the label clearly states it is a long way within Easyjet’s requirements, I bought the case.
When I got it home and measured it, it is quite a lot larger than the label suggests. It is too big for Easyjet’s hand luggage.
The actual size of this (all encompassing) is: 59.5 x 39 x 17 cm.
Even if you exclude the wheels and handle (although they aren’t removable at all), the size of the material case is: 54cm x 38 x 17cm.
It isn’t the sort of case that will squash down 3cm to fit. It’s got a frame in it, a handle that retracts, etc.

So realising this wouldn’t be of any use to me, today (Saturday 4 May, about 14:50), I attempted to return the case, but was told they could not issue me a refund, as the product wasn’t faulty, and they “don’t do refunds” except if they’re faulty.

However, with no obvious way to measure the product in store, and written sizes clearly listed on it, surely this is a product which is sold “not as described”? And thus breaking the law under the Sale of Goods Act?

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 states that products must be as described.

“When you buy something, consumer law says the item must match its description.

For example, if a jumper is described on a label as being 100 per cent wool it must be made only of wool.

If you realise an item doesn’t match its description when you get it home or you receive it, you may have the right to return it to the seller and ask for a refund.” – Citizens Advice Bureau, May 2013.

It is slightly ambiguous with things you’ve been able to see first, but I don’t see this would be included within that. If you bought a packet of 10cm screws from B&Q, and got home to find they were 12cm, surely you’d be entitled to a refund, given it’s their fault for giving false information.

I declined the offer of an exchange (there is nothing else I want to buy from this company), and am now googling for help with legal letters/contact details/asking on public forums, etc.

I have messaged @SportsdirectUK on Twitter and asked them to clarify this matter:


I will update this, as and when they reply/I have further information. From the looks of their Twitter feed, they don’t reply to very many people, so I don’t hold out much hope in that area. The contact details on the website seem to all be about complaining about issues with the online shop – not the physical real world shops. There is a general form, but it’s got a 500 character maximum limit, which is totally useless for me.

(This is part 1 – click here to read part 2)