– service as cheap as their “always on sale” prices

About 8 weeks ago I bought a new pair of trainers from

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About 2 week’s ago the sole fell off the left shoe.

Suffice to say; I was unimpressed. You’d expect trainers to last you longer than 6 weeks, especially with something as fundamental as the sole.

So, as anybody would, I e-mailed MandMDirect and asked what in should do about returning them.

A whole day passed by with no response to my mail, and being an impatient sort, I forwarded my original mail with a little nudge. They don’t even send an acknowledgement mail – so at this point I didn’t even know if it had even been received.

This is the reply I got:

Order Number:XXXXXXXX
Customer Number:XXXXXXXX

Hi Chris

Thanks for your email.

As per my colleagues previous email:

We’re sorry to hear that you are not happy with your item.

We do accept returns on worn items outside of the 28 day return policy if the items are faulty. If you believe the item has a manufacturing fault, please return it to us with a covering letter detailing the fault. Once back, the Returns Manager will inspect the item. If manufacturing faults are found we will be able to offer a replacement or refund depending on stock levels.

Please pack the parcel securely, include your covering note and invoice (if still available) and return to:

Returns Dept
P.O. Box 319

Ensure that the proof of return is kept. Please be aware that if the goods exceed the value of the standard parcel insurance claim we recommend you opt for the extra compensation cover, your parcel is then adequately covered in the unlikely event of it going missing on route to us. We do not offer a free returns service, however if the item is found to be faulty we will process a full refund of the postage.

Please note that if we find the item has been subject to fair wear and tear it will be returned to you.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Kind regards

Contact Centre Operator

T: 0371 200 5000*
F: 01568 619555*

Something about this mail set my Chimp right off.

Angry Caesar

Firstly – “As per my colleagues previous email”! I had received no such e-mail. For what reason would I mail you asking if you had seen my correspondence if I had received this mythical first mail from your colleague. There was nothing achieved by the statement at all. I immediately considered it bullshit to cover their asses – and it set the tone for the remainder of the mail.

What followed goes on to express just how little trust me as a customer. As I read the mail I began to reflect upon what the implications of their process, and the word choice of their e-mail actually meant to me. As I reflected more & more about it, and feeling a bit grumpy that day, I decided to mail MandMDirect back and give them my feedback.

Here is what I wrote:


First – let me point out that that first e-mail you claim to have sent was never received. I have checked my spam and it’s not in there either. This leads me to conclude that the “colleagues previous mail” is either a fabrication as a result of my follow up in an attempt to CYA or it’s sat in an outbox somewhere unsent. The tone of the mail has made me choose to interpret the former and has significantly effected my view of the firm.

Secondly – the tone of distrust towards me as a customer in both the returns process and the language of the mail is dreadful. The opening and closing apologies are made worthless by the subsequent distrust and tone of suspicion. In effect – I have interpreted this mail to say: “we suspect you are a liar and a con artist”. Think about the use of words & phrases such as “if the items are faulty”, “if you believe…”, “inspect”, ” “if we find the item the item has been subject to fair wear & tear” (this one particularly angered me – what the hell do you think I’ve done in 6 weekends worth of wear that would MAKE THE SOLE COME OFF? Your statement is utterly ridiculous) etc

Third – what a complicated, inconvenient rigamarole for both of us this returns process is. Putting aside the fact that you are (a.) asking me to make a trip out that I wouldn’t already make and (b.) foot the bill of the returns cost until YOU deem my return worthy, I’d like to ask how many ‘Returns Managers’ do you have and how much do they get paid? Do they save you more than you pay in logistics, admin and salary auditing returns in this manner? Especially when I’m never going to shop with you again because I don’t want to be treated like a criminal when I have a return (think of all the clothes being bought elsewhere by similarity unhappy customers like me AND all the friends & family I’m going to direct away from your organisation)

Anyway – my work schedule is going to largely prevent me from getting the trainers returned to you for at least a week yet and I wanted to point that out. Be clear that I will not be wearing the trainers until then, and will also be without casual footwear during the time they will be with your Returns Manager getting “inspected”.

Hope you appreciate the feedback.


Chris W

Yeah – not my finest moment – Chimp-y emotions all over that feedback! Still – it’s how I felt and they needed to know. I even copied in the Chief Exec, Jonathon Brown, because… well… mostly because I’m that guy. (I think we’re called arseholes?)

Seriously – does the cost of people trying to pull a swift one over the company meet the cost of paying a “Returns Manager” a salary? And, really!? Should I have to burden the inconvenience, cost and insult of a process that insinuates suspicion of me as a customer that has been created to weed out a minority of dishonest customers. How many people – who perhaps don’t devote quite as much time as I do to thinking about these sorts of things – have been impacted by this? I, for one, don’t like to have it implicated I’m a lying guilty man before being proven innocent.

CSI Vegas... or MandMDirect's Returns Department?

CSI Vegas… or MandMDirect’s Returns Department?

They did agree to send the replacement without a need to “inspect” my trainers, which is a small victory, but they’ve not offered any real apology (got a bit of a hollow one, but not a real one) I’ve still foot the bill for the return, and I’ve had no response from Jonathon Brown’s office at all, so all in all we’re still at a 2 star service here.

Am I being oversensitive? Possibly a little. I do take this sort of thing to heart a bit too much sometimes – my quest for great customer service does make me a bit cantankerous and old age is not making things any better – much to my Wife’s embarrassment!  But – I genuinely think a company who’s Parent Umbrella has phrases in their values & philosophy statements like: “We are co-operative” , “We want simple solutions”, “We want to be the best”, and “we base our co-operation on trust, partnership and honesty” really should think about a customer experience that is anything but co-operative, simple, trusting and the best.

The reality is simple at the end of the day – I shop where I get the best experience and this was not the best experience. there’s a reason I always shop at, Mothercare or Marks & Spencer – because even in times when I’ve had an issue they’ve dealt with it in a straight-forward, warm & personable way that inconveniences me as little as possible (Even to the point of compensating me for the inconvenience.)

Unlike MandMDirect – who I shall not shop with again, and would encourage you not to either.


3 responses to “ – service as cheap as their “always on sale” prices

  1. Its probaly their return policy that they have to follow, like any other companies, they have to follow the correct procedure. So stop throwing ur teddy’s out the pram

    • Ah, I appear to have attracted a troll who is keen to antagonise me.

      Paul, you are king of the Internet. Every word you typed is obviously you sharing your deepest superior wisdom over me – good job, I am forever diminished by your powerful, insightful words.

      Thank you for your almighty feedback.

      • They sell substandard stock. I’ve bought 2 pairs of trainers from them over the years both ended up faulty after the first week, the 2nd pair I only wore once for 3 hrs sitting at a desk and the innersole has ripped out.

        There’s s reason they’re so cheap. Everything’s either sub standard stock or worse possibly fake.

        Lesson learned, instead of paying £40 for trainers of a weeks wear, spend the 90 in the high street and have trainers that last for years!

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