My Allsports experience

Bit of a long one this, but be patient and find amusement in my tale of woe!

Okay, recently I required a new pair of cushioned running shoes. Foolishly, I decided that as I knew what I wanted (a pair of Adidas Response, as I'd ran in them and liked them), I would simply not bother going to a specialist running shop, and instead use a High Street retailer. This was a mistake (now there's a surprise...)

Upon entering an Allsports in Manchester, after not having been able to find the shoes of my choice elsewhere, I was happy to see a pair of Response in the "Running" section where I'd expect them to be. They looked pretty similar to the pair that I'd borrowed from a mate to try; the Torsion system was slightly different, but I thought - hey - this must be the 2002 model, which I haven't seen (this was mistake number 2.)

After trying this on to confirm general fit was similar to how I remembered - it was - and being satisfied with the helpfulness of the sales assistant (who I told several times exactly what I needed) I bought them for £50.

Taking them home, I decided to give them a trial run. The cushioning was quite nice. After about 20 metres, though, I realised that the shoe felt slightly 'wrong.' A bit of homework soon revealed that this was indeed the Adidas Response.. TENNIS SHOE. (I had had absolutely no idea Adidas made a tennis shoe version as well, not following that sport.)

Duly, I took it back to the shop. Surely, as they had sold it to me as a running shoe, I would be entitled to a replacement. Sure enough, I was ushered downstairs where I had a look at some other shoes. But soon a sales bod came downstairs to nervously tell me I had to speak to the manager. Who in turn refused me a replacement as "the shoes had been worn" and I'd have to come back the day after when the girl who sold me them was there to confirm or deny whether I'd wanted a running or tennis shoe.

No problem, I thought; and next day I turned up. No manager was present so the deputy manager served me, if you can call it that: he bluntly refused to give a replacement. After a phone call to head office, he told me that I should contact Trading Standards if I wanted to take the matter further!! Needless to say I was not a happy bunny.

Fair enough, I was a bit ignorant of the existence of the tennis shoe version (which looks quite similar to the running version btw), and so didn't immediately know the difference (doh).

However, judging by comments made both by the assistant manager, and the girl who originally served me, the staff WERE aware of this difference, and so should have told me about it - seeing as how I had stated several times when I was shopping that I was after a RUNNING SHOE. Comments such as "Just cos the shoe was in the Running Shoes section doesn't mean it's a running shoe" were typical of the unhelpfulness I recieved. As was the warning to "not speak to him like that" from the deputy manager when I got a little more insistent (but not rude) that I wanted a replacement.

Basically, Allsports were only too happy to sell me a "running shoe" that they clearly knew was anything but, just for the sake of getting their 50 quid. Yes, I know, I know, what else do I expect from a High Street "sports" shop; I should have gone to a proper running shoe retailer (and also done my homework a bit more on the versions of the shoe). However, let this be a warning to newbie runners in particular - no matter how convenient, don't venture to the "dark side" to buy your training shoes!


  • Si,

    Really sorry to hear about your lousy experience.

    It doesn't surprise me in the least and I think it is a valuable lesson to anyone out there.

    You have been warned!!
  • >Yes, I know, I know, what else do I expect from a High Street "sports" shop

    Good service. That's what you should expect. I dont think that you should settle for the shoddy treatment you got. The law states that any goods you buy must be "fit for the purpose for which they were sold". You were told they were running shoes - they are not, and wearing them for this purpose could cause you injury.

    Go to the trading standards people (hopefully they will have a runner amongst them) and get them to help you insist you get your money back, or a suitable replacement. High street sports shops get bad press for employing staff who know nothing about the shoes they sell, but for them to say that they are not sure about a shoe would be better than them telling you that the shoe you were buying was something they were not.

    So unless you fancy taking up tennis next summer, stand your ground!
  • Well said Nessie!

    My girlfriend had a similar problem recently albeit a different sport (equestrianism). Basically she'd bought something for her horse from a local saddlers, put it on the horse and after a couple of days discovered it didn't do what it was supposed to do and what it was sold for.

    She took it back to get either a refund or vouchers but was refused by the staff. She did indeed contact Trading Standards who took an exceptionally dim view of this and wanted her to push the case further. So in your instance Si, push it further. They are (allegedly) a sports shoe and should have some knowledge of their products and the uses they can be put to!
  • Could be used for spanking thick staff!
  • Barkles, that says more about you then about the sports shop!
  • Si, similar experience with buying a pair of sandals from Russell & Bromley on Oxford Street. £75 latter and massive blisters as the buckle bit into both ankles they refused my money back.

    Having a fiancé who was determined to get our money back, wrote to all the managers up the chain, trading commission (who like Parky took a dim view) and threatened to sue etc etc etc. Took a year but recently we received a letter saying that our credit card was going to be refunded.

    You need a lot of persistence and guts to take them, but it can be done. All depends on how much you value your time unfortunately and how much you would value the victory at the end of it.

    Good luck.
  • A cautionary tale. I've come to the conclusion that Allsports, JD Sports and the like are nothing more than clothes shops, for people who think that Umbro is a top label.
  • I have to echo the sentiments of the others (apart from possibly Barkles!) - you MUST not let this lie! Go to Trading Standards and GET YOUR WAY, however long it takes. As Muzzer says you will need a lot of persistence, but you will win in the end...

    Good luck and keep us posted if you decide to take it on (which I hope you do).

    Don't feel bad about any of your 'mistakes' either - these things happen and there are many who have made the same ones, but as Nessie says you still expect good service and Allsports have clearly not given you this. In fact, to all intents and purposes, they've simply taken the piss out of you. These High Street stores never cease to amaze me. Everyone must keep spreading the gospel about going to specialists until the message is heard. Perhaps we should organise a march like the countryside alliance!?!?!
  • Mungus

    I agree with what you say to a ceratain extent - they do little or no kit in Dri-fit, Coolmax, etc (especially in women's stuff) and a lot of their stuff would be no use for sport - they are just fashion items (mostly cotton).

    HOWEVER, if they stack shoes under the banner "Running" then this implies that the shoes are suitable for running. To have them just on the shelves with no "explanation" or marked as "running style" shoes, would at least give the customer pause for thought. Not all runners have the benfit of the advice on RW forums, and would assume that a "sports shop" selling "running shoes" would know what they are talking about.

    'Scuse me while I climb down from the soap-box.
  • I was reminded when I arrived home last night, that the small claims court is your best bet. £20 and you can claim on all time wastage etc.

    Apparently you can now lodge a case over the internet for the small claims court now.

    Good luck and go get the b's.
  • Its not only running shops that treat you like this. I recently got my phots developed at WHSmiths and was quoted a price befre handing them over(actually I went in 3 times to sheck the price) when they came back(late) they tryed to charge me twice as much!!!! The manager basically called me a lier and told me the staff would never qute such a price. Even though the staff still did'nt understand why it had increase in price.
  • What amazed me about all these "sports" shops was that when I went to look for a new pair of swimming trunks, only one of the shops had any swimwear at all. And that was Sports Soccer and the swimwear was in a dirty shambolic pile in the corner. If you can't buy swimwear in a Sports shop, where do you go to buy it? (I ordered mine on the Internet from a swimwear specialist in the end!)
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