The title of the thread has been edited and this note added by the request of both the retailer (Robinson's shoes) and the original poster, since the matter has been resolved to both parties' satisfaction.
I just thought I'd share my experience with the North Ireland based shoe store and online shop Robinson's Shoes (http://www.robinsonsshoes.com/), to prevent others from getting into the same trouble as I have. They have given me the worst online shopping experience with truly lousy customer service. So, here's my story:
I ordered a pair of Cheaney Holyrood from their Imperial collection, which retail at £325, from Robinson’s Shoes online store this spring, and was told that the waiting time would be 7-8 weeks. When I hadn’t heard from them in 10 weeks, I sent them a friendly and polite e-mail (for the record, every e-mail I’ve sent during this process have been friendly and polite) asking about when I could expect a delivery. No answer. I sent an e-mail again, and then got a response that they now were ready to be shipped. Two weeks later, still no shoes at my doorstep.
So, two more e-mails before I got a response, and now the answer I got was that they’d be ready in two weeks, and the explanation was that the Cheaney factory was having problems. Which of course would be fine, but one could expect that you wouldn’t have to drag every piece of information out yourself.
Well, the problems hadn’t really started… After 15 weeks I received the shoes. Very pleased with them, but directly when I wore them it started to develop small, spider web-like cracks on the toe caps. I sent Robinson’s Shoes an e-mail with pictures, and was told to send them back because they were not supposed to look like that.
So I returned the shoes, which cost me £27, and because of the fact that I would have to wait for a new pair to be manufactured (and with the knowledge of what time that takes) I asked for a refund instead.
The same procedure started again, I heard nothing in weeks, and had to send e-mail after e-mail to just get the information that first they didn’t hear from the Cheaney factory which had to declare it as faulty, then the factory was closed for vacation, and then they didn’t hear from them again (one could wonder why noone from Robinson’s took the time to call up the Cheaney factory themselves to try to figure out what took them so long).
Finally, about two months after I had returned the shoes, I was told that I would receive the refund. I took a sigh of relief, thinking that this story now would have come to an end. Well, my bad. On my account I just found the amount I paid for the shoes, and not the £27 I paid for returning the faulty shoes. I thought they just had missed that, and sent them two e-mails again (you always seem to have to send two mails, I don’t think they ever responded to my first) asking to refund my return shipment cost as well. On their website it’s clearly stated that if the shoes are faulty, the shoes shall be returned and they will cover the shipping cost for the return.
But to my surprise I get the response that they won’t refund my cost for returning the shoes. Why not is a bit unclear, as I have been given three different explanations: they refunded the original shipping cost instead (which is not true, they have free shipping to all UK and EU customers), the shoes were worn so they don’t refund the shipping cost because of that (of course they were worn, how else would I have discovered the fault with multiple cracks being developed on toe caps?), and finally, that they actually weren’t faulty at all (which they already agreed with that they were, and that was the reason for the whole refund process).
So, the last thing happening now was that they hung up on me in the middle of a phone call. And I’m just sick of it all. I know that £27 is not that much to fuss about, but with the way they treated me during this whole process I'm really pissed. Sure others have had much worse experiences with other stores, and some probably have good experiences with Robinson's Shoes, but still: A customer shouldn’t have to pay if they are sent a faulty product, and a customer should definitely not be treated the way I have been treated.