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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Has anyone else had problems with Oliver Sweeney shoes?
The last 2 pairs I've had of his shoes have been poor quality. I was really impressed with the fit and comfort but the quality of manufacturing was appalling.
On my first pair the leather upper ripped at the elastic band (slip ons) and were unrepairable. They never made it anywhere near a re-sole at the cobblers.
Second pair were much, much worse. Wore them out on a night out (4 weeks old and properly polished/treated with bees wax) and had to walk home in the rain.
The water poured in to my feet and the leather cracked and blistered. There was a water line all along the side, little bubbles on the toe and the creases in the toe swelled up and made the shoes look 4 years old.
I dried them out naturally but this still happened.
Now Oliver Sweeney are refusing to refund my money for the 2nd pair (4 weeks old!) with such clear examples of poor quality.
Very poor customer service considering I have spent circa £500 on his shoes.
On speaking with my cobbler he said that the shoes are most likely made in South Africa and not in Italy.
Anything I can do? I mean surely shoes can't be sold that can only be worn inside??? Or outside as long as there is no rain! Not much use in Britain then:rolleyes:

My Loakes have been out in all weathers, three soles and still look good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yup Oliver Sweeney shoes look nice as long as you don't want to wear them in the rain or outside!!!
I bought them in Oliver Sweeney Concession in Harvey Nichols. The Oliver Sweeney store manager has refused to refund any money.
When I took them back and left them at the shop, the salesman called me back and said that,
"after speaking with the technical department and ??water testing?? the shoes he had found no problem and therefore no refund."
Water testing? In a shop? Eh?
I can assure you the water poured into them when it was raining!! Through the bit where the upper meets the sole.
The salesman who was there when I took them back (the shoes are still there) said something totally different from the guy who sold me them.
When buying, I asked about quality issues as I have had shoes in the past that failed. He assured me that Oliver Sweeney's refund policy was solid and that I wouldn't have any issues if anything happened. I beg to differ!!
On relaying the original salesman's comments, the manager said,
"that's not right, I'll have to discipline him"!!
So that's the status.

No shoes, no refund, £250 out of pocket.
Not good eh?

I've sent a formal complaint letter in last week demanding my money/replacement, (I won't wear them in the rain this time!!!, not easy in the UK,) with as yet, no response.

If they are making these shoes in South Africa and then flogging them on for £250 I'm sure there is a fair profit margin with which to issue refunds for faulty goods.

Buy Oliver Sweeney? NEVER again! Shame, comfy shoes.
I think I'll take a look at Jeffrey Wests next.
 

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I would have asked for the men's department manager and as for water testing, you should have said how can they test it in a matter of minutes.

You should write (send as recorded delivery) to OS and say you are willing to post them the below-par shoes and send a copy to the Harvey Nichols men's department manager and Harvey Nicholls PR. Mention the issue with the shoes; the refusal of a refund, despite being within the refund period and a faulty pair; and you have posted your concern on a men's clothing forums and discussed with others and warned them away from OS.

It may be a case of Harvey Nichols return policy. Selfridges on Oxford Street sell OS shoes but have a very selection and are not an official OS retailor; they have a more relaxed return policy this may be because they control their shoe department.


Have you tried contacting anyone else at Harvey Nichols, I assume this is the Edinburgh store.


As for Jeffrey West, I purchased loafers and boots on sale in autumn 2006; they used to be made by Cheaney's and this may still be the case. The boots are still going strong but do not wear them often and the loafers needed a resole after two years. As I got the loafers on sale for £75, spending £73 on a half-resole or £90 on a full-resole by James Taylor did not seem worth it, I still have the shoes and may give them to a cheaper resoler for £30 and just wear at home.
 

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AFAIK Sweeneys are blake stitched, which means they are not good rain shoes as the stitching goes to the inside of the shoe, wicking moisture up onto your foot. Walking around on wet leather soles wears them out incredibly quickly. (Found out the hard way!)

I have two pair and have suffered the wet foot scenario. So for me, strictly a summer shoe unless you Topy it (cobbler added rubber sole). As a summer shoe I am happy with them for socialising in.

The quality has definitely dropped as the brand has become more successful over the past few years. I wouldn't (and didn't) pay full retail for them. I also got from HN's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Have you tried contacting anyone else at Harvey Nichols, I assume this is the Edinburgh store.
Yup Edinburgh store. Haven't contacted Harvey Nics as I thought that the Oliver Sweeney concession was run by Oliver Sweeney just paying a rent to Harvey Nics. (Could be wrong, it's just what I thought) So if what you are saying is correct Toryboy I need to take this up with the Menswear manager. Probably the same manager who was trying to sell me a made to measure suit. That WON'T be happening if they keep treating me as badly as this!!!

I don't have the shoes, they are still at Harvey Nics. I have sent a recorded letter quoting the sale of goods act asking for a refund/replacement. I'll give them 2 weeks to respond.
What a royal pain in the ass, but I can't let them get away with it, on principle.

I also have a pair of Ferragamos but they too suffered a slight water mark. But the leather is far, far better quality. A much better shoe.

Shows you what happens if you buy shoes for looks. My usual working shoes are a couple of pairs of Loakes that have been absolutely bombproof. I believe (could be wrong) that they are proper goodyear welted.

I've found a really good website that shows the different constructions in case anyone is interested....

https://the-last-shall-be-first.blogspot.com/search/label/Shoe%20construction

Thought you guys would appreciate it.
 

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If it is a concession, it is run by OS with dedicated Harvey Nichols staff, which means the return policy would be an OS policy and not a Harvey Nichols policy. Despite it being a concession, Harvey Nichols should be made aware of your unhappy experience in their store, as it also reflections on them and not just the OS company.

A lot of fashion and high-end stores have a refund policy only for faulty items and not if you changed your mind. In this case, they are claiming the item is not faulty; hence, not returnable.
There is always a managers discretion on the return policy and the OS manager decided not to use this option. This has worked for me before, the store manager accepted the garment was inferior compared to their company standard and I got a full refund on my credit card, normally they do an exchange and refund money. However, the next time (different store) the store manager refused and I told him which rival store I was going into next, where not only will I be spending my money there but also showing them the poor garment, he would not accept back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Sale of goods act 1979

If they say that the shoes aren't faulty I have the sale of goods act 1979 on my side.
https://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/consumers/fact-sheets/page38311.html

Sale of Goods Act 1979. Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.
Key Facts:

• Wherever goods are bought they must "conform to contract". This means they must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality (i.e. not inherently faulty at the time of sale).
• Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description.
• Aspects of quality include fitness for purpose, freedom from minor defects, appearance and finish, durability and safety.
• It is the seller, not the manufacturer, who is responsible if goods do not conform to contract.
• If goods do not conform to contract at the time of sale, purchasers can request their money back "within a reasonable time". (This is not defined and will depend on circumstances)
• For up to six years after purchase (five years from discovery in Scotland) purchasers can demand damages (which a court would equate to the cost of a repair or replacement).
• A purchaser who is a consumer, i.e. is not buying in the course of a business, can alternatively request a repair or replacement.
• If repair and replacement are not possible or too costly, then the consumer can seek a partial refund, if they have had some benefit from the good, or a full refund if the fault/s have meant they have enjoyed no benefit
• In general, the onus is on all purchasers to prove the goods did not conform to contract (e.g. was inherently faulty) and should have reasonably lasted until this point in time (i.e. perishable goods do not last for six years).
• If a consumer chooses to request a repair or replacement, then for the first six months after purchase it will be for the retailer to prove the goods did conform to contract (e.g. were not inherently faulty)
• After six months and until the end of the six years, it is for the consumer to prove the lack of conformity.
I think Oliver Sweeney have failed on the first 3 key facts.
Fit for purpose: I would guess that shoes sold in Britain might have to put up with a bit of rain!
Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory: I'd say they have failed miserably on the quality front.
Aspects of quality include fitness for purpose, freedom from minor defects, appearance and finish, durability and safety: Defects, appearance and finish all fails!

I just wish that I didn't have to go through all this hassle. It is a pain in the ass. I'll have to wait to see if they respond to the letter I've sent.

I will also send a letter to Harvey Nichols as well. I suppose they need to know how their customers are being treated
 

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There was a water line all along the side, little bubbles on the toe and the creases in the toe swelled up and made the shoes look 4 years old.
To confirm what you already know, if the leather is actually bubbling from a single use in the rain, this probably isn't the quality that you're looking for. In fact, it sounds like the layers rely on glue more than they do stitching - but perhaps someone who knows cobbling better than I could remark about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I've received my old shoes (the water damaged ones) back in the post with the following letter,
"Sorry to hear of your recent issues. However I immediately arranged for the shoes to be inspected and unfortunately we were unable to find any inherent faults. It is the nature of leather soled shoes to eventually allow water to seep through, we are aware of this and we offer wet weather advice on our website aswell as instore. The leather may be restored after treatment of wax also.
As this is the case we are unable to offer a replacement, if you wish to contact me please do not hesitate to do so.

Yours...."
So no joy with Oliver Sweeney then, just my old shoes back.
"eventually allow water to seep through" What after 4 weeks and a walk in the rain?
"wet weather advice on our website as well as instore"
What??? I was assured that this would specifically NOT happen by the sales guy and that Oliver Sweeney had a No quibble return policy.

A warning to all you potential Oliver Sweeney buyers then! The shoes aren't great and their after sales sucks!!
What should I do now?
 

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To be fair, if you do some reading on this site about rain, leather soled shoes, conditioning waterproofing and polishing (with cream, beeswax or carnuba), you'll see that it isn't purely an OS issue.
I wrecked a pair (blake stitched) a few years ago as I knew no better.

Posters here in wet locations get rubber soled (dainite etc.) shoes or goodyear welted leather and topy them. Those in extreme parts even use rubber overshoes when needs must. No shoes straight out of the box without good preparation are going to be weatherproof.

Post some pictures and see if some of the shoe experts can suggest a rescue plan.
 
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