Given my recent activism around the probably bicycle related wear on a pair of my tweed trousers, it may be a little early to go on another disappointed consumer rant. Or is it? Heck, we pay good money for our nice clothes and shoes, so isn’t it reasonable to find they live up to expectations, or even exceed them? Should we just shrug and move on when something fails dismally? I say no. Let the shortcomings be known.
So today a colleague noticed how the soles on my classic Dr Martens shoes were split lengthwise. A closer look showed that this was the case on both shoes. Now, in the interest of disclosure, these shoes are not new. I bought them around 4-5 years ago. I don’t use them very often though, mainly in the Spring and Autumn when there is a chance of rain, so in real terms they have likely seen between 3-6 months of use if they were my only pair of shoes.
In comparison, WDG has a pair of Dr Martens she bought way back in 93-94. These have seen lots and lots of use, yet still look almost new. The uppers are shiny and unharmed, the soles are undamaged and still have plenty of wear left in them. There is a certain ruggedness to them that to me is the essence of the British working shoe. And they were made in Britain.
Mine were made in Thailand. Which I suspect is part of the problem. Not that Thailand is a problem per se, as I’ve seen lovely and well made things from there, but low cost production can be. Dr Martens charge 95 pounds for a pair of the Thai 1461 shoes. And 165 pounds for a pair of the Made in Britain version that came a little later. I’m very curious about the actual differences between the two. Is there any noticeable difference other than the printed country of origin? Can it be inferred that the cheaper pair must be of inferior quality, hence the need to market a premium version?
While 95 pounds might not be a very large sum of money to pay for a pair of shoes, I would still expect to get a couple of years use out of them, with allowance for wearing something different during the winter and summer. Hence why I decided to see what Dr Martens customer service would say about the matter.
Dear Dr Martens,
To which Dr Martens customer service replied:
Thanks for your email
Due to the age of this footwear, it is not a manufacturing fault, this is a defect as a result of wear and tear
Unfortunately we do not have the facility to re-sole our footwear. However you can contact Timpsons who can replace some of our DM’s soles and their telephone number is 0161 9466219.
Let us know if we can help you further.
Now, about from being adressed as “There”, this was a reply intended only to stoke the fire of my consumer fury. “Wear and tear”? The cheek! So a reply to their reply was hammered out, and more photos included:
Thanks for your response, whilst I haven’t missed the point of your email, In order for us to deal with your enquiry, please provide the following information:
•Your full current postal address.
•The name of the retailer they were purchased from (If the order was made with us then please let us know your order number)
•Please also describe the style name.
•If you are able to provide your proof of purchase or a bank statement showing the transaction.
Once we have this information we can then advise further.
Please let us know if you have any questions at this stage.
Please return your footwear using the address label along with a returns form that is attached to this email. You will need to cover the cost of the return. If we find a manufacturing fault we can then refund your postage.
The inspection process can take up to 15 working days from the date that we receive them and we will contact you once an outcome has been reached.
In the event of your footwear being repaired, this can take up to 8 weeks. We will notify you if this is the case.