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Merlin Shoes


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#1 tiamaria

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 12:16 PM

I am going to try to be fair in this posting as I know the rules, so I will stick to the facts!! But has anyone else experienced any issues with customer service at Merlin shoes?

I bought a pair of sale item shoes for my 18 month old daughter. The manager who served me fitted the shoes (sitting down) very quickly and then the price changed (upwards of course, although that could well be a genuine mistake) by the time I got to the till. There was a sign saying no refunds on sale items (fair enough) but my daughter really needed something to wear so I made the purchase regardless. My daughter wore the shoes for all of 5 mins the following morning (in the car to drop off before work) and when i took them off it was obvious that that style of shoe was not fitting her properly (the heal at the back is too high) and she had a blister.

Bearing in mind that they are totally re-saleable I thought it would be perfectly reasonably to request a credit note (not refund). I phoned the next day as was not able to get to the triangle for a while and i was told that there was no flexibility on this, I had made my decision and that was that and then they hung up on me! Now I had reason to be rude back so did give them what for on the phone (although i did not swear!)

After I calmed down the following week (!) I went back in person to the shop and only the owner was there - apparently she can't make decisions for the manager (her daughter). When the manager did appear, she told me that i was beign rude in front of customers (i had merely asked at that point who i should speak to regarding a complaint) and they refused point blank to assist me telling me to 'get out their shop' because I was abusign my daughter in front of them - I merely (angrily) pointed out that it was a days pay for that pair of shoes and i wasn't asking for anything other than a credit note, hardly something worth this level of difficulty over.

I have never been so shocked by the service and response from a shop in my life - I dont think the shoe is fit for purpose as it doesnt fit and usually if a customer is not content most reasonable shop owners would be flexible and provide a credit note over creating like this!!!

#2 Summit Lover

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 12:26 PM

I have always found the staff there to be helpful and pleasant. The only drawback for me is that they don't tend to stock shoe styles that appeal to me.

I really like their shoe recycling bin though - a great idea.

#3 Nanazola

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 02:03 PM

That sounds a perfectly legitimate complaint tiamaria. It also sounds like it was badly handled, leaving you feeling insulted, not to say slightly intimidated, on top of your original doubts about the service you received.

It's interesting because in contrast, I recently ordered some stuff from Boden, then found I could have got a better discount through a magazine offer. Boden apologised immediately in a friendly email and are refunding the difference.

You could argue that 'big business' like Boden can afford to be pleasant and train staff in how to deliver good customer service. But frankly any shop - large, small or internet - that offers me that has my undying loyalty and affection.

#4 Dazza

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 02:05 PM

trading standards would prob be best to contact to find out what your statutory rights are in this situation.

But if the shoes was worn so your child got a blister the shop would not be able to sell on as new though !
Your obviously mistaken me with someone who gives a fig

#5 Bovine Juice

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 04:55 PM

We used to get my son's shoes from that shop when he was younger as they do some really nice quality shoes. However I hated going in there because the service from the two women, particularly the daughter, was not good. I found their attitude really unfriendly and the daughter had an irritating habit of talking to her mother in their own language while serving me if the sale wasn't instant which always made me suspicious that she was not being complimentary as her English was fine when talking directly to me. There was another time when they both insisted on trying to sell me a pair which I felt was undersized (my son has wide feet) and I just walked out in frustration. In the end I just felt these people needed the wake-up call that taking my custom elsewhere might deliver. Shame as the shoes are good.

Edited by Bovine Juice, 29 August 2010 - 04:57 PM.


#6 RetiredMember2

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 04:28 PM

I am sorry but not surprised to hear about your experience tiamaria. I have used Merlin's shoes for years and up until the daughter took over had always had good service but I fear she has an unfortunate style.

I went in for first time in ages few months ago to ask if she would display a small, A5, Have Your Cake and Eate It! poster in the window, in aid if the cinema campaign. In the past Merlin shoes has displayed PPC posters and literature but this young woman looked as though I'd just asked her to display some hard core porn. Not one to be brushed off I stood my ground and explained how her mum had been happy to support the campaign, she reluctantly took one leaflet from me and begrugingly plonked it on the counter. I thanked her but left the shop thinking that's the last time I'll be crossing that threshold, what a shamethat she extends that unhelpful (I'm being charitable here) manner to her customers. Think a year in charm school would do the trick!

#7 cathyh

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 11:13 AM

over the last four years I must have spent a fortune in this shop... it is handy for me and I like the styles, however I have now stopped going in there. The service is dismissive and rude, it seems like such an effort for them to fit shoes properely or go out the back to look for different sizes, my mother was over from Ireland and brought my child to get shoes this summer, she walked out in disgust as being shocked at the poor service. It is a shame that a small local business is losing good business due to poor customer communication and skills. Time for them to have a rethink if they want to stay in business.

#8 gekko

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 11:36 AM

I bought some shoes from there a few years back and had good service (the shoes are still going strong now) but my partner had a bit of bother with them when she tried to buy some shoes. There was an issue over sizing and then they put the wrong shoes in the box despite insisting they'd checked. We ended up having to take them back and by the time we were able to do so they'd sold the ones in the right size.

To be honest, I think their window display has gone a bit downhill. It's certainly a long time since I've been compelled to go inside. Sometimes there's hardly anything in the window at all. When I go walking up in Yorkshire, there's a small shoe shop I go into where the selection is amazing. They have quite a few of the modern, funky brands (Art, Eject, Trippen, El Naturalista) along with some of the bigger brands like Camper, Birkenstock, MBT and Merrell). The shop is no bigger than the front half of Merlin and yet the range is more compelling and befits both the fashionable 30-something and more practical markets. I see something like this working well in Crystal Palace.

You could do this without sacrificing the children's selection in Merlin because it has the space out the back. With children's shoes of course, fitting is everything and so they need to get this part of the service spot on.

I'm just sensing a lack of enthusiasm and vision for this place. Maybe the daughter just isn't that into it, but I think there's a good business opportunity here that could be exploited with some very minor adjustments to selection and service.
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#9 happymundays

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 12:26 PM

I buy alot of shoes in there and I've not had bad service, but did see a young girl get humiliated, she was shy and was just being brave enough to ask and they just dismissed her with body language, and a smirk and she walked out in utter embarresment and humiliation I was quite shocked.

I still buy as it's local and nice shoes, I think they are complacent.

#10 misspoddy

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 06:59 PM

I used to buy shoes for my daughter in Merlin's as they are indeed good quality but have stopped going there.
Last time I was in there I wanted to get my daughter some good school shoes and was willing to pay those pathetic prices as she gets blisters just by looking at a pair of bad shoes! I said to the manager/daughter that I wasn't sure about my daughters size but that I thought she might be a 4, and that we were looking for a pair of classic school shoes, but not too girly. The woman sat on the window sill and just nodded in an utterly bored way! There was no one except me and my daughter in the shop and she didn't even get up and helped us to find a shoe. So I picked one up, sat my daughter next to the manager and put the shoe on her feet myself. The entire time she just sat there and looked at me like if I was total nuisance. As the shoe didn't fit, I said, "maybe she's not a 4 then..." And the woman said "Well the shoe you've been putting on her is a 3, so it can't fit, can it?" The problem was that the shoe was in Continental sizes and I converted the size wrongly. I couldn't believe that this woman just sat there, watching me and couldn't even TELL me it was the wrong size I obviously accidentally picked. She had no interest what so ever in showing me a shoe that maybe would fit and didn't budge. Well, needless to say we left and will not got back! I am still furious. :angry:

Ended up dragging my daughter to John Lewis where her foot got properly measured and bought equally expensive shoes in there as I would have in the triangle if the woman would have let me! Unbelievable.

#11 Anthony

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 05:50 AM

Every time I come back to England I am amazed at how friendly and obliging the majority of sales staff/ advisers are it's nothing like it used to be way back, but sadly it would appear that there as here a few hang overs from the old ways are still around. A retailer with an attitude is something that nobody should accept and in my opinion should be ignored, there are plenty of other traders who would be glad of more customers I'm sure, money is money and after all that is what they are all after.

#12 guineagirl

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:38 PM

over the last four years I must have spent a fortune in this shop... it is handy for me and I like the styles, however I have now stopped going in there. The service is dismissive and rude, it seems like such an effort for them to fit shoes properely or go out the back to look for different sizes


I had a similar experience, where they seemed unwilling to go and look whether they had the shoe I wanted in my size. I didn't especially want to make a special trip into town to get the shoe I wanted so I pleaded with them to at least have a look - and surprise surprise, they had the shoe in my size and I bought it!

I was amazed how ready they were to dismiss a potential sale... I agree with other posters that the range they have looks ideal, the shop is attractive and well-presented, they have all my favourite types of shoe, and I'd love to support them as a local business, but even so I'm not wildly keen to go back.

#13 RetiredMember1

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:42 PM

Perhaps someone should print out this thread and pop it through Merlin's door to give them the opportunity to redress the balance, if they so desire?

#14 julian

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 12:01 PM

All of this sounds very negative and so unlike the shop that I know and have been visiting for over 10 years. I've bought shoes for all three of my children pretty much since they could walk and have never had anything other than top-rate service. One of my children is autistic and it can be a real headache getting new shoes but I've never had anything but patience and understanding from the staff there. Yes, it gets busy at times and you'll often have to wait - but in my experience, they don't rush anyone at the expense of others.

I wonder if there's an element of 'it takes two' to create a problem here? It's obviously hard to take back shoes that have already been worn. Anyway, I felt that the thread was somewhat one-sided so wanted to do my bit to redress the balance. I'm sorry that someone had a bad experience but I'm sure that there are countless others like me who have nothing but praise for what is a real gem of a shop.

#15 James

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 12:18 PM

Julian, I think you are right to want to redress the balance. I'm concerned that many of these criticisms have been posted by long standing members of the forum that aren't best known for being harsh critics. I hope that Merlin Shoes see these comments, take them on the chin and restore customer confidence before it costs them their business.

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