Advantages Cheap Prices, Top Branded Footwear
Disadvantages Poor Customer Service, Cheap and Tacky Clothing Range, Lonsdale
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|Value for money|
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|Selection & range|
I have tried to tend to steer clear of writing reviews about High Street Stores because generally whilst the quality and range of the stock is comparable, any customer service, or lack of it in my case, varies from store to store and more often than not varies from day to day. However, such has been the lack of service which I have received over the last couple of days I feel compelled to write this review to warn others of the dangers of not questioning the price of individual items before handing your hard earned cash over to these Dick Turpinesque characters. I should also advise at this point in the review that this is not the first time I have received abysmal customer service.
From a footwear perspective they are in the same market as other High Street Sports Stores including JJB Sports and JD Sports insofar as they sell all the top quality ranges including Nike, Adidas and Reebok for similar or slightly cheaper prices. Where they differ is in their sale of their own Donnay branded footwear which serves one principal purpose - it is cheap. The idea behind the store is to entice you in by looking at the better known brands, but then to get you to purchase their own cheaper brand. The same can be said of its clothing range which is cheap but unfortunately also looks cheap. In terms of the sportswear which the store sells, the majority of these are either manufactured by Umbro, or their own arm Lonsdale. Whilst these actually don't look too bad, because Lonsdale equipment can only be purchased via Sports Soccer, everybody else knows that they are CHEAP. At least when you buy goods from Primark for example, people don't automatically know that they are cheap because you aren't advertising where you have bought the item.
Furthermore, I have a seven year old who is mad on football and plays goalkeeper for a local team. Consequently I have had to kit him out with gloves, shin pads, socks and because his feet keep growing a steady supply of football boots. Because a pair of boots only last him six to twelve months I begrudge paying what I term silly money for them and once again Sports Soccer fits the bill. For example he is currently wearing a pair of Red Umbro boots with screw in studs which cost me a whole £8. In addition, because England failed to qualify for the finals of the European Championships, I was able to get him the replica England kit (Shirt, Shorts and Socks) for less than £10 when it was on sale in JJB for £25.
As I said earlier in this review my son plays in goal for a junior football team, and for Christmas his uncle bought him a new pair of Nike goalkeeper gloves. If you are disorganised you tend to do all your Christmas shopping quite late, but for once Uncle Adam was switched on and purchased these gloves in November. Now because he was second guessing my sons hand size he had kept the receipt and gave it to me in case we had to return the said item. Fortunately size wasn't an issue (!!) but after only wearing them twice the stitching had come undone on one of the gloves. So two weeks into January I visited the Manchester Arndale branch of Sports Soccer armed with the offending gloves and my receipt fully expecting them to accept that there was a manufacturing fault and for them to either give me my money back or an exchange. YOU MUST BE JOKING.I was advised that because the gloves were older than 28 days they were not eligible for a refund or exchange. Furthermore they had been used. Despite me quoting the Sale of Goods Act and the fact that the goods were not of merchantable quality the manager was refusing to budge. He tried to use some lame excuse that their tills would not allow a refund to be processed where the original purchase was more than 28 days previous. He only gave in when I threatened to purchase the same pair again, and then return the damaged gloves the next day with the new receipt and then get my money back (incidentally this is the way that the store can get round the till won't allow it rubbish). Even when I suggested this approach he was very much a jobsworth saying he wouldn't allow me to return them the next day as he would remember who I was and advise all staff not to return the said gloves. It was only when I suggested I would then return them to another store that he was suddenly able to process a refund through the tills which wouldn't allow a refund !!!
If you think that was bad wait until you read the next instalment of customer service the Sports Soccer way !! Yesterday my wife was in the Stockport branch of Sports Soccer with my son and his eleven year old cousin who between them chose a pair of Nike goalkeeper gloves for £5.99 and a Nike football which was in a basket of other similar footballs with a £2.99 price ticket attached to the basket. Because my son was so excited to be getting a new football he asked my wife if he could queue up and pay for it himself. So my wife gave him a £20 note as that was all she had and literally waited five yards from the till whilst my son queued up to pay. Imagine her surprise when he bounded from the till and gave her a whopping £3.62 in change !!! This supposed £2.99 football was actually £10.39 !! You could possibly argue that my wife should possibly have expected a Nike football to cost more than £2.99 but in fairness the basket was full of them and there was no reason to believe that this wasn't the case. Under the Sale of Goods Act I appreciate that this is an invitation to treat and the company are under no obligation to sell at the lower amount, and indeed I wouldn't expect them to. However, what I would expect is that when my wife returned to the till within five seconds of my son leaving it to be given a full refund for the offending item. Oh no, because the sale had been completed all their company policy allows them to do is to provide an exchange. I'm sorry but the way my seven year old, and indeed most other seven year olds play football it wouldn't last five minutes and I did not want to purchase a £10 football. Now my wife isn't very confident when it comes to disputes but I like nothing more than having an argument with an obnoxious shop assistant or manager where I know exactly what my rights are. In view of this I gladly offered to take the ball back to the Manchester Arndale branch of Sports Soccer where I insisted to my wife that I would get my money back.
No, because there is more than one way to skin a cat and this is very much my sticking two fingers up to the staff involved at the Stockport branch and in particular the Manager at the Manchester Arndale store. Now many people may not be aware of this but Streetwise Sports are part of the same chain as Sports Soccer so I tried returning the ball there half expecting the same Victorian company policy to be quoted at me. Once again the shop assistant was extremely sympathetic and somewhat apologetic for the poor service which had been provided by their sister stores, but all he could do was refer me to his manager. When I explained the situation to him he had no hesitation in providing a full refund and offering his utmost apologies. THANK YOU VERY MUCH STREETWISE SPORTS FOR ADOPTING A COMMON SENSE APPROACH AND ACTUALLY CONSIDERING YOUR CUSTOMERS.
If you are happy to pay cheap prices but get comparable customer service then by all means shop here. However, if you want to be treated with respect when you don't get the service you would expect then I would be inclined to shop at one of the more established High Street Sports stores.Thank You for reading.
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