Why did Church’s destroy a pair of shoes I left for repair?

Church’s refurbish their shoes : but only twice without risk.

 Church’s refurbish their shoes : but only twice without risk. Photograph: Carl Court/PA

I left a pair of shoes at Church’s New Bond Street, London shop for repair. Soon afterwards I got a call informing me that my shoes had been destroyed during the process. I was asked if I wanted to collect them, or agree that the factory could throw them away.

To say I was shocked by the matter-of-fact way in which I was asked to dispose of a relatively new pair of shoes was an understatement. This was a third repair; on both previous occasions I went through the Geneva shop and I was never told my shoes could be destroyed. The London manager claimed I had signed a legally binding waiver (and that I should have read the small print) absolving Church’s from all risk. He also said that the website advises that shoes should not be repaired more than twice.

I have been buying Church’s shoes for many years and have never come across such disappointing customer service.
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Church’s shoes retail for around £400-500 a pair, so you’re right to think they should last. Church’s has double-checked its records and instructions and insists you were told verbally that your shoes might not survive a third repair. It also confirmed you signed a docket acknowledging this (it has a copy). It also said your shoes were about 10 years old, which does put something of a different slant on the story.

Church’s offers shoe refurbishment (involving removal of the full sole ) only twice, after which it cannot guarantee it could successfully resole a third time. It says the success of the third resoling would depend on previous wear and tear and whether they had been repaired by a third party.

You admitted you did sign something, but did not read the small print, thinking that was not necessary with a major brand like Church’s (we don’t agree).

Overall, this was a difficult one for us to resolve given that you each gave a different version of events. However, Church’s apologises if any information was unclear and for any inconvenience. It is happy to offer you a 10% discount on a new pair of shoes. While this is not over-generous, it does insist that it did nothing wrong and you were fully warned about the risk.