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To think this major high street retailer is wrong and the store manager was out of order

(199 Posts)
Notalone Tue 27-Aug-13 18:49:53

I have been looking for a dress for ages and finally found one on Friday that makes me feel amazing. It is pretty much a bog standard dress really but with clever folds and a belt that sets it off perfectly. Except when I wore it at the weekend I realised the belt is stupidly small and squashed me that much I had to take it off. It didn't look the same without the belt though.

I went down to the shop to ask them to exchange the belt for a bigger one and the cashier said that a lot of people had said the same thing but she would have to check with her manager. The manager comes out and refuses saying that if she gives me a different belt then it would make another dress faulty so no she won't exchange the belt. She can't order another belt from the manufacturer either but would give 20% off the dress. I explained that no, I just wanted a belt that actually fit me because the dress is just not the same without it and I want to keep the dress. She looked me up and down and sneeringly said that SHE had tried the belt on, was the same size as the dress and it wasn't big on her at all. I retorted that my friend who is a size 8-10 struggled to fasten the belt too so therefore it wasn't me buying a too small dress. She then said it was only me with the problem and no-one else had complained. I said that is not what her cashier had said so she glared at the cashier and said she should have fed that back to her.

The end result I that she refused to swap the belt and I now have a dress that just isn't the same. I am sorely tempted to go to another tore, try a bigger dress on and just switch the bloody thing over myelf even though I know this isn't right really.

I know there are bigger issues than this but I feel really peeved because the dress cost more than I would usually spend and I really love it with that frigging belt grin

nooka Mon 02-Sep-13 01:27:26

Oh I agree that it sounds like a badly made dress/belt combo. I'd be annoyed to find something almost but not quite right, but it's not exactly an unusual experience is it? I just don't buy it. If I don't have the time to try something in the store but think it's probably OK then when I get home I try it on. If it doesn't fit/I decide I don't really like it after all then I'd wrap it back up and return it.

No problem. In this case the OP made an unusual request, asking to exchange part of the outfit (I assume because she thought that the belt supplied had been accidentally swopped with another dress). Not surprisingly the manager said no, and when her pretty generous goodwill offer was turned down was annoyed (at this point I totally agree she was very rude). The OP could still have returned the dress and got her money back though, as the other person who contacted the head office confirmed.

LeoandBoosmum Mon 02-Sep-13 01:32:52

Clothes are dreadful these days unless you can afford more high-end stuff (my best purchases have been from Hobbs...still have things I regularly wear from seasons back). In the OP's shoes I think (as you imply) I'd have assumed not all clothes are made equal and tried it on before removing tags and wearing. The offer of a full refund despite the dress having been worn was fair and I would have taken it (then tried every identical dress on in my size until I hit on one where the belt was a match). I do feel a bit sorry for the OP though...she did come in for a bit of a character assassination. I wouldn't have done what she did but I could empathise with her frustration and what she did wasn't the worst thing in the world (though some posters acted like it was!)

SparkyTGD Mon 02-Sep-13 12:16:07

Its possible the belt was made too small, its also possible it was the correct size. I think the dress was stretchy & belt is not.

If OP had measured the belt & it was too small for their advertised size then probably would have been able to persuade the shop to do something about it.

I don't think swapping with a belt from a larger dress was fair.

Laquila Mon 02-Sep-13 14:45:02

I'm sure this has been said elsewhere on the thread but just to clarify, just because something doesn't fit one person does not mean it is not fit for purpose.

It's the customer's responsibility to t something on and ensure it fits before purchase. Any sizing given is a guideline only.

If the dress fabric has any give/stretch in it at all then it's quite conceivable that it could fit several differently-shaped people, but that the belt would not fit them all. Not all size 12 items fit all people who are usually a size 12.

Sneaking back and swapping the belt for another, when the shop have already offered you a) a discount, and b) a full refund, is really not on, regardless of the manager's attitude.

TattyDevine Mon 02-Sep-13 14:57:21

I am neither super duper moral nor a thieving criminal but I don't blame the OP for swapping the belts! Maybe I should, but I don't grin

Libertine73 Mon 02-Sep-13 15:08:29

no it's not theft, she swapped a belt for a belt, I would have been tempted to do the same, except leave the small belt of the dress so no one else got stung in the same way.

nickelbabe Mon 02-Sep-13 15:24:28

OP, it really is theft - you offered your alternative to the Manager and she said no, you can't do that.

and you did it anyway, which means you did wrong after being told not to.

And you didn't even get the tape measure out? I know you said you lost yours, but a rule would have done the same job (or even a piece of paper, then measure it against a rule)

Why the hell didn't you just email head office and ask them to send you another belt?

you didn't even get the facts of the case to make an argument

flowery Mon 02-Sep-13 15:43:36

I'm puzzled as to how being a lone parent and being "on a budget" makes any difference to the moral/legal question of whether what you've done is theft/morally wrong or not. confused

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 02-Sep-13 17:49:17

Again, if it's not the wrong thing to do then why do it sneakily in the changing room? wink

nicename Mon 02-Sep-13 17:57:31

I would write to the manufacturer in the hope of a bigger belt.

It's a pain that the belt is a stingy length - I had this when I was a skinny minny (size 8 would hang off me) and bought a 'small belt without trying it on ' that ended up fitting my 9 year old. I had a lovely chain belt that I now wear as a necklace - I can't even get it around my waist these days!

nicename Mon 02-Sep-13 18:00:54

And its a bit naughty to switch. I saw a gorgeous suit (last one in a fab sale) that some ratbag had switched skirts on so it just wouldn't fit properly at all.

Someone told me that this is why most bikinis are sold seperate (people switching tops and bottoms).

nennypops Mon 02-Sep-13 18:32:24

I don't get why people think the shop's offer was generous: it really wasn't. The belt is not fit for purpose because it does not fit the dress. It's not good enough to say it's the OP's fault for not trying it on, or that maybe it's just wrong for her: we know that the dress itself fits her, so if the belt isn't big enough to go round the waist of the dress then it's not fit for purpose.

Therefore the shop was in breach of contract and it can't in law remedy that just by refunding the money. It has a duty to put the customer in the same position as she would have been in if they had fulfilled the contract. That means supplying her with a dress and belt that actually does fit; if they can't supply it, she would be entitled to look elsewhere for the nearest equivalent, and if it is more expensive - even if it is much more expensive - they would have to pay for it.

So really, by just swapping the belt OP has if anything done them a favour. Very technically it's theft, but I can't see the police conceivably bothering to prosecute.

nooka Mon 02-Sep-13 18:38:46

So I can go into a store, buy something that doesn't fit me and then bring it back in a hissy fit and demand something else more expensive at the same cost and the store would be obliged to cough up? Really? I must be missing out on a lot of free dosh then because this is not exactly an unusual experience. The dress was stretchy and the belt was not. It fit well enough for the OP to put it on, just not well enough to be comfortable, again not exactly unusual.

StuntGirl Mon 02-Sep-13 19:06:48

Because chances are the belt is right it just doesn't fit the OP's particular shape. Apparently it was impossible for the OP to measure the belt, so who knows.

nickelbabe Mon 02-Sep-13 19:16:11

I'm frustrated about the not measuring the belt thing

op, can you at least measure your waist (using paper and rule trick) to see if it fits in with river island's measurements?

mayorquimby Mon 02-Sep-13 19:25:08

a belt not fitting does not mean it "is not fit for purpose", a belt not closing due to a broken buckle would.

The op was already in the position had the contract been fulfilled. She had the dress and belt that she picked out in the shop and contracted to buy.
There's no issue of not being fit for purpose or entitled to any contractual remedies because there was no breach.

nickelbabe Mon 02-Sep-13 19:31:52

it is if itdoesn't match rthe sizing of the dress

candycoatedwaterdrops Mon 02-Sep-13 19:40:26

It seems like people really don't understand the legalities around fit for purpose but regardless of that, stealing is stealing.

foreverondiet Mon 02-Sep-13 21:37:54

I bought a dress which also had a too small belt. For £3 I found a similar belt elsewhere. Think it's because my waist wider than an 18 year ok'd with same weight confused

Libertine73 Mon 02-Sep-13 21:58:13

she swapped though, she didn't just remove something

FunLovinBunster Mon 02-Sep-13 22:19:51

Christ on a bike.
It is theft FFS.

LittleBearPad Mon 02-Sep-13 23:20:32

Well if she swapped then that's ok. I'll just swap my way along Bond Street. I'm sure it'll be fine hmm

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Mon 02-Sep-13 23:44:58

Theft = dishonest misappropriation with intention to permanently deprive

Misappropriation can be as insignificant as just touching something

It's theft

LongGoneBeforeDaylight Mon 02-Sep-13 23:46:08

And a civil wrong - like breach of contract or something not being fit for purpose - does not mean you can help yourself to a criminal remedy.

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