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Complaining about M + S Suncream- How do I take this Further?

(13 Posts)
colette Mon 08-Aug-05 19:07:09

Here is my complaint:


"I have used your "sun 30 sun protection" (ref.M 6367 787 S) on my
children and myself during our holiday last week . I am quite shocked to
find that it has permanently stained quite a few items of our clothing.
On examining the bottle I have noticed in very small print on the back
it does state "may cause discolouration with some fabrics" I have never
had a problem with any other sunscreen before. It does not state that it
will ruin most (possibly all) light fabrics that it comes into contact
with. I consider it is not suitable for sale as I would not buy a
product that damages clothes in this way. I have since tested it on
various cleaning cloths and found it has stained all of them. I buy from
Marks and Spencers as I find their products reliable and of very good
quality and have never had a problem with anything I have bought from
Marks and Spencers before. I have kept some of the items which are now
unwearable in case you or the consumers' association need to see them.

Would you please give advise me how you propose to deal with my
complaint as soon as possible."

and this is their reply:

"Thank you for contacting me. I’m sorry you were unhappy with our sunscreen which discoloured two of your children's tops and a Next top. We are always pleased to hear from our customers but disappointed when a product doesn’t live up to our customers’ expectations.

Before we launch any new product we conduct a series of tests to ensure its safety and stability. The formulation is also examined by an independent toxicologist who checks that the product is safe for its intended use and we are confident in the quality of our sunscreen.

Unfortunately sunscreens may cause discoloration on certain fabrics and we advise customers of this on the reverse of the bottle. I appreciate your disappointment over the discoloration and I do apologise.

As there is not a fault with the sun screen I am afraid that I will not be able to offer you any goodwill on the tops that were discoloured. I am posting the tops back to you in a separate parcel and it should arrive shortly.

We believe it’s really important to listen carefully to our customers and we really value your feedback. Once again, many thanks for getting in touch.

If you have any other queries in the future, please feel free to ring me on 0845 302 1234. Alternatively you may like to e-mail us by clicking on the 'contact us' link on our website."

Thanks for bearing with me this far , I have since noticed it has also stained bra straps and another t-shirt of dd's. So I am quite p**** off. Even if it is in small print(that you would have trouble seeing without a magnifying glass I would never have bought it if I had known
Who do I complain to now , is there such a thing as a consumer's association still? and is the best place to contact??

Nbg Mon 08-Aug-05 19:10:36

Contact your local Citizens Advice. They give great advice on things like this. I would also call them on the number they have given you and explain that you have found more damaged clothes.

colette Mon 08-Aug-05 19:14:34

Thanks I will do it tomorrow- I am not buying anything from M&S again however good the food is.

Nbg Mon 08-Aug-05 19:16:18

I know how you feel. It does make you cross.

I have to say though I dare bet they will give in if you persist with them. They always do!

marthamoo Mon 08-Aug-05 19:20:28

That's awful - I'm not at all careful with sun cream and I've never had any stain clothes permanantly. Won't be buying M&Ss any time soon.

I would try Citizens' Advice too but I think the disclaimer on the packaging will exempt M&S from further liability. I'm shocked they didn't offer you some compensation as a goodwill gesture though - they can afford it and it makes for far better customer relations.

marthamoo Mon 08-Aug-05 19:21:59

Or even permanently (tut tut, and me criticising misspelled graffiti).

GeorginaA Mon 08-Aug-05 19:25:56

Trading Standards have helped me in the past when I've had a dispute with Boots (and Boots refused to admit they were in the wrong). With Trading Standards involved they still didn't admit they were wrong but I did get a pretty reasonable goodwill voucher and a refund - a pretty good result. Would recommend anyone go to Trading Standards - really approachable and thorough, especially if you do have evidence (I had website screenshots, but presumably you still have the stained clothing).

oops Mon 08-Aug-05 19:39:33

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stacijc Mon 08-Aug-05 20:03:46

actually they aren't in the wrong, they stated that it might stain (discolouration they called it). They covered their backs.

I CAN see it from both sides but having worked in retail for many years i know that they will do nothing but leave your complaint on a big piles and just send out the "whoops u didn't read it and we take complaints seriously" letter

altho having said that its worth a try with C.A.B

i never knew that sun cream could do that, will read the small print from now on!!!

colette Mon 08-Aug-05 21:26:20

Thanks for the replies - I will contact trading standards.Ooops yes I am going off their food as well , their smallprint is obviously worth reading (or not if you do not buy their products)
stacijc the letter was just as you said and I know the small print is their get out clause but I feel the product is not suitable for the purpose it is intended to be used for . In other words unless you sunbathe totally nude your clothes may be damaged.
I will be making phone calls tomorrow, dh just said you could try threatening them with the small claims court , I think trading standards will be able to advise.

GeorginaA Mon 08-Aug-05 22:16:01

Hmm ... I don't know. Sometimes small print doesn't cover them if you can reasonably expect the product to do a certain thing (or not do a certain thing in this case). I don't think it's completely black and white - but trading standards will give you a better idea of if you have a case.

MaggieW Tue 09-Aug-05 08:09:29

This is really interesting as I've just had the same experience with Boots Soltan. Before I used Nivea Sun and had no problems. After using the Boots cream and before I realised what was causing the staining I've managed to ruin three white tops of mine (two of them brand new) with staining around the neck, and two childrens' tops which are now strained around the neck and sleeves. Bleach doesn't remove it. It does say in small print on the bottle that it shouldn't come into contact with some fabrics but of course, I didn't read this before using. Will be very interested to see how you get on as am very cross about this - particularly as I'm now left with two bottles of cream which I can only really use if we are naked (which in my case isn't often!!!).

oops Tue 09-Aug-05 11:21:46

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