No refund after foot cut by faulty 4-month-old boot from United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester

In May I paid £29.99 for a pair of ‘hiking boots’ from United Footwear in Oldham Street Manchester, which is in the ‘Northern Quarter’ area.

A shop to avoid: United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester

Sharp piece of metal in the sole of a boot from United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester

I’m not heavy on footwear as I work from home and don’t leave the house some days. Also I cycle a lot. Despite this, yesterday, my foot felt sore and, when I removed the right boot, I found that the inside of the sole had begun to deteriorate.

Sharp piece of metal in the sole of a boot from United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester

Sharp piece of metal in the sole of a boot from United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester

Even worse, I found a five inch long strip of rusty metal just under the lining. This is sharp and slightly forked at one end. I have a cut on my foot. Though I’m not clear if this was caused by the crumbling plastic grid in the sole or the metal strip.

I returned the boots to the shop this afternoon, with the sales receipt. They offered another pair the same, which, obviously I didn’t want, as I felt the boots were not of satisfactory quality nor fit for purpose. They didn’t have anything else suitable, so I asked for a refund which, a sign next to the counter said would be given for faulty goods.

The staff called the manageress, who kept me waiting for ten minutes before she appeared. She said she would only give me a credit note, as the boots were four months old. I said that wasn’t satisfactory as they may never get in any suitable stock and, besides which, they were unfit for purpose and had actually injured me after four months. She replied that she had personally had footwear that cost more than £30 and which fell apart after four months, so this was not unusual nor a good reason for a refund. She then turned her back on me (I wonder if this company actually runs some kind of anti-customer-service training for staff?).

After a further few minutes talking to her, with her back to me, I realised I was going to get nowhere today.

I’ve already contacted the local Trading Standards department. Meanwhile, you may want to consider whether United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester is a good place to shop.

Sharp piece of metal in the sole of a boot from United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester

Sharp piece of metal in the sole of a boot from United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester

Sharp piece of metal in the sole of a boot from United Footwear, Oldham Street, Manchester

The receipt states ‘Blunts Shoes’. A search on Google suggests that United Footwear is owned by ‘Robert Blunt’ and based in Kidderminster. In 2001, the owner was in court and fined for polluting the local river with oil.


  • karen miller says:

    I worked for them a long time ago and the ammount of shoes that came back looking like this was shameful….

  • joh richards says:

    I worked at this companys swindon branch for many years. it is a very good company to work for and they are very good at customer service and have a lot of knowlege about there footwear, unlike most footwear stores who havent got a clue what there selling. because of one bad experience in one shop, it is unfair to put a black mark over the company. the manager may have made a mistake and should have offered a refund. a simple phone call to head office would have resolved the matter. and the business of poluting the river, Mr Blunt (unlike most retail owners) has alot to do with the running of his shops personally, amongst other business the company has. it is quite easy to over see some on one of his many sites like an oil leak. he paid the fine and put it right. im 100% sure that the boot bought from there was a one of, sometimes didgy ones do slip through the line.

  • John Cobbler says:

    Th irony of your complaint is that the metal strip, is in fact a steel shank, which is an essential element of any quality made footwear. Cheaply made boots often do not include a steel shank, which helps support the foot.
    I wonder whether washing your feet may have helped prolong the life of the insole.

  • GS says: I’ve been wearing boots of all kinds for nearly 20 years and have never had a pair fall apart like this. My feet are in the bath or shower twice a day with clean socks and I don’t have any problems with them, so I don’t think that is the cause.

  • Richard says:

    Sometimes you get what you pay for. I buy Italian made hiking boots which last me at least 20 yrs with hundreds of miles on them. They are beautifully made and aside from new soles usually twice in their life, they never fail. But the cost in Canadian dollars is 180. or about 85 pounds. I wonder where yours were made….China? As for the store, any quality establishment would have refunded you without question. Your story tells mountains about this shoddy fifth rate outlet.

  • Jackson Bollock says:

    I wolvo estaterked for the company too, in their main Kidderminster depot. I too can remember mountains of returned shoes that had fallen apart, but the fact of the matter is that they were all cheap shoes, made for pence. It’s not the Blunts fault, I always founs them to be an ‘Old Skool’ kind of company, that allowed flexibility whilst offering steady work. Mr Blunt is a lovely chap, and very highly regarded around here.
    I’m afraid you simply didn’t spend enough. If the boots had of cost £100 then i’d have a bit more sympathy.

  • Simon says:

    Hi all,

    This really is quit simple – You buy cheap – you buy twice.

    Always try to buy the best possible within your budget, this principle works in all scenarios be it cars bikes cookers and kitchens, invest wisely and enjoy.

  • John Wilkes says:

    Most of the shoes in there are rubbish mate. As for customer service haha. If you want cheap shoes it’s the place to go.

    It’s closing down now anyway.

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