Walking boots - warranty claim query

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Bonefishblues
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Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby Bonefishblues » 12 Jun 2019, 7:31pm

Some may know that I am an enthusiast of the Keen brand. I've probably got 7or 8 pairs in different shapes and sizes.

To cut to the chase, I bought a pair of waterproof walking boots last year, and have worn them a few times, but never in wet conditions until 2 or 3 weeks ago, when I walked for perhaps 3/4 mile in wet grass. One foot got wet, the other very wet, both at the toe.

I was advised to make a warranty claim, which I did, and was advised to do the following (or send the boots back to Rotterdam at my cost)


Because this is about a potential leaking boot we’d like to do a little waterproof test. To avoid needless shipments we’d like to ask you to do this simple waterproof test yourself at home and test if the KEEN.Dry membrane works:

1. Place your shoes on a piece of paper on a flat surface

2. Remove your insoles

3. Pour a big cup of water in each pair

4. Wait for a few hours to see if a leak develops


If the membrane is leaking, it can best be shown on a small video. Then it might not be necessary to send the boots to our European headquarter in Rotterdam.
If you prefer to send us pictures which show the leaking, please show the beginning of the waterproof test as well as the start of the leaking and the result, mentioning the time frame when you first experience the leaking.


I thought that rather than faffing around like this, what I'd do is simply replicate the walk and send before and after pictures, including a fitness monitor to show duration, distance etc. Same issue happened, same wet feet.

I duly did that, and got an immediate response that this was unacceptable as a method, and I was required to use theirs. I replied asking why what I had done, which was as a pair of waterproof boots would be worn, which had demonstrably failed to keep water out. They haven't responded, despite two further requests.

I suppose my question is whether I'm being unreasonable? I confess that I am suspicious of their 'test', having done some research on the definition of waterproofing for waterproof boots, which seems to be the ability to withstand 1000mm hydrostatic head, which this most certainly isn't.

Welcome your thoughts!

pwa
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Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby pwa » 12 Jun 2019, 7:37pm

I'd refuse to do their testing for them. If you know they are leaking, insist that you know and ask what they are going to do about it. You don't need to make videos for them. Poor service and, by the sound of it, poor boots.

Bonefishblues
Posts: 6348
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby Bonefishblues » 12 Jun 2019, 7:42pm

£130-odd quid of boots at full price...

pwa
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Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby pwa » 12 Jun 2019, 7:53pm

I'm a bit conservative with boots and am now on my third pair of Scarpa Terras, leather with a Goretex liner. For leather they are light, but still rugged and long lasting. The downside of leather is restricted breathability, but the quality is top notch. No leaks on any of the three pairs, ever.

Bonefishblues
Posts: 6348
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby Bonefishblues » 12 Jun 2019, 8:03pm

That aside, what do you think of their test - surely just about anything with a membrane could pass that, but it's in no way representative of actual wear, or am I mistaken?

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Jun 2019, 8:07pm

Before you get to the details of the testing, I think you need to be clear who you are claiming against.

I believe claims about defective footwear are notoriously difficult to settle because to put it mildly, retailers and manufacturers drag their feet. Since footwear by its nature and use inevitably begins to deteriorate from the first wearing, a few months or a year's "expected" wear can occur in a week's footslogging.

Your basic rights are with the retailer, and they cannot fob you off by referring you to the manufacturer. As every manufacturer's warranty should inform you, a manufacturer's warranty does not affect your statutory rights. However, if you are getting nowhere with the retailer and don't want to go down the small claims route, then a manufacturer's warranty may be your only hope. There are stories of manufacturers honouring warranties without quibble, long past what some people might expect, but there are plenty of others where examination of the T&Cs reveal more escape hatches than a submarine. I suspect that in general, a manufacturer's warranty often boils down to a question of their goodwill. (Motor vehicle warranties are something of an exception.)

Bonefishblues
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Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby Bonefishblues » 12 Jun 2019, 8:20pm

They have a one year warranty, and the boots can be seen to be near as dammit brand new, with mild creasing to the upper and zero wear to sole.

The manufacturer is the retailer. I know their lasts fit my feet.

As far as I can see this is about as clear-cut as it's going to get.

Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Jun 2019, 8:28pm

How long since you bought them?

https://www.keenfootwear.com/warranty/

Pertinent point is below I think.

KEEN offers a one year guarantee against manufacturing and material defects for items purchased from authorized KEEN resellers. Please note that our warranty coverage does have some limitations. For details, be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of our warranty policy


Where did you buy it? Can you contact them regarding the issue? Every time I've had an issue with something I've bought my first contact has been with the retailer I bought it from. Most have been very helpful. Some just replace and take on the risk that the brand contests the defect. Most have various processes with various levels of complexity and time to sort out.

One retailer sent it back to brand with the brand's returns form. He used the form supplied by the rep but it wasn't the right one. So he filled in the right one and posted it off to join the returned item which was a tent. Meanwhile the retailer lent me another model of tent to use. It meant he had to sell it off cheap later on as used. Eventually the retailer got told to replace the tent from his stock. Took a month and half.

Another retailer took the tent back and sent it to head office after giving me several sheets of paperwork (receipt showing they'd taken it back, various returns forms). At head office they went to a single person with the right to authorise a replacement. A month later we got a form which authorised the branch to refund our account through the card used. Hence a return visit to the store to do that. That was a visit to buy, another to return and a third to get the authorised refund. That was an outdoors shop that's part of the Black's chain.

Others were a lot better. All within one year of purchase.

Anyway retailer will probably do the posting back to keen for you. Plus isn't your contract with the retailer?

If you don't do it this way and decide to go direct to brand then I don't think you can dictate how it should be dealt with. However I don't think their test is good but it's their process and you have I do it if you don't want to send it back to them or go through your retailer. It could show the defect since it is more likely that manufacturing has caused a defect which is leaking not the membrane failing. Stitching or machining holes causes the membrane bootie to not be water tight.

I had an asolo boot that leaked like your keen one. I didn't return it but I was switching to fell shoes without a membrane so just ditched them or kept for dry weather. Looking online I found out the make and model had this leaking membrane issue. The retailer I spoke to said it was not the membrane failing but the model of boot had manufacturing faults at a high rate of defects.

So as I see it you can go to retailer, send it to Keen for testing or follow their test protocol. Take your pick or don't get a refund / replacement.

pwa
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Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby pwa » 12 Jun 2019, 8:33pm

A static test seems unsuitable for an article that bends in use, as the bending may affect water ingress. I suppose they are trying to eliminate the possibility that you are some numpty who allows water to trickle down off wet legs and blames the boots for ending up damp inside. Clearly you are not that, but that is probably what they are trying to discount.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Jun 2019, 8:34pm

I know nothing about testing boots, but filming a test with modern technology seems better than posting them to Europe, especially if they were to get funny and refuse your claim and expect you to pay for the carriage back to you. Loss adjusters and the like use digital photography and video. Or it could be part of an eventual fob off.

FWIW, the only leak testing of apparel I can think of is for Goretex. AIUI, there are so many claims for leakage when it's actually condensation that some retailers have a machine which usually demonstrated that the fabric is impermeable. Older readers may remember my DIY version with a colander, but that's useless in your predicament. Come to think of it, they may be hoping to demonstrate that the cause of your wet feet is condensation. Good luck with this and sorry I can't be more helpful.

BTW, is the source of your advice to make a claim well-informed? I wrongly assumed it might be the retailer.

PS The coalition govt scrapped a lot of the local trading standards service and with it the website for consumers. Your local trading standards may still be able to advise. This is the govt's advice for retailers:

https://www.gov.uk/accepting-returns-and-giving-refunds
Last edited by thirdcrank on 12 Jun 2019, 8:40pm, edited 1 time in total.

slowster
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Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby slowster » 12 Jun 2019, 8:36pm

I suspect that some of the boots which are returned to Keen as faulty due to the boot leaking are due to other causes. For example I can well imagine that some people complain that their boots leak, when the water is getting into the boot because their overtrousers do not provide adequate protection, e.g. they are not long enough and a gap opens up between the bottom of the overtrousers and the top of the boots during the stride. So they have presumably settled on this test as a conclusive way of confirming that the membrane has failed.

I belong to the camp that will not buy a membrane boot given the relatively short warranty and the fact that I find them uncomfortably sweaty in warmer weather.

Bonefishblues
Posts: 6348
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby Bonefishblues » 12 Jun 2019, 8:40pm

I bought them from Keen. Direct. They are well within the warranty period, I've already quoted my order and they have accepted this.

How can they be anything other than detective?

ETA
Pwa I agree, I don't think that their test is in any way representative.

ETFA
In my photo montage I was careful to show that the top of my socks was bone dry.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby thirdcrank » 12 Jun 2019, 8:45pm

I can understand your frustration but I cannot see what you might do to compel them to act. I fancy your only formal redress would be a small claim and they might defend it by saying they had asked you to perform a simple test. I've no idea of the likely outcome.

Tangled Metal
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Joined: 13 Feb 2015, 8:32pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby Tangled Metal » 12 Jun 2019, 8:47pm

Unfortunately their rules for their warranty system. So if they're the retailer too your choice is so the test and hope it proves they are faulty (depending on mode of failure could work) or send off so they can test it properly.

I'd try their test and see what happens. If it shows a leak then send off the photographs if not then thoroughly dry out and send it to them. They'll probably find out what the cause of leaking is. Also, they might refund your costs to send it to them as well. Anything else won't get you any resolution.

pete75
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Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: Walking boots - warranty claim query

Postby pete75 » 12 Jun 2019, 8:58pm

They say "Because this is about a potential leaking boot we’d like to do a little waterproof test. To avoid needless shipments we’d like to ask you to do this simple waterproof test yourself at home and test if the KEEN.Dry membrane works:" and that gives the impression that if the boots fail the test they'll send you anew pair without you having to send the old ones back. The test seems easy and simple to perform. It's not unreasonable so why not just do it? I suspect the alternative is post the boots back to them and they'll do the same test. By doing it yourself you'll get a new pair of boots more quickly.