You may remember my son’s torn up pair of Nike tennies. Less than two months old, they were literally falling apart.
As a refresher, some important pieces of information:
- When we purchased the shoes, I asked for the most stable pair of training shoes they had. My son had previously torn through running shoes, so I knew I needed something with more stability.
- The salesman told me to buy the shoes you see pictured above. I later found out they are running shoes, not training shoes.
- I took the shoes back to the Nike store seven weeks after they were purchased and asked them to exchange them for a new pair of shoes. They said sorry, we can’t do anything about this.
I wondered what was the right thing to do: let it go and buy a new pair of shoes or continue with Nike until someone took care of my problem. The suggestions in the comments varied from take it up the ladder at Nike to go buy shoes somewhere else to it’s my fault, life lesson learned, move on.
I decided to try with the store again before I did anything else. A few reasons:
- I didn’t want to send the shoes to Nike for an evaluation and then possibly a new pair of shoes. It would depend on what Nike decides.
- I wanted a quicker resolution than sending to Nike would have taken. The store could take care of it immediately. Who knows how long the mail-in process with Nike would take?
- In my mind, this was a store issue. The salesman took me to the wrong kind of shoe.
I had no luck finding the Nike company contacts in the limited time I had to search.
Right after I went to the store and was rejected for a new pair of shoes, I direct messaged the store through Twitter with a picture of the shoes and asked for help. They responded with “Unfortunately not. If you would like to give us a call at the store, we can explain further.”
I called and was told a Head Coach (store manager) would call me back. No call. I called again, same deal. The third time I called, I was able to talk to Dan, one of the Head Coaches.
I told Dan my story. He knew some of it. At first he was hesitant to help. I politely explained that I wanted to give the store an opportunity to take care of this before I moved on to his boss. I also explained that a young customer, my 13-year-old son, was watching this process. How Nike responded might influence his purchasing decisions later in life (thanks to Joe Reimers’ comment on the original story for this advice). Finally, I told him that regardless of the kind of shoe, I would expect that Nikes would last longer than seven weeks.
Dan was thoughtful, considered all of this, and agreed to take the shoes back. When I went to the store, he was very gracious. Since it was past the 30 days, he gave me a gift card for the full value of the shoes. He also showed me the kind of shoes we should be purchasing for driveway basketball, running around the neighborhood, and other outdoor activities.
A few lessons learned: first, I will be much more conscious of the shoes I buy for an active 13 year old. Next, at Elliott.org we tell you to hang up the phone and get a paper trail going. In the majority of cases, this is the best route. But there will be some cases every now and then where the phone or an in-person conversation can still be effective when you know who you’re dealing with and can be assured of reaching that same person again.
Finally, polite persistence can still work. In your interactions with customer service representatives, be polite, be kind, and be specific about the resolution you want.
This story first appeared June 27, 2015.