Shoe shop is ordered to pay woman €100 over 'smelly sandals'
A woman has won a refund from a shoe shop over a pair of sandals she claimed smelled so bad after being worn that they were unfit for purpose.
Ecco Distributors Ltd at The Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords had refused to refund Rosie Gannon, claiming the €100 shoes had undergone "undue wear and tear" and were "very well worn".
However, ruling in favour of Ms Gannon, Judge Dermot Dempsey told the shop's assist- ant manager that the way Ms Gannon had been treated "was very shabby".
Ms Gannon, of Ardilaun, Portmarnock, said she is delighted "justice has been done" after she won her small claims court case against the shop.
She had told Swords District Court that she bought the sandals last April 9 to wear during a holiday to Canada the following July.
"I didn't wear the sandals until July when I went on holidays," she said.
"After 10 days of wearing them they were emitting a dreadful odour. I couldn't wear them any more."
Ms Gannon said that after she had returned from her holiday, she went back to the shop with the shoes on August 21 and a shop assistant cleaned one of the sandals for her.
"It was better, but I wasn't happy and was referred to a regional manager," said Ms Gannon.
She claimed the regional manager told her the sandals had undergone "undue wear and tear" and a refund could not be offered.
However, Ms Gannon told the court: "I only wore them for 10 days. I was then advised I should have been using an anti-bacterial spray, but the regional manager said I didn't need to, just to wash the sandals with soap and water."
She then said the regional manager offered her a can of the anti-bacterial spray.
"It was an insult - as I was told I didn't need it," she said.
She claimed the sandals were "not of marketable quality and not fit for purpose".
"They are supposed to be durable outdoor sandals," she added.
"The website did not advise how to care for them, and the smell was so bad I couldn't wear them after 10 days."
Ciara Keating, the assistant manager of the Swords store, claimed Ms Gannon brought the sandals to her first.
"They were very well worn and they were not cleaned," said Ms Keating.
"I told the manager straight away who took the sandal and cleaned it to show her how products can be used to clean and maintain them. I couldn't smell anything."
Ms Keating added that there was sand and grass embedded into the Velcro straps on the sandals and said she offered Ms Gannon 50pc off "as a gesture of goodwill", which Ms Gannon did not accept.
When Judge Dempsey pointed out that the issue was the smell of the sandals, Ms Keating replied: "Feet do give off natural sweat odours in a warm climate."
On inspecting the sandals, Judge Dempsey said he did not see how they were "well worn" as the Ecco logo is "clearly visible on the insole".
"They are not well worn," he said.
The judge ruled in favour of Ms Gannon and ordered the shoe shop to refund her €100.
"It is a very shabby way Ecco dealt with Ms Gannon for the sake of €100. It's very shabby to treat customers like this," he added.
Ms Gannon said: "I feel justice has been done. I did feel intimidated by the staff, and it shouldn't have come to this."