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21 May 2021

'My Adidas trainers from Sports Direct didn't turn up - I want my money back'

What can you do when the retailer is the middleman

Do you have an issue you need put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.

Dear Which?,

I ordered three pairs of trainers in March for my two boys for their after-school running club. After I completed the transaction, I noticed that the Adidas trainers I'd ordered were being sent from Adidas directly. If I'd seen that before I probably wouldn't have bought them.

Two of the pairs were delivered, but about two weeks later the Adidas pair still hadn't arrived. I emailed Sports Direct and was told an investigation had been raised and that Adidas would take three to five working days to get back to me.

I then sent a direct message to Sports Direct on Twitter and was told they needed to wait for the courier to confirm the item was lost before issuing a refund. But I'm not interested in the courier - I'm Sports Direct's customer and I haven't got my stuff so I want a refund.

Sports Direct then said in April that Adidas had replied saying the item had been delivered in March, but I told them it hadn't. They wouldn't give me a tracking number when I asked and told me they're unable to process a refund because the order is being dealt with by Adidas directly. They'd need to put in a request for Adidas to process a refund.

I don't need the missing trainers anymore. I've since bought the pair elsewhere as my son needed them urgently for his running club. I just want my money back. Can you help me get a refund, please?

Allie Bywaters

Put to rights

Hannah Downes, consumer rights expert at Which?, says:

It sounds like your recourse to a refund has been more of a marathon than a sprint, Allie. It's no surprise you expected swifter action when dealing with two big brands like Sports Direct and Adidas.

When you order something online, your contract is with the retailer you bought the item from, rather than the courier who is delivering the item, so you were right to get in touch with Sports Direct from the get-go.

Your order must be delivered to you within 30 days of it being placed (unless stated otherwise), after which you can ask for your money back.

The situation with your order does become slightly more complicated as the shoes were delivered by Adidas, rather than Sports Direct.

Even though you might (understandably) expect all orders placed with Sports Direct to come directly from them, the retailer's T&Cs state that some products on its website are sold directly by Adidas or Reebok. Items delivered directly from Adidas may arrive separately from items supplied by Sports Direct.

You'll be told at the checkout if your items are being delivered by Adidas, but this information could easily be missed if you're not expecting to have to check where the shoes are coming from.

In these instances, the contract for sale is between you and Adidas rather than Sports Direct. While this isn't necessarily a problem, it could make things more complicated if something goes wrong with the order or delivery.

For anyone who is thinking of buying from Sports Direct, it's well worth making sure you know who is supplying the products before placing your order.

We contacted Sports Direct but it didn't respond to our request.

Adidas told us it endeavours to be as transparent with its Partner Program model as possible, providing notifications at different touchpoints both pre and post purchase.

It's disappointed with Allie's experience and says that while refunds and customer service are the responsibility of the retailer where the purchase was made, it will connect with Sports Direct to avoid issues arising in the future.

Since we got in touch, Sports Direct has sent Allie a form to request a refund and she's now - finally - on the home stretch to getting her money back.

Need to know

  • Your online orders must be delivered without undue delay and within 30 days under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
  • Make sure you complain to the retailer, not the courier, if your order goes missing. It's the retailer's responsibility to get your items to you.
  • Retailer not responding? You can make a chargeback claim (if you paid by debit card) or a Section 75 claim (if you paid by credit card and the amount is between £100 and £30,000) with your bank.

Get in touch. If you've got a consumer rights problem you need put right, email us at yourstory@which.co.uk

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