My Hush Puppy Customer Service Story

I have an interesting story about shoes that might not be indicative of blogging about marketing ideas, but certainly is about customer service and pride of product. 

For the longest time, I have been in love with Hush Puppy dress shoes. I wear them almost day and night and despite loving the product so much almost dropped buying the product all together because of a bad experience.When I bought my last pair of Hush Puppies about a year before my problem occurred in 2004, I told everyone. It was their most expensive shoe and I was ecstatic with their new technology, which put a cushion of air under your heel. I talked about them on the plane, at seminars, to family and friends…to absolutely everyone. They looked good and felt even better. I gave Hush Puppies so much free advertising some might have accused me of being on their payroll, I assure you I wasn’t and am not currently.

A little over a year after buying the shoes, I one day realized…hey, my feet aren’t so comfy anymore. I took off my shoe and took a look inside. In both shoes, the air cushion had collapsed and a crater had developed under each heel. I’m hard on my shoes but not that hard, and I’m not even a heavy guy. So, I was disappointed but figured it wouldn’t be a problem, just take them back and get a new pair…right? Not that easy after all.The store indicated that they only can return Hush Puppy product with in one year of purchase and you must produce a receipt, which was OK as I still had it. Strike one. I figured OK, if I contact Hush Puppies directly, they would surely recognize a manufacturing default and pony up a new pair of Puppies. Nope…after contacting Customer Service via email their response was simply to shrug me off stating that they only provide a one-year warranty on all their products. In other words, we don’t care that their may be a manufacturing default and you are out of luck. I guess some people may have stopped trying at this point, but I wanted my Puppies repaired or replaced, and I wasn’t taking no for an answer.In the mean time, I had purchased a new pair of stylish, yet comfortable jet black, slide on Rockports. They were surprisingly comfortable, but not my dear Hush Puppies. With the shoebox that my new Rockports came in, I boxed up my old Hush Puppies and shipped them to the office of the CEO of Hush Puppies, with a letter letting them know how I felt.

One of two things is going though your mind. He’s crazy … well, just a little, or brilliant. I really don’t think either are holey appropriate. The fact is Hush Puppies had a choice, they can either stand behind their product or they can leave their customer hanging, in a highly competitive market.

What did they do?

About three weeks after sending my shoes off, at the whopping cost of about eight bucks, my wife received a call from the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Hush Puppies. I happened to be on a business trip at the time but Tanya indicated that she knew why they were calling. The lady politely asked Tanya if she thought Lee would mind waiting about a month, until their new line of shoes came out, and they would ship me a brand new pair. Whoo…hooo…success! Tanya said that would be fine and that she would pass on the message to me. Tanya called me pretty much immediately after getting off the phone, as to date we have had quite a few laughs over the Hush Puppy incident.

I was elated that in the end I succeeded at achieving my goal, but was still upset that it took such great lengths to get satisfaction. This was not a case of a miser seeking a freebie, as I always believe in paying fair prices for quality; their product obviously had an “alleged” manufacturing default. Maybe it was limited to all the shoes produced on New Years Eve, who knows and who really cares.

The morale of the story is stand behind your product or service and your loyal customers will take care of you. If you don’t, they will abandon you faster than you did them.

  • WHAT?

    Wow. I know you keep saying you are not cheap but this is rediculous. I work in shoes and there is nothing more disgusting and embarassing than when someone returns a used pair of shoes. If this was a manufacturing defect, it would take less than a year for it to appear. Congratulations on fooling someone into giving you a new pair of shoes. I see this as theft and you clearly stole from that company. This is what is wrong with people. They think things should last for a lifetime and if it lasts less than 25 years, send it back. Cheap.

  • http://www.leeraito.com leeraito

    Hi Sherry,

    We are all entitled to an opinion. Sorry that you missed the point of the story, and make assumptions that I am not telling the truth.

    In my humble opinion, you should learn to laugh a little. Oh, and I’m thinking of returning my hiking boots that I bought 14 years ago… how do you like them apples?

    Thanks,
    Lee

  • Bulgarian

    How about a pair of new hush puppies boots with the leather coming off the sole because of insufficient gluing i only 40 day after the purchase and less than a week of actual use? :( I am having this problem right now. Took them to the dealer’s, they had them repaired (glued) TWICE and still after a couple of week’s use I am back again with the leather part coming off the sole. The dealers refused to do anything more with them, waiving any liability, as the 30-days warranty had expired before the date I found the problem. BTW 30 day of warranty is the state-defined minimum for shoes warranty in my country – Bulgaria. One would presume that quality footware (as Hush Puppies are alleged to be)would have to stand much longer before trouble comes along
    Do you, guys, think that this is is normal and the attitude a Hush Puppies buyer should meet form the dealer is acceptable? I am currently trying to find the e-mail address of the Customer Support Centre for my region to pass on my complaint. Would be more than happy if someone could help me with this.

  • http://www.leeraito.com Lee

    Hello Bulgarian (feel weird calling you that),

    30 day warranty is horrific.

    Try contacting the US folks and see if they can’t point you in the right direction.

    http://www.hushpuppies.com/US/en-US/General/Contact.aspx

    Telephone
    1-866-699-7365

    Thanks again for your comment, and good luck! If all else fails… package up those Hush Puppies and mail them back.

    Cheers,
    Lee

  • Ritlinmad

    Hey, I have a pair of defective hush puppies too. How can I send them to the company. Both toe boxes on both feet collapsed. The first within one year, the other in the second year. I'm not impressed. Let me know thanks Rita ritlinmad@rogers.com

  • http://www.leeraito.com Lee Raito

    Sorry for the delayed response Mark. Assuming you are in the USA the Hush Puppies Customer Service number is 1-866-699-7365. Give them a shout and let me know how they treat you!

  • http://www.leeraito.com Lee Raito

    Sorry for the delayed response. Assuming you are in the USA the Hush Puppies Customer Service number is 1-866-699-7365 or Canada 1-800-567-4874. Give them a shout and let me know if you get satisfaction.

  • Mlefirst

    Hello I have just found your page and read your Hush Puppy story, I am in the middle of trying to get someone to even reply to my enquiry regarding a contact email to allow me to send photographs of my husbands disintegrated Hush Puppies – It’s quite a funny story which I’m really keen to share with the Hush Puppy boffins in white coats and of course find out why my husbands shoes (rubber soles & heels) turned into a pile of crumbling lumps and dust while having dinner at one of our favourite and highly respected Hotels (a short walk only thank goodness!)I have now sent my second request for a reply and will give them just under one week to respond or I am boxing them up and sending them on a long trip across the pond (based in Scotland UK.) So If you still have the CO’s direct address I would be pleased if you can add it here. Thank you. Mary

  • http://www.leeraito.com Lee Raito

    Hi Mary,

    Sorry. It was so long ago that I don’t have the contact info anymore. Hope you find resolve from the HP white coats :)

  • Kamran Zafar

    With Due Respect Sir I have Bought a Shoe From one of your Branch of Hush puppies in Multan , Pakistan . I Lost the Bill.

    The Sole of the Shoe is totally Finish with in one month. I said them to change my Shoe but they are refusing and saying that show your Bill.

    I m having the Shoe of Hush puppies. Whose Sole is totally damage and unable to wear and why You are Not Changing it ?

    Please Reply me as Soon As possible.

    I will be very Thankful to you If u will Help me for changing my shoe

    Regards,

    Kamran Zafar

    +923008780971