the heel on the left is a brand new pair of Manolo Blahnik 'Vitrea' (size 37) that was purchased yesterday from Barneys NY. the heel on the right is the same brand new shoe (size 36.5) that i purchased (also from Barneys), blogged about, and just picked up this weekend from Leather Spa NYC.
earlier last week, i had dropped off my Manolos at Leather Spa on 55th and 5th to get the standard 'new shoe treatment': rubber half-sole and rubber heel tip to protect the delicate leather outsoles and to add traction. pretty simple and basic service from an expert cobbler. i'd gotten this done for numerous heels before. Leather Spa charges $40 for this service. pretty pricey, but since these are Manolos, i figured, better not chance it with anyone other than the self-proclaimed luxury shoe experts, right?
i was so wrong.
when i picked up my shoes this past Saturday, i discovered to my horror that Leather Spa's workmen had cut the heel down without my permission before adding a rubber heel tip.
so now my Manolos are a full 0.25" short, from 2.75"/70mm ... down to 2.5".
left: the size 7 Manolos // right: my size 6.5 pair, serviced by Leather Spa.
you can see that for the size 7 pair on the left, the angle from the bottom of the outsole to the tip of the 2.75" heel is perfectly aligned and rests flat. on my pair on the right, the base of the outsole lifts visibly upward, and the angle is off.
Leather Spa ruined the shoes – turning the perfect stilettos into kitten heels.
i called them as soon as i got home Saturday, and spoke with a guy who, after mocking the veracity of my case, adamantly denied that they would do anything to alter the heel. there was plenty of attitude and after getting the runaround from him on the phone, i was told to come back on Monday to speak with the manager, Josephine.
on Sundays, all the shoe repair shops in town are closed. wanting to be absolutely sure of what had happened, i went to the Manolo Blahnik boutique in midtown yesterday, and the shop associate confirmed that the heels were clearly cut down. just to make doubly sure, i went to Barneys and purchased the same Manolos in a size 7. the Barneys shoe salon associate and i compared both pairs side by side. she was in as much disbelief as i was when it was clear the heels on my 6.5s were significantly shorter. i bought the size 7s to bring in as a sample so there'd be no doubt in how they botched my pair.
i went to Leather Spa again at midday today to speak with the manager to obtain two things:
- a full compensation for the retail cost of the shoes
- a refund on the shoe service charge
- an apology for this entire debacle
i explained that the Manolo Blahnik boutique and Barneys associates confirmed that the heels were altered. i held up the size 7 shoe to explicitly show her the difference between it and my 6.5s.
her response? "i don't care what anyone at Manolo Blahnik or Barneys says." she then proceeded to give me a line of b.s., claiming that, with different sizes of shoes, the heel height would vary. clearly, this makes no sense – so long as the shoe is the same style, a difference in size would only change the length of the shoe, not the height of the heel. after i re-stated the obvious discrepancies, she took my shoes to the back "to check and confirm if the heels were cut."
about ten minutes pass. does it take that long to compare the obvious? she comes back with a different story:
"it's clear that the heels have been cut, but not by us. it's impossible that we would have done this as a mistake. we would never do something that's not requested on the ticket. you were only charged for the rubber half soles and the rubber heel tip, so why would we perform a service that we didn't charge you for? i have no idea what you did with these heels before bringing them to us, but since we would never cut the heels like this, you had them cut before you brought the shoes in."i was stunned. horrified and absolutely floored that she was accusing me of lying, that they would flat-out deny any mistake on their part, and not make any effort to amend the situation.
i asked why wouldn't they just admit they made a mistake and resolve this issue. to which i get the response:
"we never make mistakes like this."i mean, wow.
here's what i think happened: Leather Spa botched the heel when they were adding the rubber tip. then, they cut down the heel to cover up the damage. they give me the shoes back, with the audacity to think that i wouldn't notice. that would explain why, when i confronted them about the botched job, they denied responsibility, then lied, then tried to accuse me of lying.
i left Leather Spa with two bags of expensive shoes that i can't wear, no apology, no refund, no compensation.
i went back to the Manolo Blahnik boutique and spoke with two very kind associates there who are looking into getting in touch with the owners of Leather Spa on my behalf. there is also the possibility of replacing the botched heel with a new heel specially ordered from the Blahnik factory...
so there you have it – you've been warned: this is how Leather Spa chooses to run their farce of a business.
if you have any other ideas for further recourse, please let me know.
update: please share and vote up my Yelp review
update 11/26/12: BBB and DCA aren't able to help. thanks to the support of fellow Yelpers and readers, my formerly filtered Yelp review received 59 helpful votes which resulted in it moving from filtered to the regularly visible list of reviews. however, as of today, my review (see link above) has disappeared again into the filtered section. most of the other filtered reviews are 1) negative, and, like mine, 2) detailed and compelling.
incidentally, Leather Spa's yelp rating has also gone back up due to most of all the negative reviews being docked from view. rottenness all around.