Remove Dangerous M&S slippers from store shelves

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M&S have been selling slippers which caused a serious accident for one wearer the very first time they were worn, going downstairs in her home. The store must employ more stringent Health and Safety procedures after it was discovered that 39% of reviews of this particular slipper, on their UK website, were negative, citing the same problem the purchaser experienced although she was unaware of the reviews at the time of purchase.

Vasantha Narayanswami  bought the slippers from her local M&S store in Camberley, Surrey on March 29th 2017. She had never purchased slippers from M&S prior to this occasion and has never had an accident wearing shoes, slippers or any other type of footwear in her life. On the very first occasion of wearing the slippers on April 3rd 2017 at 7.45am, walking downstairs slowly in her home, halfway down the stairs Miss Narayanswami felt her left foot slip sideways suddenly in the Wedge Heel mule slipper. As her foot twisted sideways due to the fabric upper suddenly bending over and giving way, she heard a loud "SNAP" and fell down the stairs because of the searing pain, passing out at the same time. She was unconscious for sometime at the bottom of the staircase and sustained a head injury causing deafness in her left ear, resulting in permanent tinnitus, and what was thought to be a hairline fracture turned out to be far worse. The front of her ankle bone (Talus) was broken off completely ( one large piece of bone and numerous smaller bits) and the muscles in her foot were ripped off. She also sustained whiplash in her neck causing nerve problems in both hands and wrists to date, damage to her left eye and severe trauma, vertigo and daily headache syndrome which she still has 6 months after the accident. The slipper had a 3 1/2 inch dent in the side where the upper had twisted over, sideways.

Miss Narayanswami was unable to walk without crutches and had to wear a fracture boot for 5 months. Being unable to walk, drive or work, she lost her all her work as she is self employed and is unlikely to recover financially for many months. She was unaware of the negative reviews about the slipper until 5 months after the accident when she was discussing the matter with her local Trading Standards officer. M&S refused to publish her review of the slippers ( in which she cited them as dangerous) on two occasions without providing any reason for their decision.

Complaints about the slipper are all the same, citing that the satin insole was slippery (after the purchasers had bought them although this was not noticeable at the point of purchase), the fabric upper does not provide support for the wearer's foot as it leaves a gap on either side which is also not evident at point of purchase, the solid plastic sole provides no protection against friction or twisting as it provides no flexibility when impacted. No health warnings were attached to the product.

On returning the slipper to the store 5 months later, as she was unable to drive, a customer services assistant looked at the slipper and said "You do NOT want those slippers, they are dangerous!" Miss Narayanswami made a secret video of the same assistant 2 days later confirming what she had said. 

M&S has refused to take their Risk assessment of the slipper further (request made in April 2017) and has refused Miss Narayanswami's request for the slippers to be removed from their shelves on the basis that more accidents may occur due to poor design and quality of fabrics used in the manufacture of the product. M&S has refused to refund the cost of the slippers or pay compensation for the injuries and losses incurred.

Together with Miss Narayanswami's review, the negative reviews totalled 46% at the end of July 2017 which Surrey/Bucks Trading Standards advised her was far too high and a cause for concern. Miss Narayanswami has since been contacted by other members of the public who have experienced the same problems not only with similar slippers but also M&S men's indoor slippers with the same silky insole. None of these people had reported the problems to M&S as they did not believe they had any right to do so as the problems  became more apparent some time after purchase.

 

Miss Narayanswami is a former employee of M&S having worked for them after leaving college in the 1980s and then in 2000 at her local branch when she had recovered from a  long term illness after being unable to work for a long period of time. She says "M&S was a wonderful store to work for at that time and always looked after staff and customers incredibly well. As a student I knew THE place to work was M&S..No other store could match their standards at that time!" . However, she is appalled that no-one from M&S has made any attempt whatsoever to find out how she is, either by phone or by visiting her, which is not much to ask. This is an appalling lack of concern for former employees  and customers!

I would like this product to be removed from all M&S shelves, full investigations carried out into their Health and Safety procedures and M&S to compensate fully for the losses incurred. I am calling on the Government to insist that negative reviews of products be published on department store websites as failure to do so is a deliberate and wilful act on the part of the store to withhold information from the public.

 



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