What's The Diff?

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Great Customer Service from Chaco

By Kathy Fawcett

Okay, Chaco is The DIFF. If you read my May 23rd entry on the strangulation of my big toe, you’ll recall that I was undecided on my course of action, but thought I’d loop Chaco in on the decision. Here is the email I sent:

To: INFO at ChacoSubject: my new Chaco sandalsOuch!Last summer I watched my husband adjust his Chaco sandals often, making them perfect. He swears by his, but said the straps are hard to move. Still, he loves his. This spring I bought a pair in Holland, Michigan (three hours from home). 

We noted that the straps were easier to adjust. But that’s the problem, they fit great for about 20 seconds, then the straps slide and tighten while I walk, eventually strangling my big toe. I have already worn them outside, and if I keep the straps loose, they don’t tighten as much, but then they are glorified flip flops.What do you suggest?

And here is their make-me-really-happy reply:

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for your E-mail.  

You are not the only one with this problem. The problem comes from a coating (Nikwax) that they treat the straps with.  Without this treatment the straps would not slide at all, unfortunately, sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.  We recommend a cleaning product called Simple Green, which you should be able to buy at a local store.  Pull the straps of your sandals to expose the strap that is normally under your toe.  You want to saturate the straps with Simple Green. Let it sit for a while and then throw your sandals in the washer with dark clothes and let them air dry. If you don’t want to purchase Simple Green, regular washing with laundry detergent should help some, but may not be as effective.  This should remove the excess Nikwax and hopefully stop the straps from slipping.If this doesn't help, let us know and we will try to get you a pair that works better for you.

Best wishes,

Diane PerryCustomer Serviceperry@chacousa.com

The Simple Green worked like a charm. Thank you, Chaco!

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  1. I noticed that Chaco customer service wrote, “The problem comes from a coating (Nikwax) that they treat the straps with.” My question: who’s “they?”
    Sounds like Chaco gave you a good tip to make your sandals more wearable, but since you spent a pretty penny on purchasing them in the first place, shouldn’t they be wearable right away? I would be more impressed if “they” took ownership for their product and offered a refund, a future discount or something that would show that the company isn’t pleased with your experience and intend to improve the product so you and future customers can actually wear a product that has the sole purpose of being worn.

    Posted by: Peppermint Patty | June 5, 2007
  2. Yeah, I agree with you, Patty. “Above and beyond” would be exactly what you’re saying. Owning up to it, and some sort of commitment that the product will be changing would be cool.
    A good company is willing to listen and make changes based on what a customer has to say.

    Posted by: Christy | June 5, 2007
  3. If simple green was a requirement for the sandals to be comfortable, hey should have packaged it with them in the first place. Shouldn’t the real props be going to Simple Green? As far as I can see, it’s the only product that delivered what it promised.

    Posted by: Mark | June 5, 2007
  4. Wow, you guys could be right. maybe i was so wowed that they actually wrote a non-formulaic letter that i didn’t focus on the fact that i have to do additional work, and spend additional money to avoid foot pain.

    Posted by: kathy fawcett | June 6, 2007
  5. Tough crowd. They could have just ignored her email too, but they didn’t. Responding with an easily workable solution is above the norm.

    Posted by: Ten Pin Timmy | June 6, 2007
  6. These sandals need the Nikwax for the straps to be moveable. My chacos are already pretty tough to move into different fits, so without this Nikwax, it would be next to impossible.
    I think that Chaco was very helpful. Now, if they had ended the letter to you with, “get Simple Green and all your problems will be gone”, I would be dissapointed. But they nicely said that if that doesn’t work (or if you don’t feel like putting that much effort into it), they will be glad to help you out with a new pair, etc.
    Personally, I am glad for the advice, because my big toe is not a happy camper, lately. Although, I am also to lazy to adjust mine everytime they hurt, and I just deal with it. :)

    Posted by: Holly Fawcett | June 6, 2007
  7. I have been persuaded. Go Chacos!

    Posted by: Mark | June 7, 2007
  8. Wow, this is a tough crowd. I was impressed with the response. They, whoever they are, took ownership of the issue, gave you a solution (yes you had to do some work, but seems easier than packing, shipping, waiting and hoping) and then offered to refund if that didn’t work.
    I would say overall, this made me want to by a pair of these sandals.

    Posted by: Melissa | June 7, 2007
  9. I’m having the same problem with the straps that Kathy did – they tighten with walking and must be adjusted constantly to keep from cutting off circulation. Annoying. While I am happy to know there’s a possible solution, I am peeved that I have to spend more cash (and effort) to make the $90 sandals wearable. Should have gotten Tevas for half the price.

    Posted by: Robin | July 9, 2007
  10. Thanks so much for posting their letter and the solution; I bought (and returned) a pair from REI yesterday, had the exact problem, with the straps cutting off my big toe, then this morning decided to try a style (Wrapsody) without toe straps, but the explanation and remedy you mention make perfect sense. The salesgirl at REI had on her own pair of ANCIENT Chacos, with just the right amount of give, didn’t tighten, etc. and she had mentioned how easy they were to clean… as soon as my new ones get here I’m doing the Simple Green (a great product anyway to have around the house) treatment to “rough up” the straps so they don’t slip. Thanks!

    Posted by: jennifer | June 22, 2009
  11. This is one of the best blogs what i have ever read, it is impressed me very much, thank you for taking your time to sharing this, i want to share it with my friend, they must also love your words, thank you!

    Posted by: coach suitcase | May 12, 2010
  12. This blog post is extremely helpful. I have the same problem with my zongs. The only thing I’m not clear on is what Simple Green product to use—-from their website, there appear to be many!

    Posted by: kmac | May 14, 2010

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Sunday, March 18, 2018