Steve Madden Backorders Wrong Shoes, Throws Them In A Bag

Cora just wanted to order eight pair of identical shoes from Steve Madden for her wedding. Unfortunately, she made the mistake of ordering those shoes directly from the company. Half of the shoes were on backorder. Upon receiving the shoes and discovering that they wouldn’t fit the respective bridesmaids they were ordered for, Cora learned that Steve Madden would charge a $7 restocking fee per pair.

She wrote about the shoe disaster on her wedding blog:

I ordered 8 pair of the Anjelica shoe from Steve Madden. After successfully placing my order, I got an email a few days later saying that four of the pairs of shoes were not available and that the remaining 4 would be sent in separate shipments.

Let’s back up here for a minute.

First of all, why would they sell me shoes that they don’t have available?

Second of all, why are they sending 4 pair of shoes in separate shipments?

When the four pair of shoes all arrived (at different times mind you), instead of being in brown shipping boxes, the shoeboxes were shipped in plastic bags.

Yes that’s right, the same bags you would send clothing in. Now, how Steve Madden determined that these flimsy plastic bags would be sturdy enough to ship cardboard shoeboxes is beyond me.

While trying to straighten this situation out, she learned that the reason her shoes were backordered is that updates its online inventory once per day. That’s right, a presumably busy e-commerce site can’t be bothered to keep its inventory current and prevent customers from having to wait for their backordered footwear to show up in a flimsy plastic bag.

After arguing with various company representatives about the situation, Cora has given up and is looking to the blogosphere for ideas. Personally, I think that some Steve Madden executives would love to hear about how these pricey shoes are being shipped. Fits in nicely with the brand image, don’t you think?

Barring that, any readers wear a women’s size 7.5 or 10 and need some cute, never-worn shoes?

Steve Madden Anjelica Shoes – FAIL
[12k Wedding Blog]
Anjeiica [Steve Madden]


Edit Your Comment

  1. jeteplumererie says:

    eight bridesmaids? that seems like a lot.

  2. hills says:

    If the $7 restocking fee was disclosed when purchasing, and she’s returning because they didn’t fit, then that’s fair. If she’s returning them because they were all sent at different times then I suppose that’s not fair IF she wasn’t able to cancel the order upon learning (days later) that half were backordered.

    Either way, shipping shoe boxes in plastic bags is not cool.

    Guess Zappos didn’t have these shoes?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @hillsrovey: I just looked and nope, Zappos doesn’t have them. Neither Endless nor have them.

    • CumaeanSibyl says:

      @hillsrovey: Nope, I checked — was looking to see if they had fit information.

    • CorporateTool says:

      @hillsrovey: The issue is that she needs 8 pairs, and ordered 8, but they only have 4 (and then sent them in such a way as to damage those). Now if she wants matching shoes for the wedding she is SOL.

      And if she wants to return these, they will charge her for it.

  3. Spaceman Bill Leah says:

    A few sisters on each side, high school best friends, college best friends… you get into the more bridesmaids than you can count on one hand situation pretty quickly.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Spaceman Bill Leah: I ran into a similar situation. I had a few friends I wanted to be bridesmaids, and Mr. Pi’s sister, and before I knew it, my list had grown too big to sustain. I ended up picking only a few of my closest friends.

  4. Kelly Lum says:

    Holy crap, matching shoes? Really awesome that she bought them for her bridesmaids, though. My friend insisted on a dress style that only ran in certain sizes, the smallest being 4 sizes too large for me. I ended up spending twice the cost of the dress in alterations.

    • calquist says:

      @Kelly Lum: If she is buying them, then go for it, but if I was required to pay for matching shoes, I would be peeved.

      • Kelly Lum says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: See, that is what she said she was GOING to do, because I am skinny, another was super big busted, and the other was really overweight, so no matter what, someone was going to lose. I don’t know why she decided that we just HAD to have identical dresses when we were all so different looking anyway.

        What’s funny is she’s the same size as I am, so you’d think she’d understand that getting a size 6 dress down to a size 2 isn’t exactly easy or cheap.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @Kelly Lum: Aw I hate it when people go back on their word. I learned to just go with the flow, cause when it came down to shoes, I told my bridesmaids “silver, that’s all I request. Formal, silver shoes” and I didn’t care if they were $15 at Payless or $400, as long as they looked nice and they were suitable for the length of the dress. I had more important things to deal with, you know? Like wedding cake tasting!

          • coolteamblt says:

            @Kelly Lum: For my wedding last spring I did ask my ladies to wear matching dresses, but I only had my maid of honor and one bridesmaid who had the exact same measurements, and they were $50 sundresses from Macy’s. My sister (MoH) has been wearing hers all this summer. I did let them wear whatever white sandals and hairstyles they wanted, though.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Kelly Lum: I let my bridesmaids pick from a few styles that I liked that would flatter different body types. One of the dresses even had a little hidden pocket, so we stashed a pack of mints in there.

    • TheWillow says:

      @Kelly Lum: My friend let us vote on a few different options… the dress just arrived and it not only fits me, but I’m actually legitimately planning on wearing it again (to another wedding in a few months). Who knew that actually happened?

      • Etoiles says:

        @TheWillow: One of my best friends is wearing, to my wedding, the dress that she had HER bridesmaids get for her wedding a year ago, hehe. (I said “anything blue, I don’t care beyond that” and she had her crew in light-blue knee-length dresses.) It’s a funny way to get actual re-use out of it.

    • takes_so_little says:

      @Kelly Lum: Sometimes you put up with some shit in order to be a good friend.

  5. jeteplumererie says:

    sorry, I know that is not relevant. I have had awful experience with online shopping in the last 2 months- companies are using USPS for shipping more than FedEx or UPS, and they all have the voice automated customer service so you can’t straighten things out.
    online shopping is supposed to be more convenient! now it seems it’s better go go to an actual store.

    cute shoes though. any in size 6.5?

    • Kelly Lum says:

      @jeteplumererie: I actually kind of prefer USPS, because at the very least the mailman has the keys to my building, so he can leave the box by my door. With UPS and FedEx I have to beg them to leave it in the lobby.

      Have you tried calling your local post office? Usually they’re better at sorting things out then on the national side. They’ve always been able to get me in touch with a human.

      • AlexTNOA says:

        @Kelly Lum:

        You obviously don’t live in Chicago. :-)

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @AlexTNOA: I was going to say, I try to never let anyone near my door. It’s unavoidable right now, since I actually do have a door facing the street. But I’m moving to a high rise apartment soon and I’m definitely not letting anyone go inside the building and leave a box at my door…which wouldn’t work anyway, since my building doesn’t let delivery people beyond the lobby.

  6. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Do they run small? I can wear a 9.5 or 10 in formal shoes, depending.

  7. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Wrong shoes? The title makes me think they sent the wrong shoes out, or wrong sizes, but it seems like they were the right shoes that just didn’t fit. Considering it’s a shoe company, probably dealing with MANY returns for shoes not fitting, a restocking fee seems fair.

    As for the shipping, while it may not look nice, it sounds like all 4 pairs got there safe.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @AlteredBeast: Yes, but she ordered eight, and as such her order is incomplete. When she placed her order, it said all eight pairs were in stock, and presumably she would not have ordered all of the shoes if it weren’t for the fact that all the sizes she needed were in stock.

      Now she’s stuck with only part of an order, and she’s being forced to either return the pairs she has and deal with a restocking fee, or wait for the rest of the shoes to ship (which puts her in limbo, considering she has a deadline).

      • jimv2000 says:


        “and then sent them in such a way as to damage those”

        She didn’t mention anything about damage. These are shoes, IN A BOX…I don’t see how that’s unsafe.

        • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

          @jimv2000: Even the end of the article jokes that cute, never worn shoes are available. No mention of damage. Just poor choice (in the customers opinion) in shipping method. Again, they seemed to arrive safe, and if shipping in such a way caused damage, I’d think they’d stop that method.

          Also, it’s not an issue of the shoes being out of stock. She could have probably canceled her order when first notified that some pairs would ship seperately. If she did, this would be a different issue.

          But she got the shoes. Not shipped how she’d like them shipped (but no damage) and not when she wanted them (yet she was notified of this prior to shipping).

          It seems like the ONLY real issue is returning them because the didn’t fit.

          Unless I am missing something, it’s not like she ordered the shoes, and didn’t get them all to her surprise. She could have canceled it all before when she was first told it wasn’t all in stock. If they said “NO”, then there is a consumerist issue.

  8. HungryTuna says:

    Updating online inventory once per day is quite common. There is much we don’t know about Steve Madden’s operation (Number of fulfillment centers, whether or not they Fill from physical stores, etc..)

    The costs associated with maintaining an up-to-the minute inventory can easily exceed the costs associated with disappointing a customer. I believe that Online portals only have to maintain a 95% ship rate to fulfill the FTC requirement.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @HungryTuna: I ordered a pair of shoes from Endless a few weeks ago and it said there were only five pairs left in the size and color I wanted. After I placed the order, I wanted to show a friend the shoes so I went back to the page and saw that the page had been updated to say that only four pairs were left. So whether it’s just for show or not, I don’t know, but some companies are capable of showing people how many they have left.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @HungryTuna: Yeah, I run into this sort of thing a lot. One of the even more annoying issues is when ordering from a car / bike supplier that uses the manufacturer parts fiche that displays prices for everything without any indication as to whether that part is still available or not (many vintage vehicles have parts that are out of production and unavailable new). The standard treatment I’ve gotten is that the parts supplier will send out the parts that are available and just not charge for the parts that are not available. Nothing like trying to finish a job with only half the parts you ordered

  9. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Three words: Quickie Vegas wedding.

    • frodoUnderhill says:

      @Quake ‘n’ Shake: Better yet, Jamaica Wedding- when you stay at any of the resorts for a week or more, they will do the wedding for free. Thats what we did and it was beautiful! No worries mon :)

  10. Michael Belisle says:

    There’s some shared responsibility here (Steve Madden didn’t send all of the shoes, but she also ordered the wrong sizes), so I’d think a compromise might be fair, like paying one restocking fee (which includes a shipping label) and shipping the shoes back in one shipment. Just because Mr. Madden shipped them out separately doesn’t mean they need to go back separately too.

    Looks like a pretty crappy place to order shoes online. No exchanges and a $7 restocking fee? I’ll pass.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Michael Belisle: Well it doesn’t say she ordered the wrong sizes, just that the shoes didn’t fit. Feet aren’t all the same. I can tell you my shoe size, but I bet you can find a ton of shoes that wouldn’t actually fit me properly. I wear a different size in flats than I do in pumps as well. A lot of women are like this.

      • Michael Belisle says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: My basis for that statement comes from the full post, which makes it sound like someone made a mistake (as it was discovered before the shoes arrived):

        Between the time I ordered the shoes and the time they arrived, we discovered that neither of my girls who I ordered the 10 for would be able to fit them. I had ordered one of the 7.5s as an extra size because a few people were in between sizes.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @Michael Belisle: I see, I see. In that case…I would’ve skipped Steve Madden’s shady practices and ordered all of my shoes from Zappos. But that’s beside the point. Mistake or not, I think that she shouldn’t have to pay a restocking fee because Steve Madden still has the other four pairs of shoes hostage. She needs to get that part of the order canceled ASAP.

          There’s no point to her getting the shoes unless she actually still wants them. And I doubt she really wants to work with a company like this again anyway.

      • Michael Belisle says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Besides, it doesn’t really matter if she ordered the wrong size or Madden’s 10 wasn’t the 10 she was expecting. The restocking fee applies absolutely, regardless of the reason for the return.

        I didn’t find anything in their policies about backorders or partial shipments, so some negotiation and escalation should be able to achieve something fair.

  11. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    1. The title implies that Steve Madden made a mistake by sending the wrong sizes or styles, but I don’t see any indication that they sent something that was not what she ordered. Could someone show me where it says that?
    2. She says “I clicked to chat with a Steve Madden representative online to explain find out what I had to do return the remaining three pair. We’ll just call her Jane. She sent me a return authorization email, but said that I’d have to pay a $6.95 restocking fee per item.

    Whoa whoa whoa. Why should I be penalized when Steve Madden misrepresented their available inventory online?”

    I don’t understand how she can blame her ordering the wrong sizes on their inventory not being up to date.

    3. The daily updating inventory is a compromise companies sometimes have to make for technical reasons. We don’t know why it is the way that it is, but we can be pretty sure that Steve Madden would prefer to have instantly updated inventory.

    4. She has a point on the boxes, though as long as the shoes were in good condition I think it’s kind of a petty complaint.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:


      I probably would have canceled the whole order after seeing that they were backordered if I needed them quickly

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: Michael Belisle (see further upthread) pointed out that on the blog where the post originated (the OP’s wedding blog) she mentioned that she made a mistake in ordering. Steve Madden did send the wrong size, but it was because she ordered the wrong size, I think. But that has less to do with the fact that Steve Madden reported that these sizes were in stock, when in fact, they weren’t.

      According to the company, she’s required to pay the restocking fee for the shoes that were in stock, not the ones that weren’t – presumably, however, once she received those and wanted to return them, she would be subject to a restocking fee, which is why she should escalate the matter.

      • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

        @pecan 3.14159265:
        Re: restocking fees –
        She said she only wanted to return the three pairs that didn’t fit, that’s why it struck me as odd that she thought the inventory mistake should nullify the restocking fees. If she had to return the shoes because Steve Madden couldn’t fill the whole order, then she shouldn’t have to pay restocking fees. If she had to return the shoes because she ordered the wrong size (which appears to be the case) then the restocking fee is justified (though should probably be waived if she returns for an exchange rather than a refund).

    • nakedscience says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: “She has a point on the boxes, though as long as the shoes were in good condition I think it’s kind of a petty complaint. “

      LOL, what. She has a point … but it’s petty? No. She got lucky that they weren’t damaged. But she still has 4 other shoes.

      • Cant_stop_the_rock says:


        Yes, I’m saying she makes a good point about the shoes being inadequately protected when shipped, but because only the boxes were damaged I think she’s being petty. I understand that some people like to save the boxes for storage, but a broken box is not that big a deal.

  12. jimv2000 says:

    Call me ignorant, but if you ordered the wrong size shoe, you should expect a restocking fee. It’s not the retailers problem. Also, why should they put the shoe box in another box to ship it? Seems like a bag would be just fine, since the shoes are in a box anyway. She didn’t say anything about any damage.

    • nakedscience says:

      @jimv2000: Dude. Learn to read. No one ordered the wrong size shoe. They just didn’t fit. That happens a LOT with shoes, especially with women’s shoes.

      A bag is not just fine. She got lucky there was no damage, but what if something had gone wrong?

      • redrover189 says:

        @nakedscience: Actually, that’s pretty much the definition of “ordering the wrong size”. Whether it’s because you clicked the wrong number on the order form or because a 7.5 or 10 in a high heel doesn’t fit your foot, this constitutes “ordering the wrong size”.

        She clearly states as well that for the 7.5s, she ordered a couple of pairs because some of the bridesmaids weren’t sure which size they would be (understandable – I wear a size 7.5 in flat shoes and a size 8.5 in strappy heels).

        As much of a bummer as size differences between brands and styles is, it’s still a matter of you purchased a size of shoe that, for whatever reason, did not fit. Thus you are held accountable to the restocking fee.

      • Cant_stop_the_rock says:


        If the shoes had been damaged, then the company would need to replace them.

        • redrover189 says:

          @Cant_stop_the_rock: And that’s the thing – they weren’t damaged. I understand that some people like to keep the boxes, but I definitely don’t mind that they ship in plastic bags, as long as the items aren’t damaged. We reuse those bags (for cleaning up after the pets – it sounds really weird and uptight, but little dogs make a lot of poop and we need all the bags we can get) and it feels like less waste in the long run.

    • zombie_batch says:

      @jimv2000: Why should they put the shoe box inside another shoe box, you ask?

      So then we could have a separate article: “Stupid Shipping Gang: Steve Madden”

  13. Szymon Krasucki says:

    Has she tried to contact Andrew, the VP listed on their site: []

    I contacted him for an issue I had with my issues and he quickly resolved it to my satisfaction.

  14. Ronin-Democrat says:

    Pay the 28 bucks and end this saga.
    when a retailer disappoints and then refuses/can’t/won’t/doesn’t know how to help you drop them.
    there are plenty of pretty shoes out there I’m sure so you get all 8 ladies together shop and then do some girls night out thing.

    problem solved.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      @Ronin-Democrat: After thinking about it, I agree. She’s planning a $12,000 wedding and probably has bigger fish to fry than haggling over $28 (0.2% of the total budget) restocking fee.

  15. Taint_Too_Proud_To_Beg says:

    I’ve bought shoes from different retailers over the years and have NEVER been asked to pay a restocking fee when returning them. Electronics, yes, but shoes? Never.

  16. Nik in Denver, formerly in NOLA says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but other than the missing box lid I’m not seeing the problem with the shipping. I basically have to order shoes online (size 16), and its standard operating procedure for basically everyone to just throw the shoebox into that plastic mailing bag. Maybe its because I’m ordering giant shoes, but I was under the assumption that most shoes were shipped online that way.

    • Blufyor says:

      @Nik in NOLA: I’ve received my shoes in a larger protective box from: Zappos,, Endless (and regular, Planet Shoes, Online Shoes, direct from several manufacturers’ websites, etc. I think the only time I received shoes from online that were wrapped rather than put in a larger box was from Sheplers, and those were boots in a box that was sturdier than your typical women’s shoebox.

      In one case, a site sent the shoes via FedEx ground that got manhandled on the way to my house, and they would have been trashed if they hadn’t been inside the corrugated cardboard box (and after all that, I had to return the shoes because they were too short!). The rest of the time, I personally like boxes because it makes doing returns easier if the shoes don’t fit, since you only need to peel off the old labels and re-seal the box with some tape.

  17. Claremole says:

    She needed eight pairs of matching shoes. Because she could get only four pairs, those four pairs are useless. That’s why she should be able to return them without a restocking fee.

    Yes, three of the four pairs happened to be the wrong size, and that would not ORDINARILY be a sound reason for a return (at least, without a restocking fee). However, even if the shoes had been the right sizes, she would still have had to return them.

    Close call, but I say she’s right to be ticked.

  18. tremorviolet says:

    I’m late to the party but Steve Madden as a company has some pretty shady ethics. Most of their shoes are cheaply made knock-offs of upscale designer shoes. More than once I’ve got them posting shoes for pre-order using pics stolen from other online retailers (such as Neiman Marcus, Saks, Barneys, etc.). When called on it, they’ve replaced the stolen pic with a computer render. Nothing about this post surprises me.

  19. Winteridge2 says:

    You want matching shoes? I once found a sandal I liked on display at Kohl’s, and marked down to half price. However, the salesperson was unable to find a matching sandal. He said that was probably the reason it was 1/2 price. (Well, I thought it was funny…later).