Review: CNF Outdoors (aka Sherwood Leisure)

If you’re reading this blog, then I hope you haven’t bought anything from a company called CNF (www.cnfoutdoors.co.uk). If you haven’t, then don’t. If you have, please read on.  (The business also trades under Sherwoodleisure.co.uk)

After a Google search on a particular make and model of sleeping bag, I purchased a bag from CNF for £79.97 on 9 January 2016 to use the following weekend. I received confirmation emails of my order and payment. Nothing unusual there.

Maybe we’re a bit spoiled with good customer service from reputable outdoor gear retailers but I was expecting a dispatched or shipping confirmation email during the week as the sleeping bag was listed as ‘in stock’ when I bought it.

No dispatch emails arrived and warning bells began to ring, I Googled ‘CNF Outdoors’ and my heart immediately sank with the results. Bad reviews all over the internet of customers being conned, no goods, no refunds, no replies, no nothing. Not good!

I took to Twitter and found more customers who had received nothing either. I decided to email CNF at sales@cnfoutdoors to find out when I could expect to receive the sleeping bag as I hoped to use it that weekend. No replies. I sent another email warning I would go down the Trading Standards route and leave negative reviews if they didn’t reply.

I looked at CNF’s terms and conditions and the delivery schedule was between 2-7 business days. This was day 7 and I hadn’t received anything. Lo and behold, business day 8 and they finally replied and advised they were waiting direct on the manufacturer of the sleeping bag to deliver a new shipment. This was misleading, CNF’s website claimed the item I wanted was in stock. I raised a complaint with the Citizens Advice and I was given a reference number and because CNF is misleading customers about stock levels, there is  potentially a criminal element in the way CNF appears to trade.

I began contacting other disgruntled customers via Social Media and I was finding more and more people who received no communication, goods or refunds. I have urged them all to log complaints with the Citizens Advice, as all information is passed to Trading Standards, giving them vital intelligence on how the trader operates their business.

I decided to contact the manufacturer direct, to see if they had actually received an order on my behalf from CNF. Today they replied and advised they have had several complaints of the same nature about CNF and they would not fulfil any orders from them.

CNF also emailed me today to say my order had been cancelled and I would receive a refund. Hopefully they’re true to their word on the refund.

If you’ve recently been through a similar experience with CNF, then my advice would be:

  1. If you paid by debit card then contact your bank ASAP to see if they’ll do a ‘Charge back’ to claw your money back from CNF Outdoors. You may need to speak to a manager as not all staff are aware of this. I’m with TSB and I spoke with the dispute team.
  2. If you paid by credit card and your purchase was over £100 then you usually claim this back from the credit card company through Section 75. If it was under £100 then the revert to back to the ‘Charge back’ scheme.
  3. Contact Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 or Citizens Advice  to log your dispute with CNF. They will pass on your information to Trading Standards to help build up intelligence about CNF and they way they trade. The more people that do this the better.
  4. Email and or preferably write to CNF Outdoors with a ‘Make time of the essence’ request. See: make time of the essence template letter. If you send it by letter, use recorded delivery. This demands that CNF deliver the goods within 14 days or your money back.
  5. Contact the company direct that makes the product you ordered to see if they have received an order from CNF on your behalf.
  6. Help spread the word about CNF on social media. So others do not make the same mistake as us.

Remember you have the right to cancel an order within 14 days from the date you ordered. The trader has 30 days to deliver the goods, after that you’re entitled to a refund.

If this blog prevents a few people from going through the same experience as me or helps others to get their money back, then it’s job well done.

If you need further information about CNF outdoors, please let me know. I’ve picked up a bit of information about them. Amazing what you find online!

Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 03454 04 05 06

For more information, please visit: Citizens Advice help

**Update** Good news, I got a full refund as the company no longer deal with CNF. I’m Now helping others who may not have been so lucky.

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61 thoughts on “Review: CNF Outdoors (aka Sherwood Leisure)

  1. Wow nasty! I hope everyone soon gets wise of them. I have to admit to almost never buying anything online as I don’t like it. I never trust websites or the internet with my payment information if I can help it and also don’t like getting knocked up off nightshifts with parcels or having to traipse down to the Post Office to collect stuff. I find it easier just to shop on ‘the High Street’ – I suppose I’m lucky to be in an area with a High Street stuffed full of outdoor shops 🙂

    1. Must admit I prefer to buy from shops too, so I can see the item before I buy. The particular sleeping bag I wanted wasn’t in the shops and I got lured by CNF’s cheap prices.

      I’ve got Tiso, Cotswold and Nevis Sport all within walking distance from my work. :O

  2. Fingers crossed for the money coming back!

    The last online purchase disaster I had was not the website’s fault – the courier company delivered a tent to a house with the same number as mine but in an entirely different street and when I queried it they said well the courier said it had been delivered. They couldn’t send me another as the tent had sold out but from memory did offer a refund. As it turned out luckily the person who had my tent was honest and came round to drop it off.

    I still haven’t used the damn thing!! 😆

  3. G johnson

    Fantastic review also having problems with them or would if they would answer the e mails / phone

    1. Sorry to hear that. Don’t give up. Keeping mailing them and log your case with the Citizens Advice. I’m not sure how this man hasn’t been shut down. My only fear is, he’ll change the name of his business.

    2. I am having similar problems. I contacted my bank , Barclays in this instance and asked for a “charge back” against CNF Outdoors. They are handling the dispute on my behalf

  4. Steve Williams

    I ordered from this company on the 18th Feb, no goods, no reply to e-mails, no human answer to phone calls. Within the 14 day period I have just sent a letter by e-mail and recorded delivery to cancel the order and request a refund. Having lived in Germany for the last 9 years I have made many 100’s of on line purchases and never had a problem. Now reading the many poor reviews of this company I can only suggest, if it is not a company you have dealt with before then first search the web for reviews and then make your own decision.
    Robinho, your advice is well put and very useful, thank you.

  5. Steve Williams

    My goods have finally arrived 3 days after I sent a recorded delivery letter stating further action, apparently his supplier was late in sending the goods to him. However the item he delivered was not the make/model I ordered and what was shown on his invoice/delivery note, clearly a breach of contract. I have looked up the substituted item on the internet and it is a better quality item and would be £29.00 dearer so I have decided to keep it. He should of course have contacted me in the first instance and offered a substitute item (my choice to make) and not just sent to shut me up.
    My advice, only deal with this man if you are prepared to strongly stand up for you rights, having read other reviews about him think it is best to stay away, the items he offers are available from other suppliers. Cheapest is not always best.

    1. I was caught out with the cheapest price for the sleeping bag I was after. Only because OutdoorsGB added on the VAT at the end of the purchase, which is a bit cheeky. At least you got a better item than originally ordered.

  6. I ordered a gazebo on Sunday and it was delivered on Wednesday! It was a good couple of hundred pounds cheaper than in the shops and I was very pleased with the service.

  7. Nic

    Sadly i didn’t read this before i ordered but had similar experience to you. I used Charge back, fortunately Yorkshire Bank did this for me very quickly.

  8. I quick search of the web bought this up, thankyou. I’m having problems with them accepting a return which was cancelled within 14 days, despite them ignoring previous attempts to return the item. Once I informed them of the return, they imposed a 5 days to return the item, which is in breach of the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, which allows upto 14 days to return the goods. Grant stated that he would reject the parcel, to which I informed him that he was breaking the way. He then tried to then deduct the shipping costs of £12.95, which were ‘free’ at the time of the order, only to be advised that we was again in breach of my statutory rights.

    It remains to be seen whether I receive a refund. I hope this helps anyone else in a similar predicament.

  9. John Seldon

    I ordered a tent from them last Friday. Just checked the order status and it has been in pending since I bought it. Tried ringing them to check eveything was ok with the order, but could not get any answer after trying for 2 days. No response from their live chat either. In the end I rang my bank and initiated a claw back of the payment. I then emailed CFN Outdoors to advise I wish to cancel and as they do not answer their phones I have gone directly to the bank. Waiting to see what happens next.

  10. Russell Irving

    *DO NOT BUY CAMPTECH*
    I purchased an Airdream Lux 390 from one of its distributors (CNF Outdoors) and I now regret it.
    When I put up the awning for the 1st time it started to leak in a light shower. I informed CNF and sent them a video which they forwarded to Camptech. I’ve heard nothing back and I’ve had to contact my credit card company to take legal action since I’m now £400 out of pocket for a faulty product.
    Total waste of money and very very poor customer service.

  11. Phil

    I ordered a £400 air awning from them and paid for next day delivery as I was going away, they said that if I didn’t receive it in time they would deliver to my campsite. I sent an email the next day in the afternoon to say I hadn’t received it, they phoned me within 2 minutes and said it had been delivered to my work and xxxxxxx had signed for it, and indeed they had. I had no issues with this company and think their customer service so far is great.
    Sorry to hear other peoples problems with them but in my experience I can’t agree

  12. Joan Wilkinson

    Despite numerous emails and attempt to ring (answerphone saying they were relocating) badly let down, paid for product no delivery, so thanks to the above advice have contacted bank with a view to “charge back”. Just have to wait and see now

  13. Sadly i’d ordered a dutch oven from them before reading this blog. I’m now on day 6 with no information from them. I’ve emailed them today to ask about a possible delivery date! I will give them till Thursday and attempt to get my money back from the bank!

  14. Thanks for the info you have provided on here. I ordered an Al-Ko hitch lock from them on 23/10/16, I have sent numerous e mails and tried several times to phone (message saying they are relocating and items are coming direct from supplier) I have just e mailed Al-Ko, see what they say. Going to try bank now to try get money back and will be contacting trading standards. Even though the item is £40 cheaper than anywhere else, I don’t want him to have my custom.

    1. ukblueuk

      Finally got my order after numerous threats of going to the police, the bank and Trading Standards. Wonder if it is still worth contacting Trading Standards, the more complaints about the shady way he deals the better. Hope everyone else gets sorted especially for Christmas presents

  15. David Barker

    I do wish that I had read these reviews before buying from CNF. I ordered a heavy duty gazebo in June 2016 together with fabric spray. When taking the fabric off in Oct it tore like paper. No telephone calls answered, replies to messages nor emails. Because it is longer than 120 days from the purchase my card supplier is unable to act. The sooner this firm goes out of business and the man goes back from whence he came the better.

  16. Emma

    I’ve now been waiting over 2 weeks for a bike ordered for a Xmas present for my son. Payment taken on day of ordering, I received a confirmation email from them but nothing since, sent countless emails, left voicemails but no replies to any of them. I don’t know what to do!!!!!! 😫

  17. Steve E

    I too wish I had read your reviews, you just cannot contact these people, the item I ordered was received but it was not as advertised. I am chasing for a refund, looks as though I need to contact the bank!

  18. Joan Wilkinson

    Thanks to this blog I took the advice and contacted my bank who have investigated and refunded my money – I used a direct debit card and never received my goods despite being emailed by Grant Butler personally telling me I would get in within days. The place should be closed down forthwith. Hope nobody else is hoodwinked. Thanks very much for the advice.

  19. Chris

    Looks like I have fallen victim to this scam outfit. Ordered a Bike for my son 23/11/16 that was showing as “in Stock” and received an email saying my order was being processed. Payment taken next day but no email or suggestion of delivery date. I emailed CNF asking to confirm delivery status and didn’t get any response.
    Today 25/11/16 I emailed again and this time made it very clear that if do not receive any correspondence then I will cancel order and hand this over to my financial representative to pursue full refund with immediate effect.
    This seemed to grab Grants attention and replied with an excuse stating the manufacture has changed couriers and this has caused a back log of orders but I will receive my goods next week!!!
    ummmmm clearly from these posts it is very unlikely that I will be receiving any goods. Therefore I will contact my bank and pursue claim as this seems to have a successful end in most cases I’ve read,

      1. chris

        I will give cnf 5 working days from date of order before taking any further action as think this is reasonable. If no progress after that I will hit them with everything. I’m not the sort to give up easily and will make it my personal mission to inflict as much discomfort and damage to cnf as possable on a daily basis. Will post progress and advice as and when.

  20. Chris

    Update from my last post. The bike arrived 01/12/16. All correct to order and in good working condition 9 days after ordered. I’m very relieved to have received the item and it seems on this occasion CNF delivered on their word. I did hassle Grant every day until I got a response which may or may not of encouraged delivery?

  21. Excellent Chris, I think and maybe Grant might confirm this. But I reckon he waits for x amount of orders of items as he doesn’t hold any stock. Then puts in a big order directly from the supplier. He should make customers aware of this, if true.

  22. Roy Lishman

    ordered and paid for a water pump for the camper van on17 nov,now 6 dec and heard nothing,been in touch with bank looking for charge back,i must give cnf 30 days to deliver before the bank will get involved,have e mailed and rang,nothing.Now will ring trading standards.

  23. Ahad

    I have ordered a bicycle on 25th nov 2016. They just emailed me saying that the manufacturing company messed up the delivery. Any advise on what i should do now i paid over 120gbp.

      1. Ahad

        He emailed me back saying that there was a mess up with the delivery depo… i dont know its been over 20 days im not sure what to do now. Im really upset about this. I got so many problems i dont need this right now.

  24. OMG I wish we’d read all this about CNF before ordering, we’re having the same problem, won’t answer Emails or phone, thanks for the info guys, will contact the bank tomorrow and sort out a charge back…..Which just goes to show that the business hasn’t improved all year, how is this guy still trading???????

  25. Paolo

    Hi Robinho,
    I also had problems with this company. I have asked to return a jacket. At first they tried to ignore me, but after few emails and phone messages in which I expressed my intention to concact the bank and the Citizens Advice and take them to court, they replied giving me the opportunity to return the item.

    The point now is:

    1 – Obviously I do not trust them. I risk that they take the item back and do not refund me
    2- they said they do not reimburse the costs of the delivery but on the contract they have on the site it is written the opposite.

    Do you have any advice ?

    Thank you very much
    Best regards

    Paolo

    1. Hi Paolo, send the jacket back with a letter explaining you want a refund. Keep a copy of the letter and send it recorded delivery. Give him 14 days to respond. If he doesn’t go to CAB for for further advice. In fact their website probably have letter examples you could use. Good luck.

  26. Les

    Hi Robinho,
    I placed an order on the 11th December to the value of £135 98 and on the 15th Dec I registered with CNF to track my order. On checking my details there was NOTHING showing in my account history although payment had been taken from my card account when ordered. With alarm bells ringing I checked the web, and after some online searches found others (like on here) had similar issues.
    Well, after numerous website (contact us) messages, e-mails to CNF & Phone calls threatening action from Consumer advice, Trading Standards etc came up negative with No replies to any of them. I contacted my card company on 6th January to claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit act and was told to wait until 30 days had passed (Mastercard terms & conditions for delivery of items) then contact them again.
    I contacted CNF again on Fri 6th noting my intentions and discussions re- Section 75 with MBNA / Mastercard and within 5 x mins had an e-mail response station my order was updated to the status “Refunded ”
    Well, I’ve just checked my online card account this evening Sun 8th Jan to find a credit for the full amount showing as of yesterday. Couldn’t believe it. (28 days later, and a lot of stress I didn’t need )
    Hope this helps anyone else in a similar situation. Good luck.

  27. Pingback: Sucess: CNF Outdoors exposed by BBC Wales – Robinho Outdoors

  28. Richie

    mate – you’ve saved me a load of hassle – was just about to place a £500 order with them, been on hold for 37 minutes, which set alarm bells ringing, I’ll be buying elsewhere – thank you for this post and sorry you had to endure the hassle of dealing with these … people

      1. Richie

        100 percent it was – walked out of another shop today with half the goodies, the rest arrive in a few days – thanks again – no need to respond, just know you saved me hassle and a decent retailer who deserves customers secured my business – so pleased you shared your experience.

  29. Brian Hart

    How come Sherwood Leisure have 162 four and five star rave reviews? Still waiting for my order after 10 days despite being in stock

  30. Anonymous

    This criminal is still trading under the company name or Sherwood Leisure and still scamming people. His business address in wales, is actually a holiday let and the little shit is actually living in Nottingham. Companies house have the director listed as Grant Robin Butler. I have reported this to the Police & Trading standards and am currently pursuing a refund via my bank. STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPNY – IT IS FRAUDULENT!!!!

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