Rain was the last straw for my panama hat

I was caught out in rainy Sicily and the hat was ruined

I bought a £70 foldable Brisa panama hat from the Panama Hat Company this summer. I was aware that it should not be worn continually in wet weather. However, I was caught out by a rainy afternoon in Sicily this September. Where do you put a hat that should not be worn or folded damp when out for the afternoon? It was not soaked, but did not regain its original shape. The company said that by getting it wet it was my fault. It said it could try and re-block the hat for £30, or offer me a 20% discount on a replacement. Nowhere on its website does it say that being out in the rain effectively destroys the look and wearability of the hat. Indeed, the company implies the hat will give many years’ wear. GM, Exeter

The seller of a hat to be worn when travelling has to either expect it to get slightly wet, or to clearly state that the buyer should never get it wet. In fairness to the Panama Hat Company, it has quickly moved to put things right. It has offered a full refund and updated its guidelines to make sure customers are aware that its Panamas do not withstand rainfall and need to be protected. It says this is because they are made with fine hand-woven fibres and nothing else.

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