Tandem Cycling - Gettin' My Tandem, but JEEZ!
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So I find my tandem at a bike shop in UT. I'm in CO so it's not too far and the shipping is reasonable.
I talk to someone on Tuesday (a week ago) and I'm told the bike will be taken that night to the location they ship bikes from. They have 5 stores. I talk to people Wed, Thurs and Friday. Finally on SAT the bike has been moved to the Sunset store.
I get a call today that the bike is at the shipping location and how did I want to pay? I tell them I want to give a CC# and they say that they would prefer a money order or cashiers check. This would add DAYS to shipping. I finally get them to allow me to pay by credit card. I have to copy my DL, my credit card-both sides and fax it. After a few hours, they fax me a copy of the invoice to sign as well as the CC tape to sign and fax back.
The bike is $1899.99. Shipping is only $80 (taken apart and two boxes), but the charge on my card is $2103.49!!!! So I call and ask WTF and they are charging me tax! I'm not in the same state! They ship loads of bikes (they couldn't get the tandem to the shipping store on the right day because there were so many other bikes that they were shipping) but claim they always charge tax because 'there was no one there that could authorize him taking tax off'.
So I'm still getting a decent deal. $2100 for the bike, but I'm not buying anything from them again.
I was told the bike would ship tomorrow and that could get the bike to me by the weekend but I'm betting that it won't ship until Friday. . .
05-29-07, 07:25 PM
Call the business owner and politely ask them to give you a credit adjustment for the sales tax.
Anecdotal buying experience: When we purchased our first tandem from a dealer in Alabama -- noting that we did not plan to come home with a tandem, just to test ride a few -- I was in consumer-coma and not paying any attention to how the numbers racked and stacked on the sales receipt and dutifully transcribed the bottom line onto a check. My lovely wife then looked at the numbers and noted that the sales tax was 9%, nearly bringing me back to my senses. I say nearly, as my dealer could see I was an easy mark for his answer to the question "so, how much would it cost to ship it and how long would it take?" Let's see, $310.00 in sales tax or $70 for shipping + waiting until next weekend for our first ride at home? It was a no-brainer... let's see if we can stuff this thing in the car honey: I want to go for a ride tomorrow so we can begin amortizing the added cost of instant gratification.
05-30-07, 05:34 AM
Alarm bells should go off when a 5-store outfit won't take a credit card to move an '04 Co-Mo. What comes to mind is that the transaction isn't complete until you, not they, complete it.
If the shop can't be reasonable, take possession of the bike; make sure it has two wheels and all the necessary stuff and is in the condition you expected; then dispute the charge through your credit card bank. Then ask the shop once again to be reasonable.
If they have any commercial interests in CO, then they have to charge the tax. But they apparently have admitted that the tax was not necessary. Pay them what's fair.
06-01-07, 10:57 AM
Sorry to hear about your frustration in this transaction - I hope the bike is all you want it to be when it arrives
Just a balancing story - I just got a new pair of tandem wheels from Rocky Mountains Cyclery in Denver. Denver to Bahrain is about as far as anything could be shipped. Wheels arrived safely packed, at the price and faster than the time that they stated.
They'll have my business for the solo and new tandem that I'm planning!
I'm not a shill, just happy with a service. Again, I hope that after the first couple of rides the troubles are distant history. Enjoy!
Well, the bike arrived today in two boxes and Tom has it together.
He's taking measurments from my solo to make adjustments on the tandem.
Then he's off to buy pedals. I think he's going to take the son out with him on the
maiden voyage while I'm here at work. FINE with me! Let the man get a couple miles
under his belt before I clip in!
But, it looks good, though it's black, I'm a bright colors kinda girl.
Pics later today or in the AM!
Glad to now you got your shipment quickly, that is a long way to go!
06-02-07, 12:05 AM
FWIW, I used to work in the mail order business in a different industry. It's not atypical for stores to charge tax and there's nothing wrong with it - so long as the tax money actually does get to their state government. It's just that currently there's no law forcing them to charge interstate tax. They've done nothing "wrong," per se, but it certainly doesn't meet client expectations for many in the mail order industry.
A few other things - denying the credit card charge may or may not be helpful. On the one hand, the contract was not complete until you agreed to the terms of the contract. However, there is very likely an exception built into Utah law that says that the buyer implicitly agrees to pay sales tax in addition to whatever the total is on the bill. In fact, if they find out for some reason that you should have paid sales tax on a transaction and you haven't, the state can legally come back to you (via the store) and demand it. The credit card companies know that, and if the source of your dispute is that you received the goods but they over charged re: sales tax, your claim will likely die on the vine.
As for the credit card v. cash issue, they obviously pay a fee to accept your credit card. That fee probably eats substantially into whatever the commission or bonus the guys at the store make. It's not unusual in a small store for that fee to be 2.5 to 3%. Already getting 40% off, however, it sounds like you got a close-out. They may have effectively sold you this bike for at cost or slightly more than. That 2.5 to 3% may have been their entire profit on the deal. Can't be surprised they'd take that approach. But for reference, they can't charge you extra to accept a credit card - nor can they deny you the right to pay that way. They CAN, however, offer a "cash discount."
Hope this is useful for the next substantial transaction if nothing else.
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