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  1. #1
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    A tale of two LBS (long)

    I've been away from the forum for a few days while I've tried to straighten out the issues from my catastrophic failure that resulted in my Ultergra rear derailleur being snapped in half and the chain stay (drive side) of my carbon fiber frame being broken (Yes, at first I though it was just scuffed up, but it split right in half with a fracture you can't see until you put pressure on the chain stay. Then you can actually move the pieces apart.)

    In any event, I took it to the dealer and described what happened. That is, I was riding along at 18 to 20 mph on a level surface when I heard a loud snap and the rear end just broke free. Some folks here suggested it may have been a pin in the chain sticking out too far and catching in the derailleur. However, I checked the chain and that was not the case. Sorry... back to the dealer. I actually spoke with one of the technicians at the shop and he said they would look it over and get back to me. Three days later I get a call with the LBS owner saying he can get me a new frame under the company's crash replacement program for just $1,200. He's quick to point out that this is a $300 discount from the normal price. I tell him, "But I didn't crash." He says that it doesn't matter, it's being treated as if I did. Naturally I want to question this and ask why it's not covered under the frame replacement warranty. He says because it was not a problem with the workmanship or materials. I ask how that could be. Now, he starts saying things that enter into a place he doesn't really want to go. He's making me mad. Here's a transcription of what took place next.

    Me: "Wait, how could it not be a problem? I did nothing wrong."
    Owner: "Well, you may have hit a pothole or run over a stick that was kicked into the drive train."
    Me: "No, neither of those things happened."
    Owner: "Well since there was no camera or GPS on your bike, we can't really tell where you were or what you were doing, but it's not a warranty issue."
    Me: After a few deep breaths, "Look, I know what I was doing and it was nothing that should have caused this failure. For the sake of argument, let's assume that I did hit a stick that went into the drive chain, stretched things far enough to break the derailleur and break the derailleur hanger. Should the rear chain stay have snapped?"
    Owner: "Well if the chain was frailing around hitting it enough it could."
    Me: "Wouldn't that be somewhat of a design flaw. I mean I could have been seriously hurt."
    Owner: "Well maybe you should open your own bike company and design your own bikes."

    OK, so now I'm gald that we're having this conversation over the phone, because I don't want to go to jail for assaulting someone. The conversation continues:

    Me: "You're not even going to submit this to the company's rep for an evaluation are you?"
    Owner: "I've dealt with them long enough that I know what they will do or not do."
    Me: "I'm just asking that you submit it and advocate on my behalf that they consider it."
    Owner: "Look the crash replacement is $1,200 do you want to do it or not?"
    Me: "I'll get back to you in a few days."

    I WAS HOT.... NOT FIT TO BE AROUND FOR ABOUT FOUR HOURS! I MEAN REALLY VERY, VERY CRANKY.

    I cool off after a day, but have a sick feeling in my stomach that I'm being screwed. Suddenly, I think maybe I should try the dealer where I bought the bike. They are no longer a dealer for this company so can't submit claims. But I figure they might coach me through what I need to do next. I can't get there for two days, becasue I'm out of town on a business trip. But when I get home, I go see that dealer. I tell them I'm looking for their guidance and help. I unload the whole story. Here's the transcript of that conversation.

    Me: "So, can you give me some guidance here?"
    Manager: "I can't believe they talked to you that way."
    Me: "Well, they did, and I've got to tell you, I'm pretty upset by the whole thing."
    Manager: "Upset? I'd be furious!" Technican chimes in: "Wow, what's the matter with those dudes?"
    Me: "So, what do I do now?"
    Manager: "I know the guy who was regional rep for ____ company last year. He's moved up in the company. I'll give him a call and let him know you bought the bike from us when we carried the line and are getting a run around. We'll see what he has to say."
    Me: "Man, if you would do that I'd be very grateful."
    Manager: "No, problem. I've give you a call in the next few days and let you know what I found out."
    Technican in the backround again: "What a bunch of flamming a$$holes."
    Me: "Thank you very much. I hope the news if good."
    Manager: "I'll let you know."

    Now I'm driving home from the shop (only about 15 miles). I'm not half way home yet and my cell phone rings. It's the manager from the shop I just left. He says, "Just talked to ______ he says to take your bike to _______ (a different shop than the first one I went to). He'll call them and let them know that you're coming and that he sent you."

    Now I ask you, which dealer would you go back to?

    I'm taking the frame over to the other shop tomorrow, but regardless of the outcome, there's one dealer in my area that has a loyal customer in me, and another that... well, this is a public forum. So, I'll hold my tounge until the whole thing is resolved one way or another. One of the things I found out is that many of the bigger companies read BF just to keep up with what's moving around in the grapevine.

    Well, I warned you it was long, but appreciate having the opporutnity to get this off my chest somewhere. Thanks for listening to (reading) my rant.
    Last edited by NOS88; 08-10-06 at 07:31 PM.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  2. #2
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    It is rare these days for customer service to actually provide service. In a smaller example a while back I was shopping for new helmet I did research on the internet and I knew exactly what I wanted. I went to my closest LBS and looked at the helmet. It was substantially more than online. I wanted to give my money to the local LBS and told him I did not expect him to meet the online price but if he could do the price+shipping I would prefer to give him the business. He said nope so I bought it on-line. Now he was probably thinking of this one sale, but in the end since I felt he just blew me off so I won't go back there for any parts or service. I think small businesses have to realize that compared to on-line volume all they really have to offer is service. If they don't offer that then people might as well go for the cheapest price.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Let us know the outcome. I would find out who the owner of the first LBS is and write him a very professional letter detailing your ordeal and the outcome and letting him know that he lost a customer.
    It will make you feel better and possibly if the owner cares- will -prevent this from happening to others in the future.
    Kenal0

  4. #4
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    great story NOS88. Can't wait to hear the final outcome.

  5. #5
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    Actually, I think you should publish the LBS's name. If they don't want this incident coming to light, maybe they should have handled it differently, besides, others should be warned of that type of "customer service".
    "I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me." --General George S. Patton

    Best regards,

    Duhhuh

  6. #6
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    Glad you thought to call the original shop. Hope things work out for you.

  7. #7
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    I think we're all waiting to see what happens, keep us posted.

  8. #8
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Two observations:
    1) You handled this well. Please let us know how it works out.
    2) Please forgive my complete lack of enthusiasm for CF frames and components.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  9. #9
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    When this is totally resolved, I think you should let us know just who the good guys and the not-so-good guys are.

    There has to be accountability somewhere. Why not on a forum read by 50,000+ folks? Send a copy of this forum discussion to the "not-so-good" guy. It should give him a bit of an awakening. Let him know that as of now, there are 62,607 members.

  10. #10
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    Two observations:
    1) You handled this well. Please let us know how it works out.
    2) Please forgive my complete lack of enthusiasm for CF frames and components.
    Right there with you... And along with the OP... it really amazes me that so many LBSs frankly don't care. I just don't see how they can stay in business in many cases.

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Let him know that as of now, there are 62,607 members.
    Not to mention that the whole world is lurking...

  12. #12
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Let him know that as of now, there are 62,607 members.
    But how many have the last name Diego?

    Back on topic: Did you do much business with the first store? The owner may have been looking at a bit of work for you without getting a nickel out of it. Not that I think he is right, but just trying to figure out his motivation.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  13. #13
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk
    But how many have the last name Diego?

    Back on topic: Did you do much business with the first store? The owner may have been looking at a bit of work for you without getting a nickel out of it. Not that I think he is right, but just trying to figure out his motivation.

    First store got a couple hundred dollars out of me this year. Next year... zero, zip, nada, nothing. I regret to say that I think his motivation is more than just dollars. However, if he simply does an equipment swap, he'd still get about $100 for the work. If he gets his percentage of a replacement frame that's in addition to his fee for the parts swap. The very first time I went into that LBS I didn't feel comfortable. I was greeted by a salesperson who looked me up and down (I am a Clydesdale) and said that they cater mostly to tri-athletes. I'm sure I don't fit their mental image of the kind of customers they want to serve, but I thought that maybe it was just me being too sensitive. Should have trusted my first instincts.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  14. #14
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    I would have had to bite my tongue in order to hold it. Oooowww. You held it together pretty well. bk

  15. #15
    fmw
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    Hoosier Pedaler fmw's Avatar
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    I snapped two Ultegra rear derailleurs like you did just last year. For a while, I was carrying a spared RD and a chain tool instead of a tube (I had zero flats last year.) I finally decided that was ridiculous and the Shimano stuff was just second quality. I sold the two bikes that had Shimano equipment. I'm now 100% Campagnolo on the road bikes.

  16. #16
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Absolutely no question - you handled this brilliantly, NOS88. Thanks for helping ferret out who some of the good guys and bad guys are in the industry.

    And for you bike shops and companies who read this stuff, please remember the basic lesson illustrated here: if a customer comes to you with a problem, that can be a golden opportunity to make them a customer for life if you handle it right. I am not saying that I subscribe to the "customer is always right" school of thought - some customers are, in fact, scammers or clueless or just jerks. But most aren't. But if you make the little bit of extra effort to treat a customer with a problem with respect and make a good faith effort to figure out what the real issue is, and then do the fair thing in response (notice I did not say that you automatically do anything the customer says, but to do the fair thing), you will almost certainly build up a loyal following who will be the best source of advertising you could ever hope for.

    I say three cheers for the shop that stood behind its products even when they didn't sell that brand any more, and three cheers for the company rep who made sure that you were properly taken care of. How much do you want to bet that one of the next calls the rep made was either (a) to the first shop to tell the owner (in short, Anglo-Saxon words) to stop screwing up his brand's image or (b) to whoever else is in charge of making such phne calls?
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I agree you handled it correctly but I do not think mentioning this LBS would be the right thing to do.
    There might be 5 good employees and one bad apple. I think at least a phone call to the owner or manager would be in order first. Think if you were the owner of a LBS, trusted people to run your store because you could not be there all the time and they were not doing it properly, you would appreciate a heads up to make things right.
    Cannot wait to here the outcome tomorrow.
    Kenal0

  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenal0
    I agree you handled it correctly but I do not think mentioning this LBS would be the right thing to do.
    There might be 5 good employees and one bad apple. I think at least a phone call to the owner or manager would be in order first. Think if you were the owner of a LBS, trusted people to run your store because you could not be there all the time and they were not doing it properly, you would appreciate a heads up to make things right.
    Cannot wait to here the outcome tomorrow.
    Kenal0
    It was the owner of the first LBS that made the lame call about the frame replacement... so this should plastered all over the net.

    The company that made the frame was in the right... so they should get a bit of good from all this.

    The LBS that bent over backwards should get all the business they can handle.

  19. #19
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    I'm tempted to "out" the owner of my LBS for his poor service as well. I left a set of vintage hubs and rims with him to build wheels for my '66 Paramount the first part of July. He promised turn around in one week. I decided two weeks would be acceptable. The third week one of the teen techs told me one wheel was done and the other started. The fourth week I decided to drop in to check on the progress and they couldn't find my wheels! The owner was not in. He hadn't returned my calls for several days. I took it upon myself to enter the service area to look and finally uncovered my rims and hubs (without a single installed spoke) in a back closet. I left steaming and decided that night to retrieve everything the next morning. The next morning the owner was in and wouldn't speak to me. The end result; he will never receive one dollar from me in business, and the hundreds of people who respect my opinion, will never hear me recommend his shop for anything, including his winter sports and water related stuff. I doubt if I will put much of a dent in his profits.
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  20. #20
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Amazing stories. You have to wonder how some folks stay in business treating customers the way they do...

    NOS-I had a rear alloy hanger to break on a carbon frame and it was sent back to the factory for replacement. Instead of replacing the dropout/hangar they sent me a newer model frame. The reason the hangar broke was a broken spoke dropped down into the chain and was pulled back into the derailleur. I thought that was really terrific service...........

  21. #21
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be so sure Pastorbob. You truly might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

    And for NOS88: Why were you ever doing any business at a store that caters to "tri" types? Your instincts were 100% correct. You should do your business at a "roadie" store.

    BTW I too am borderline/stealth "Clyde" myself at 6' 2" tall and 200 lbs. I've gotten my percentage body fat down enought that I don't look to be 200 lbs. I wear the same size clothes that I wore when I graduated high school and weighed 185 lbs and most people guess my weight to be around that.

    I hope that it all works out well for you. Please tell us who all the "good guys" are when this all shakes out.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    [QUOTE=genec]It was the owner of the first LBS that made the lame call about the frame replacement... so this should plastered all over the net.

    The company that made the frame was in the right... so they should get a bit of good from all this.

    The LBS that bent over backwards should get all the business they can handle.[/QUOTE

    Well then I agree post it all over the net and anywhere else. If that is the way he wants to run his business then he should pay for it.
    Kenal0

  23. #23
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
    The end result; he will never receive one dollar from me in business, and the hundreds of people who respect my opinion, will never hear me recommend his shop for anything, including his winter sports and water related stuff. I doubt if I will put much of a dent in his profits.
    You have hundreds of people who respect your opinion??? That's impressive!!!

    (Just teasing, PB, you know that... )
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  24. #24
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenal0
    ...I would find out who the owner of the first LBS is and write him a very professional letter detailing your ordeal and the outcome...
    Hi NOS88 -

    I agree with Kenal0's suggestion about a letter when this is all over, but I suggest an alternative:

    Write the letter directly to the bike manufacturer (preferably, the person in the company whose help you've received). Thank the manufacturer for their support of their product and let them know that their dealer did not support either the manufacturer OR you, as a customer of that manufacturer's product. Copy a letter to the shop owner who sold you the bike.

    The manufacturer needs to know that their dealer isn't serving them or their customers well.

    Good luck with the replacement, and much gratitude that you weren't injured!

  25. #25
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    How about making it a policy in 50+ to praise the good shops and ignore the bad apples? Too goody-goody?

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