Prunella finally arrived
As some of you know I placed an order for a Brommie with a LBS that started selling Brommies this past spring. Well she arrived today and I'm very happy with her... she's awesome.
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Now for the rundown of my experience with this LBS and why I'll never deal with them again, ever.
Instead of ordering from BFold or NYCEWheels I wanted to support one of my LBSs. So I placed my order on July 24th and was told that it could take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks to arrive, OK that was to be expected since the LBS only has 3 Brommies in stock none of which were black M3Ls. After the second week I called the shop to see if I could add the Brooks saddle to my order because although I already had one that I was going to use on the bike I thought that a copper riveted B17 for $90 was just such a damned good deal to pass up so I may as well go for it. The shop was happy to add the upgrade since the bike was just now being built (so they said) and hadn't shipped yet.
By the end of the 5th week I decided to call about my bike and see what the status was. They were unsure and said they'd find out. At the end of week 6 I called again, since I hadn't heard back from them, and was told that they weren't sure of the status. So I told them that if they cared so little about my order, I would like a full refund. The owner's daughter got on the phone and was apologetic and asked if she could call Brompton and find out what's going on with the bike... I agreed. A couple of days later I get a return call but I was in a meeting so I bumped the call to my voicemail. The message was that the bike was in the process of being built (again?) so it would ship out in a few days and it would take almost another 2 weeks to arrive. Needless to say I was more than a little PO'd.
I went to pick up the bike today and found out that they never submitted the order for the Brooks so they offered me one off of their demo bikes. I agreed because it looked new with no wear or blemishes and it also had copper rails whereas the ones fitted to other Brommies I'd seen had black steel rails. Before leaving I asked if they tune up new bikes before they go out the door, they said yes of course. So I put the bike in my bike trailer and when I got home I gave the bike a quick look over. The tires were at 20 psi and the handlebar catch mounted on the top of the forks to hold the stem/bars in the folded position was so loose it was about to fall off. I was more than skeptical that if these two simple things were overlooked then chances are that no tuneup was ever performed... we'll see what more I uncover when I have more time to inspect the bike.
So if I were to do this over again would I deal with this LBS again (or more aptly would I recommend someone here in town to deal with Bardstown Bicycle Company)? Nope. It's cheaper to order online (the sales tax is $40 more expensive than paying for shipping if you order from NYCEWheels or BFold) and the bike would arrive in about 1 week instead of after 8 weeks. The only advantage that BBC would have to offer is good customer service but they obviously have no idea what the hell that is.
Wow! That's quite the saga Bass!
Although, it's good to see that you finally received the Brommie; I'm sorry to see that you had to deal with such sub-par service. I would feel the same way you do and never deal with (or recommend) that shop in the future.
Congrats on the new Brommie, but I'm sorry you had to go through some bad experiences to get it. Like you, I would much prefer to put my money in a local business, but a company such as the one you dealt with, does, in fact, leave a lot to be desired, and on top of that they have the gaul to say the bike was tuned up when in effect it wasn't. Its bad enough dealing or putting up with bad CS, but to be lied to is another issue. I know if it was me I would have asked for my money back. When you spend that kind of money you expect to be dealt with a lot better than that and you want/expect optimal CS. Portapedabike where I bought mine where absolutely amazing. They did everything they could to make my purchase a good experience. Sorry you live so far away, because they are awesome people.
Originally Posted by BassNotBass
But, on the good side -- you got a Brommie. I hope you have an amazing experience riding it. I can only say that I am over the moon with mine.
Perhaps you can complain straight to Brompton. With such shoddy customer service, I don't think Brompton would like for them to be one of their official retailers.
Beautiful machine. Congrats on finally getting it. Nice name too :) I love the way the Bromptons look even if I don't totally understand the engineering involved with them... yet.
I hear the 'buy local' refrain a lot between my hobbies and my husbands hobbies. Unfortunately, there seems to be a dearth of customer service values in some of these type places. I'm wondering if it's because some of them have their local cliques that interfere with the best customer service. I use the local places when it's convenient for me and only the ones that have left me feeling good about it. I will always return to them. It's tougher when you are doing a larger single purchase however.
Anyways, have fun riding it!
nice ride, bass. i'm sure you are more qualified to tune that bike up than the hipster in skinny jeans and handlebar mustache at that LBS... don't sweat the small stuff. ride, my friend. ride....
Do hipsters even know what gears are?
Thanks folks. I rode Prunella into work this morning... what a great ride. I kept knocking my ankles on the rollers at the outset but got used to adjusting my foot placement. I have skate wheels to install that roll better than the stockers but she's so easy to fold down and carry onto the elevator... and she fits under my desk perfectly. I'm smitten for sure.
Buying a Brompton in the midwest is hard work. I had to travel to Chicago, Wisconsin, and Indianapolis before I was able to test ride each of the configurations that interested me. Then I decided on a raw lacquer model, while production of those was suspended, so I had to buy from a California shop that happened to have one in stock. There were many small snafus along the way. ...And then I finally decided I'd have rather bought a Birdy.
In all seriousness, this is my leading theory on why most of my dealings with bike shops in the last decade have been pure agony.
Originally Posted by landhere
Why customer service sucks:
- The way kids are being brought up. Younger people will look at you crosseyed if you get annoyed with their lack of CS skills.
- Race to the bottom. If you're buying online, you're not helping the CS situation. (See Bike Shop Wages, below)
- Bike shop wages. If you pay very little for help, you certainly won't get top notch staff. (See Race to the Bottom, above)
See it as a business opportunity.
Originally Posted by Alec E
As I've only once or twice seen a Brompton on the street in this region, I'm thinking the demand may be awfully thin. Also, as I sold mine after only a few months, I doubt I'd make the best advocate.
Originally Posted by kamtsa
Brompton actually revoked the dealership status of the man I dealt with in the Indianapolis area when they learned he was selling out of his home rather than from a proper shop. Judging from the current state of his website, though, it seems his campaign to be reinstated was succcessful. I'd recommned both him (Accent Bicycles) and Chicago's tremendous Rapid Transit to anyone with Brompton-related needs/curiosity. Two definite exceptions to my bike shop distaste.
Funny, I find the older salespeople believe I have to kiss their behind for the privilege of their service. They then get frustrated that I don't buy.
Originally Posted by mconlonx
Of course, I find it's generally the customers who walk in with an unreasonable sense of entitlement. There's service with a smile and then there's give me the world for the dollar I have in my pocket that I don't actually have and need to charge to my American Express costing you way more than whatever you actually make on the sale.
"Now, I can fix a tire like hurricane Melinda
Originally Posted by landhere
And know that I'm the best, for what it's worth
So if I choose to help you, don't look like you expect it
'Cause it's a gift that God gave me at birth."
Customer entitlement... don't even get me started. "Give me the world for a dollar" is part of the "Race to the bottom" issue I mentioned...
I used to work in a national chain of bike and car parts store, in the UK. I was in my 30s at the time. But most of the others were young, at school or college. They didn't have much of a clue. Our boss told us that we have to go talk to customers soon as we see them. even if its just to ask if they need assistance. We didn't get any more training than that, in helping customers.
As for low pay, I was part time, minimum wage. If Id not took that job, stayed on benefits. I would have had more money in my hand, as the bus fares to work were about half what I earned.
If I did any sales that earned a bonus, or worked overtime. It was pretty certain I wouldn't get any extra money, as the office work there was a shambles.
There was some Dahons, then a lot of own brand bikes. Also GTs.
If anything needed to be ordered in, even the own brand stuff. It always seemed to take ages. The company had there own huge trucks that delivered every week.
I see problem is that the general public often regarded bikes as toys.
I see people buy mountain bike for road use, as they feel they will avoid puntures, rather than getting the right tyres or tyre protection.
I see their bikes are slow and heavy and don't serve as suitable transport as they get too sweaty.
I see people use a rucksack, rather than luggage placed on the bike which perpetuates the above problem.
ergo bikes make rubbish transport, bike are toys.
I see people feel bikes are not worth their time, and neither are the people who repair them.
I see parents who disconnect their young children's rear brake on a long term basis because it catches on the rim rather than adjusting it, maintaining it or oiling the cable,
I see people regard folders as not even proper bikes,
I see people send £60-80 on a cheap folder and conclude that all folders are cheap and not fit for purpose.
I see young people say to me "why do you want a folding bike?" ,
But I know more than they'll ever know.......................
....and I say to myself ...............what a wonderful world.
My folder has a used value of a £1000, it works really well. My car has the same used value.
what a wounderfulllllll worrrrrrrrldddddd.
Originally Posted by bhkyte
Funny you should mention that. Four year ago I bought a used '93 Toyota Camry wagon. It has over 230,000 miles on it and it runs great. I paid less for that than I did my Brommie :)
Originally Posted by bhkyte
I like being able to take my folder anywhere including up hills. I'd better stop before I antagonize the friends of fixies.
Originally Posted by bhkyte
Its offers so many options.
Originally Posted by landhere
Yes I will Meet you there later, I will put the bike in the boot.
-i feel like some exercise, ill meet you at the supermarket.
No you don't have to meet me at the station, make it a local park.
Think I will go off campus at lunch time.
Its raining can I have a lift.
Sling the bike in the back I might have an explore.
I meet you for coffee, no I don't need to park.
I don't need to park in the hospital grounds......
I am getting on the nearest carriage that has seats left.
4 bikes in a car. No rack and four riders also.
I drop the car o for the mot.
I think I will leave the car here,bike back and pick then up later.
Pedastianisted zone heavy stuff carrier that goes in shops.
Want to spontaneously drive down to Georgia with a bunch of people to ride the Silver Comet Trail? No problem, my bike doesn't need a spot on the already full rack.
nice bike, bass, oops, i mean bass! hmpf, made me snort.
prunella reminds me of prunella scales, sybil of fawlty towers fame.
I like you. You got the 'bass' vs 'bass' reference and you know of the darling actress that I named my bike after... you're good.
Originally Posted by ka0use
Every bike shop has its horror stories. As an independent LBS, I will try to offer some background/reasons that might help explain your difficulties.
My experience in 2008 when I began looking for a folding bike was that most bike shop employees had very little knowledge about, and almost no respect for, folding bikes. I think that's still the case in most LBSes. When we bought our bicycle shop in summer 2010 I was convinced there was a local opportunity for selling folders. I have not been disappointed. :)
As you may know, learning the nuances of a new product line can be a challenge for any retailer. That challenge is increased when the product can be customized by the consumer at the manufacturing level. When you add the training for servicing a product that has significant differences from a retailer's existing products, one can understand that expertise with the new product is not likely to be developed overnight. :)
Over the past 12 months the lead time for production of our Brompton orders has varied from 4 weeks to 16 weeks. Brompton increased its production capacity late last year, and our lead times for production have been, I believe, 4 weeks to 7 weeks in 2013.
Also, Brompton changed its shipping method for North American sales recently. In the past, we usually could expect a bike to delivered to us within three days of its leaving the UK. (This was amazing to me.) They now send the bikes by boat which we expect will take ~7-10 days. Our other brands with warehouses in the US usually take 4-8 business days for delivery.
I know you have said "... never ... , ever.", but I would encourage you to find out who the primary Brompton believer is at Bardstown Road Bicycle Company, and discuss your issues with them. I expect the person in the shop who told you the bike had been tuned up before you picked it up believed that it had been properly inspected and adjusted.
Finally, I don't know anything about sales taxes in Kentucky. My understanding is that in Oklahoma, on-line purchases are required to be reported annually on the taxpayer's state income tax return, and any sales/use tax that has not been collected by the on-line sellers is remitted to the state with the taxpayer's income tax. So, while an on-line purchase may allow the buyer to defer payment of the sales tax, it does not remove the legal obligation of the buyer to pay the sales/use on the items purchased on-line.
Hope this helps!
Norman, Oklahoma USA
I expect US sales as being large enough to fill a 20" maritime container at least by now , per month
and air freight costs a Lot more.
and Majority of bike shop people dont have a need for folding bikes
they are more likely, young and Road or MTB entusiasts , so commuting on a train or bus daily,
is not on their Radar .
like their touring expertise is small since the touring season . in summer ,
is the one they have to be in the shop working, because that is when the Sales happen.