Recently I decided to expand my horizons and try out road bicycles. My regular LBS didn't have the one that compared to the one I read so much about so I tried a competitor. When I bought said bike I was apprehensive about the purchase for a couple of reasons:
1. I have never owned nor even ridden a quality road bike with the exception of a 30 year old Le Tour that was far from my size.
2. The salesman was very adamant about it despite several concerns I had with it after riding it. It just so happened to be the last one the store had in any size and it was being cleared out from what I was able to gather. I was reassured it was the right one for me and told to try it out with the understanding that if I didn't like it I could exchange it for a different size and/or model. It all sounded reasonable and was enough to convince me to buy. Had I not had that contingency plan however I would have walked away from the sale.
Turns out I didn't like it all that much. I gave it a fair shake but I just couldn't convince myself it was a winner.
Before bringing it in for exchange (since returning is forbidden) I thought I'd call the store to see if they had another model in stock which they did. When I said I would be exchanging the first bike I was given a little attitude and told to call back another day to talk to the manager since it would require his blessing.
I did call the manager the next day and was absolutely blown away at what I encountered. He led the conversation by stating the store had a policy of "all sales are final" and that any exchange would be simply out of the question. Fortunately I had the store's website in front of me which stated I could exchange the bike within a period of time (which I was within) so long as I had the original sales receipt (which I did). This was repeated on the back of the receipt as well.
The manager then stated that since I had admitted to riding it for a short distance that it was no longer new and their policy only regarded new merchandise. I asked how such a short distance was any different from what they potentially allow a customer for a test ride before the purchase. I also asked what would happen if during the first "real" ride a customer did not like the fit of the bike and wished to choose a different one. I did not get an answer to either of those points.
Instead the manager switched gears and stated that all bikes are automatically registered with the manufacturer using the purchaser's information and a bike cannot be unregistered or re-registered. This sharing of information isn't on the invoice and I certainly don't remember being asked if I would allow my personal information to be shared. I asked how under those conditions they would ever be able to exercise their own exchange policy. At that point I was instructed to try a sister-site to see if "another store would be willing to deal with [me]". I told the manager of the salesman's promise of the bike being exchangeable to which the manager replied that said employee was modifying store policy without permission.
At this point I would like to be quite honest and add that at no time did I use a raised tone or any profanity. I didn't threaten, belittle, etc. Essentially I deal with all sorts of folks in situations like this for a living and I know better than to go down any of those paths.
I called another store and they welcomed me in with open arms. To put it simply the manager above was spewing fabrications. They switched everything out and sent me home on another bike. They didn't have much inventory in my size (54mm) so basically I had one bike to choose from without really cracking the checkbook open. I actually made a point to ask what their alternatives both above and below budget were to which I was told "none really".
Now that I have the new bike here I thought I'd check out the shifting and set the saddle height with my clipless pedals. I noticed something strange while doing this though. The chain skips a little in back and rubs the front derailleur in any chainring combination. The big ring in front also has a little wobble to it. The front shifter is hard to down shift without what I consider (when compared to either MTB sitting behind me) a lot of force. They supposedly "went through everything" before letting me leave the store. I honestly didn't catch any of this on my parking lot cruise before the purchase.
Basically at this point I'm not very satisfied. I understand that I could have been a little more careful and cautious but I assumed the shop would be more helpful to a beginner. I know the shifting problems are relatively easy to fix but I'm really disappointed with having to do it on a 0-mile bike that just left the store. My overall experience with this LBS has been pretty bad so far and I'm not really interested in carrying on any further. Ideally I'd just like to get a refund (which is against policy) and go to my regular LBS where I know they have the time and patience to deal with my noobishness and make sure all bases have been covered before they send me out the door with anything.
Sorry for the wall but I could use some advice from someone more experienced with bike/LBS relations.