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  1. #1
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    Troublesome LBS - Experienced Advice Needed

    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.
    Last edited by MNiceGuy; 08-29-10 at 10:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    Can you clarify something before the comments start: you say you dealt with two different stores:

    1. The store that sold you the new road bike, but refused to take it back, and then
    2. The store that took your first bike in, and then exchanged it for another one.

    Is that right?
    Is this a chain -- are they owned by the same owner?

    In any case, it sounds to me as if you are dealing with two bad stores:
    - The manager at the first store sounds like a complete jerk, and if he wasn't living up to the store's policy he ought to be fired, and
    - The second store that agreed to exchange your bike sent you out the door with a bike not properly set up.

    So, they are batting 0 for 2 with you.

    You could:
    - Go back to whichever one is closer and try to get them to set your bike up properly
    - Try to fight for a return. If you put this on your credit card, your credit card company might help.
    - Go back to the LBS you're comfortable with ("your regular LBS"), tell them what happened, and hand them $50 and tell them to go through your new bike and tell them to set it up properly.

  3. #3
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    LBS's are handy for checking things out, test riding a particular model/size combo, trying on a brand of shoe to make sure their stated size fits you correctly, ect, before buying the exact same product online for 50% of the best LBS prices.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    LBS's are handy for checking things out, test riding a particular model/size combo, trying on a brand of shoe to make sure their stated size fits you correctly, ect, before buying the exact same product online for 50% of the best LBS prices.
    That practically qualifies as a troll post in this situation -- how does that help the OP?

    In any case, at least in the US, you're not at all likely to find a bike online at 50% of the bike shop price.

    Do you have anything useful to add that might help the OP, who seems to be in need of actual help?

  5. #5
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    That practically qualifies as a troll post in this situation -- how does that help the OP?

    In any case, at least in the US, you're not at all likely to find a bike online at 50% of the bike shop price.

    Do you have anything useful to add that might help the OP, who seems to be in need of actual help?
    There's no helping the OP much at this stage, unfortunately. The deal is done, we can only do forensics on it and learn lessons for next time. As for the chain rubbing, ect. that is very simple adjustments that I would strongly recommend the OP learn to do himself. There is ample information available online and in print to learn how to maintain a bike.

    Now, back to the forensics. I just bought 4 new chains (CN-HG73) for my recumbent on ebay. Au$100 with delivery. I rang around my local LBS's and the best price I got was Au$220. See? not trolling but sharing info that will save him plenty of $$$ in the future.

    I've been saving a lot of $$ buying online for years and wanted to share that with the OP, how is that a troll?.... hint: if my post irritates your pro-LBS sensitivities that in and of itself does not qualify it as a troll.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    There's no helping the OP much at this stage, unfortunately. The deal is done, we can only do forensics on it and learn lessons for next time. As for the chain rubbing, ect. that is very simple adjustments that I would strongly recommend the OP learn to do himself. There is ample information available online and in print to learn how to maintain a bike.

    Now, back to the forensics. I just bought 4 new chains (CN-HG73) for my recumbent on ebay. Au$100 with delivery. I rang around my local LBS's and the best price I got was Au$220. See? not trolling but sharing info that will save him plenty of $$$ in the future.

    I've been saving a lot of $$ buying online for years and wanted to share that with the OP, how is that a troll?.... hint: if my post irritates your pro-LBS sensitivities that in and of itself does not qualify it as a troll.
    He's buying a bike, not a chain. Please educate us on the bike that one could try on in a bike store (in the US) and then buy online for 50% of the bike store price.

    BTW, I'm not pro-LBS or anti-LBS. I buy a fair amount of stuff online myself, but wouldn't necessarily recommend that a newcomer to the sport buy his or her first bike online without getting fitting. As for trying on shoes in a store only to get the right size so you can turn around and get them online -- that's not fair, in my opinion.

  7. #7
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    He's buying a bike, not a chain. Please educate us on the bike that one could try on in a bike store (in the US) and then buy online for 50% of the bike store price.
    Can't help you there, I'm in Australia, as you can see right there to the left. Clearly he's not buying a bike, he's bought a bike - it's done, nothing we can help him with now, but eventually he will be buying chains, cables, etc. so obviously he can save money in future purchases, which is why I shared that with him.

    BTW, I'm not pro-LBS or anti-LBS. I buy a fair amount of stuff online myself, but wouldn't necessarily recommend that a newcomer to the sport buy his or her first bike online without getting fitting. As for trying on shoes in a store only to get the right size so you can turn around and get them online -- that's not fair, in my opinion.
    ...and you're perfectly entitled to your opinion, thanks for sharing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    Can you clarify something before the comments start: you say you dealt with two different stores:

    1. The store that sold you the new road bike, but refused to take it back, and then
    2. The store that took your first bike in, and then exchanged it for another one.

    Is that right?
    Is this a chain -- are they owned by the same owner?

    In any case, it sounds to me as if you are dealing with two bad stores:
    - The manager at the first store sounds like a complete jerk, and if he wasn't living up to the store's policy he ought to be fired, and
    - The second store that agreed to exchange your bike sent you out the door with a bike not properly set up.

    So, they are batting 0 for 2 with you.

    You could:
    - Go back to whichever one is closer and try to get them to set your bike up properly
    - Try to fight for a return. If you put this on your credit card, your credit card company might help.
    - Go back to the LBS you're comfortable with ("your regular LBS"), tell them what happened, and hand them $50 and tell them to go through your new bike and tell them to set it up properly.
    You are correct. This is across two different stores that are a chain owned by one individual.

    I'm hoping for a return because:

    1. I'm not really keen on the new bike. The whole store chain's inventory is very, very patchy and rather than get a bike I really like I have what they were able to offer me. I wasn't exaggerating when I said they had exactly one model for me to choose from. They never offered to order anything in from another store or their suppliers.
    2. I'm not 100% sure this is the proper fit. With no other experience to fall back on I really wish I could have tried a 52, 54, 56, etc so that I could make the best decision on what felt right. I feel there is very good chance my ideal size was the exact one they were trying to clear out to make room for 2011 models. My regular LBS has offered to go through a much more elaborate fit process (i.e. body measurements and then observation on a trainer) and then once they get me narrowed down they said they would schedule something where they have me bring in my gear and take the potential bike for a ~1.5 hour ride. If they need to order something in then so be it.
    3. My LBS has gone the extra mile for me and my girlfriend in the past. At this point I'd rather give them the business and have the benefit of the same free support they've already dispensed on us and our two MTB's.

    I agree that I should learn these shifting adjustments myself but really that's not the point. I waited in their store patiently while one of their mechanics was supposed to get this done for me. Had I not checked all this out proactively and discovered it the morning of a big ride I would have been upset.
    Last edited by MNiceGuy; 08-30-10 at 01:33 AM.

  9. #9
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNiceGuy View Post
    You are correct. This is across two different stores that are a chain owned by one individual.

    I'm hoping for a return because:

    1. I'm not really keen on the new bike. The whole store chain's inventory is very, very patchy and rather than get a bike I really like I have what they were able to offer me. I wasn't exaggerating when I said they had exactly one model for me to choose from. They never offered to order anything in from another store or their suppliers.
    2. I'm not 100% sure this is the proper fit. With no other experience to fall back on I really wish I could have tried a 52, 54, 56, etc so that I could make the best decision on what felt right. I feel there is very good chance my ideal size was the exact one they were trying to clear out to make room for 2011 models. My regular LBS has offered to go through a much more elaborate fit process (i.e. body measurements and then observation on a trainer) and then once they get me narrowed down they said they would schedule something where they have me bring in my gear and take the potential bike for a ~1.5 hour ride. If they need to order something in then so be it.
    3. My LBS has gone the extra mile for me and my girlfriend in the past. At this point I'd rather give them the business and have the benefit of the same free support they've already dispensed on our two MTB's.

    I agree that I should learn these shifting adjustments myself but really that's not the point. I waited in their store patiently while one of their mechanics was supposed to get this done for me. Had I not checked all this out proactively and discovered it the morning of a big ride I would have been upset.
    I feel for you, I really do. It's not uncommon for businesses (not just LBS's) to prey on the lack of their customer's knowledge by putting themselves forward as purveyors of expert knowledge and call it 'service'. Unfortunately what often gets serviced is their bottom line.

    Have you been back to the store and asked them for a refund?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    I feel for you, I really do. It's not uncommon for businesses (not just LBS's) to prey on the lack of their customer's knowledge by putting themselves forward as purveyors of expert knowledge and call it 'service'. Unfortunately what often gets serviced is their bottom line.

    Have you been back to the store and asked them for a refund?
    That's going to be a phone call for tomorrow morning. The bikes been sitting in my apartment while I was out of town for the weekend and I didn't discover all of this until tonight.

  11. #11
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    I believe a letter to your state Attorney General may help sort this out. I was being brutalized by A,T&T over a Deal (scam) they ran in the early 2000's. Remember the 10-10-ATT campaign? Well after using it for months I get a huge phone bill. No help from my local they said " we just get notice from them of amount and pass it on." No help from AT&T either. I wrote my AG's office and after a few months of paying my phone bill except the disputed amount I was given a credit in the exact amount of the charges I refused to pay. All it took was a few letters from my AG's office and AT&T and it was all over. If you have a leg to stand on this may be an option should good will towards the LBS prove fruitless. You have been writing down times,dates and who you spoke with,right? If not start now.
    I owe-therefore I am.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    LBS's are handy for checking things out, test riding a particular model/size combo, trying on a brand of shoe to make sure their stated size fits you correctly, ect, before buying the exact same product online for 50% of the best LBS prices.

    OH your one of those...
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNiceGuy View Post
    You are correct. This is across two different stores that are a chain owned by one individual.
    Hi,

    Thanks for clarifying. I would get in contact with the owner of the stores, tell him what has happened to you. Tell him you'd like either (a) a bike properly fitted to you, completely set up properly, with no mechanical issues or (b) your money back.

    My guess is that what they will offer you is a complete re-do on the bike set-up. They'll ask you to bring your bike in so they can go through it again. At this point you need to decide whether you trust them enough to do that (including the fit) or whether you want to press for a refund.

    Good luck.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    The main problem with all LBSs' that I've patronized over the years, is that they want to sell you a bike that they have in stock. Only once have I let an LBS pick the size of bike for me, which was too small, and I now special order every bike since then to get the size I want.

    Usually those close out special deals really are not that special or deals at all.

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    Print out this thread.

    Take it to the owner of the chain.

    Tell him the name and location of the chain is the next thing you post in this thread if he doesn't fix this.

    The best thing that you can say about that chain is they misrepreented a mis-fit bike to you. If you paid by credit card, bring it back to the store, take photos of you bringing back to the store, leave it at the store, take photos of you leaving it at the store. Then do a charge back on your credit card.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by achoo
    Print out this thread.

    Take it to the owner of the chain.

    Tell him the name and location of the chain is the next thing you post in this thread if he doesn't fix this.

    The best thing that you can say about that chain is they misrepreented a mis-fit bike to you. If you paid by credit card, bring it back to the store, take photos of you bringing back to the store, leave it at the store, take photos of you leaving it at the store. Then do a charge back on your credit card.
    We don't know where OP lives or bought the bike, but generally I agree with these suggestions, and would expand a bit.

    OP could Google the store name to see if there's a customer comment page (such as at Yelp, or a yellow pages site), and post the experience details there (incorporate all of the relevant info from the thread). Owners/managers sometimes respond after having seen the negative comments. If the store is a Better Business Bureau member, make a complaint with BBB.

    Depending on OP's location, there may be a consumer phone and/or website hotline available through the city/county/state (such as state attorney general consumer protection division); in some cities and states, issuing a guarantee and refusing to honor it would be a deceptive consumer practice.
    Last edited by Seamless; 08-30-10 at 06:52 PM. Reason: typo
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    Senior Member FlatSix911's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cyclaholic
    LBS's are handy for checking things out, test riding a particular model/size combo, trying on a brand of shoe to make sure their stated size fits you correctly, ect, before buying the exact same product online for 50% of the best LBS prices.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    OH your one of those...
    Nothing wrong with that ... it is called a free market for a reason ...
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

  18. #18
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    Resolution:

    I decided to try calling up the manager of the store I had been treated well at. I explained the whole situation and suggested that it was probably best for both parties if I could just return the bike I had for a refund. This way I can comb over all the options at any LBS I want. I told him that if in the end his store had the best bike at a good price AND was willing to take the time required to educate at fit a noob then I would have no problem bringing the business back.

    He agreed to this and was quite pleasant about it. In fact I had a very nice conversation with him and was very open with my concerns. This guy was a cut above the rest I had talked to.

    Thanks everyone for the advice you gave. In the end I found it required A LOT less hassle than I was originally anticipating.

    Now on to do some homework.....

  19. #19
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    Good Ending.
    Have fun on your rides.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  20. #20
    Senior Member SunnyFlorida's Avatar
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    Great news.

    Had to edit my original post once I read the above.
    Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 08-30-10 at 09:08 PM.

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