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Old 04-08-09, 01:30 PM   #1
Johnyonics
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Service complaint- whaddya think

Below is my letter to the owner/manager of the LBS i have been using for three years. The story is in the complaint so I wont bore you anymore as it is a long post- sorry.

What do you think, too hard, too soft on them or what?

4/8/09

Dear ...,

First I would like to apologize for not speaking to you sooner and in person. I had hoped to stop by the shop and talk to you personally, but time has escaped me and now we are 3 weeks removed from my visit to the shop and I still havenít had the chance to make it into the shop.

Iíll start by saying I have always received at least satisfactory service and work from your shop. I have had my bike in for a tune-up and suspension fork replacement in the past and was happy with the results and cost of the service. We purchased my wifeís bike from you and had a pleasant experience as well. But unfortunately this time I was disappointed following my tune-up last month.

I had dropped of my bike for a yearly tune-up and decided to get the overhaul this year since I planned on giving my bike to a friend and upgrade my ride at the same time. I didnít want to give a friend a bike that needed anything so I figured the overhaul would be worth the extra cost. When I came in to pick up the bike after being called saying it was done I realized there must have been a miscommunication. The bike still had the rear tire and rim removed awaiting a new one. The voicemail I had received the day earlier said the bike was ready for pick-up but that during the inspection the rear tire was found to be separating, and to give a call if I wanted the shop to go ahead and replace it. I did not call because by the sounds of it the bike was ready other than if I wanted you to replace the tire. This really was not a big deal to me at all; I just figured I misunderstood the message. After getting the tire back on the bike I paid and wheeled it out to my truck. I did notice while walking it out that both tires were still flat. Not a problem, I knew the rear tire was just put back on and needed to be replaced anyways so I would fill them both up then. It did cross my mind, though, that one of the items listed on the tune-up checks was inflating both tires. I thought at least the front would be filled.

About two days later I wanted to give the bike to my friend and had him come to my house. Unfortunately right after telling I had the bike tuned up and it was all ready for him to take we discovered the bike wasnít ready at all. We changed the tire out in my garage and filled both with air then reinstalled them in the quick releases. Gave them a quick spin and they both were rubbing the brakes very noticeably. I hadnít noticed the rub previously because the tires were flat and I figured the friction was from that. I lifted the bike off the ground and ensured the quick releases were seated correctly and gave them another whirl, still rubbing badly. So I took about 10 minutes and re-adjusted both sets of brakes.

Then it was time for him to take it for his first ride around the block. He came back and asked if he was doing something wrong. He said it wasnít shifting from the middle ring to the big ring. Sure enough, a click of the shifter moved the derailleur just far enough to rub the chain but not enough to move up to the big ring. By holding the shifter past the click all the way to its end it would grab the chain after about 3 strokes. Not what I expect from an STX/LX equipped bike. We spent a few more minutes adjusting that.

By this time I was quite aggravated and was wondering if anything had been done at all. Shifting and brakes are probably the two most noticeable tune-up items and neither left the shop in operating order. This is not the quality I have been accustomed to receiving, especially for $105. Which brings me to asking what the extra ten dollars for ďmisc partsĒ was for. Maybe thatís standard for a shop to do and I just didnít realize it. Kind of seems like a shady car shop type thing though. The cost of standard supplies, grease etc for a tune up should be included in the advertised price. If however there was something like spokes or a brake cable replaced I donít have a problem paying for it but I never received an itemized list so I donít know.

I did do a quick look over the hubs and bottom bracket and they looked clean and looked like they had fresh grease but after the previously noted workmanship it made my wonder what was done and what wasnít.

Any response is up to you, I am not asking for anything. I at least wanted you to know about my experience. If you have split work crew completing tune-ups and a junior mechanic missed some stuff that the experienced mech thought was already done I could see something like this slipping through. However I am still disappointed.

Best regards,
John
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Old 04-08-09, 01:50 PM   #2
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John, I'm sorry to hear about your crappy shop.

I'd like to tell you that tune up's are easy and you need to grab a wrench and learn to work on your own bikes but I know some people that don't know which end goes up, so props to you for utilizing a LBS and boosting the economy.

I personally wouldn't have taken the bike out of the bldg w/o the tires being aired up. I would also have taken a spin in the parking lot.


Now enough of what you did wrong. That's basic bike maintenance that shouldn't be tricky at all. Give them the letter and have them "owe you" a proper tune-up on your new ride...or find a new shop man.
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Old 04-08-09, 01:59 PM   #3
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I'd be pissed! I would have taken it back and had them fix it.

The letter sounds OK, but why aren't you going into the shop to talk to them? Whatever your tone is, the reader will interpret it however he thinks it was written. Face to face communication is always best. If this shop is any good, they should want to make it up to you.
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Old 04-08-09, 02:07 PM   #4
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I would pick up the telephone to complain and expect a store credit on future service.
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Old 04-08-09, 03:00 PM   #5
Johnyonics
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I could have done the work myself, I have in the past but was pressed for time last month and also liked supporting the shop. They've been good to me in the past.

I didn't go in person for the same reason -time. And when I tried calling he was out or busy with a customer. So I wrote the letter before more time passed.

That said I did buy a new bike from a shop 10 minutes up the road. The new bike comes with a years maintenance so I really don't need to go back if I don't want to.
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Old 04-08-09, 03:07 PM   #6
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Man,I feel your pain.
I've had bad luck with my LBS, I'ts bike season and they are busy.
I'm sure they'll tell you to bring the bike back in and they'll fix it. But to me thats not good enough. They should give you a full refund and fix the bike for you time and trouble. Thats how they could regain you as a customer. I like to be compensated for my TIME, just as they are for theirs.
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Old 04-08-09, 03:40 PM   #7
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Ask yourself what you would want if you owned the shop? Me, I would want someone to come back in and talk to me.
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Old 04-08-09, 03:48 PM   #8
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It seems bike shops are hit and miss. The performance near me has done only quality work every time I or someone I know has used them. But the LBS seems to have an odd habit of over charging and doing poor work. Charged one of my friends 30$ to install BB7's, and told him one of the calipers wouldnt fit on his fork(which has 51mm IS mounts). So that would have been 60$ to install brakes front and rear. Not sure why he didnt just ask me in the first place, but w/e. It took all of 10 minutes to uninstall the old ones, bolt on the new (took about 30 seconds of fiddling to figure out how the pad adjust worked), and I only charged him 2$ (plus 5$ for the old FR-5 lever I had laying around and 2$ for the cable).
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Old 04-08-09, 04:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by con View Post
Ask yourself what you would want if you owned the shop? Me, I would want someone to come back in and talk to me.
I'll second that.

I think it would be handled better by a visit to the shop and a talk with the owner. If you feel like you would lose your temper in person, the letter would be the second option IMO.
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Old 04-08-09, 09:51 PM   #10
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Similar thing happened to a friend of mine, who took her expensive road bike to be tuned for the coming weekend's race. The bike was fine, but having pre-race jitters she just wanted to be certain everything is OK, as several months of costly physical training and preparation was at stake. She took her bike to me that night after picking her bike up from her LBS because of odd noises and mis-shifts. The brakes were messed up something bad and both derailleurs were off by a mile, nothing was even wiped clean. We had no option but to fix it right then and there as her race was the next morning.

I encouraged her to complain, but her confidence had gone and didn't want her bike to be taken back to the same place. I had offered many times to tune her bike for her in the past, but being a good friend she wouldn't have it, and I'm just as pig headed not to charge her for any work I do.

In time she and her husband bought tools and taught themselves to maintain their 4 bikes and they now do their own maintenance. I suppose no amount of explanation or remedial servicing would ever put her mind at ease ever again after something like that, so she found no point in going back.

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Old 04-08-09, 10:03 PM   #11
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While I've had some good bike shop experiences and know some great guys who work in shops, I prefer to rely on myself. Just the effort of taking a bike to and back from a shop likely exceeds that needed for a simple tuneup. That said, if I am going to have a shop do something, they should do it and I'd likely not even get the bike much past the door of the bike shop before turning it around and saying what the hell, the rims are out of true, the tires are flat, etc as in your case. I can't even imagine writing a letter about it 3 weeks later rather than just taking it in and making them fix it while I wait when I paid $105 (for what?)...
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Old 04-12-09, 10:14 AM   #12
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Meh. Everyone makes mistakes. Give the LBS a chance to make it up to you - as you said, you've always had good experience before.

As someone who runs a small business, I and my staff work VERY hard to keep customers happy. Occasionally, compost happens. I'd always appreciate a chance to correct any mistakes we make. Most likely, so would the LBS owner. Give it another go.

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Old 04-12-09, 10:22 AM   #13
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If the LBS is any good at all they'll make things right with you.
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