About two months ago the right shifter paddle on my 2010 SRAM Force broke off in my hand. SRAM said 1) it's a known issue with some model years of Force brifters 2) we don't sell parts but we'll just give you a replacement and 2) we can't send it directly to you, you'll have to go through an LBS.
Ok no big deal, I've been dealing with my LBS in Pasadena (the one just off Colorado, not on Colorado, not on Walnut) for about seven years now, I'll just take it to him and see if he can deal with SRAM. So I took my 2010 Force brifter in to him the next day and he told me he'd give SRAM a call and figure out what's what. And this is where things start to get weird.
I checked a few days later and was told that SRAM are shipping a replacement. And thereafter I checked in every few days to a week but still no replacement from SRAM. Five weeks (!) go by and the guy at my LBS says "oh yeah it came in" and tries to hand me a Rival brifter. No no no. "I brought in a Force brifter, where's my Force replacement"? He asked me "we'll I don't suppose you just want to use the Rival one". Uh, no.
So I went home and fired off a nastygram to SRAM, explained the situation, and asked them what they intended to do to correct the situation. Here's part of the response I got from SRAM:
"It appears that there is some sort of mis-communication from your dealer, and this situation. I do very much question the replacement you received of what sounds like a potentially used or damaged lower tiered item. Also, the time frame is very unnerving. For an identified warranty situation such as this, we have a long standing policy of shipping out warranty orders direct to your dealer of choice within 24 hours, if the product is in stock. If that product is not in stock, we will upgrade, not downgrade in level of acceptable replacements."
"We ship direct to bicycle dealers for all warranty scenarios. In this way, we're also able to trace all orders received from the dealer, as well as tracking of items we ship to them. I have absolutely no record of any road shifter product being requested by, or being sent to the shop listed below. Therefore, I can't acceptably speak to the nature of the delay and the improper replacement of your Force shifter. This being said, I spoke to [Owner] at your local dealer. He did mention that he used a shifter from his product line in house, and did not obtain this from us."
"Iím happy to get you a set of replacement SRAM Red shifter set, as an upgrade to your Force shifters, sent you your dealer as a proper warranty replacement, no charge. This will be shipped priority to the dealer on your behalf on order #[Order]. If you have any further questions, please donít hesitate to ask."
Hmmm, very disconcerting (and also very cool on the part of SRAM!). This is someone I've been dealing with for years and have always trusted. Part of the above excerpt leads me to believe that that trust was misguided.
So today I went in to pick up the replacements. After rummaging behind the counter for a bit he put one brifter on the counter. I mentioned to him that I'd received an email from SRAM stating that they're going to send a new set. "Oh yeah, the other one is in the other case over there". Which is about 30 feet from where he had the first one behind the front counter. Oddly one was wrapped in bubble wrap, the other in a pink static bag. These just came in last Friday, why are they 1) in different packaging and 2) in separate locations in the shop?
Draw your own conclusions. I keep wondering what his intention was. To try and sell me the other one? To eBay it? WTF?
Personally I'm never going back there and if asked will recommend against patronizing that shop. With friends like these ...