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Old 08-21-12, 07:38 PM   #1
Sea Green Sky
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Beware of this SoCal LBS (And kudos to SRAM)

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 ...
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Old 08-21-12, 08:33 PM   #2
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Wow, pretty crappy of that shop to jack you like that. Takes "support your LBS" to another level.
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Old 08-21-12, 08:41 PM   #3
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there's a few bike shops I can recall in that area. Velo Pasedena, Open Road, Pasadena Cyclery, Performance, and Incycle?
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Old 08-21-12, 08:51 PM   #4
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Anything other than handing you the brifters in the red cardboard box would be weird.

You think they would have played it straight up for round 2? Wtf.
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Old 08-22-12, 01:19 AM   #5
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I've found that crummy shops really show their stripes when it comes to warranty replacements. Even if it only takes 5 minutes, it's 5 minutes they don't get paid for - so they'd rather piss off a customer than do it.
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Old 08-22-12, 07:59 AM   #6
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I have no experience with shops in Pasadena, but regarding SRAM, I had my left Force brifter break several years ago. I took it to the shop I usually deal with (Two Wheeler Dealer in Brea), gave the dead brifter to Beatrice.

Two days later, I get a call from Bea saying my new brifter had come in from SRAM. Not only was it a new Force brifter, it works LOTS better than the old one ever had.

So kudos to TWD in Brea and esp. to Beatrice and to SRAM for taking care of the situation so quickly.

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Old 08-22-12, 08:53 AM   #7
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Sucks about the LBS, kind of curious which one it is so we can avoid it, but definitely kudos to SRAM. Now that sounds like some good customer service.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:56 AM   #8
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Please PM me the name of the shop. My favorite shop is in Pasadena, and I have to make an effort to drive from Palmdale to patronize this one particular shop. I'd like to know if the shop you are having problems with is the one I frequent. Thanks.
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Old 08-22-12, 09:51 AM   #9
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I would give them a negative review on Yelp.
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Old 08-22-12, 10:03 AM   #10
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I would give them a negative review on Yelp.
I had a problem with a shop, I bashed them on the 3 sites/forums and my blog. I got immediate results and an emailed apology from the owner and I never gave him my email. Heck, if somebody tries to fffffff (well I won't say it here) but if they try to do me, I'll try to do them first.

Fair is fair and an eye for an eye!
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Old 08-22-12, 10:47 AM   #11
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On the flip side off the coin, I had a shop, Rock-N-Road in Irvine tale care of a warranty issue for me. Broke the frame on my '97 Rockhopper. I bought the bike from Supergo, who is no longer in business. RNR didn't get a dime from me, just a small headache. When I buy a new bike, they will get the first crack.

No excuse for poor service. The folks who buy expensive bikes aren't the types to put up with it.
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Old 08-22-12, 10:52 AM   #12
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I think if you go to google maps and look for bike shops in Pasadena, it's pretty obvious which one he's talking about. All the other shops nearby are either on walnut or on Colorado or nowhere near either (except for the one between.)

The stone cold irony of the situation is that there are TWO other bike shops within crawling distance of that one he's talking about (assuming I got the shop right). you would think being so close to the competition would promote some kind of crazy sense that if you don't take care of the customer, they'll leave.
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Old 08-22-12, 11:13 AM   #13
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If it's the shop I'm thinking of, before I moved out of the SGV, I loved browsing around his shop because it was just stuffed to the gills with crap that you just couldn't find any place else. Dude had to be a hoarder. I'll bet you could build up a nice lugged cromoly 14 speed with bar-end shifters from stuff he just has lying around. I never bought a bike there, just parts and stuff, because every time I bought something he made me feel like he was doing me a favor. I would believe your version of events even without the SRAM email because the owner has no personality or business sense at all. I'm shocked he's still in business after all these years, especially with the competition in Pasadena. But I'm glad he is because his place is so cool.
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Old 08-22-12, 11:21 AM   #14
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This issue is not about customer service, but plain thievery. This is a spectacularly dishonest shop!
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Old 08-22-12, 12:42 PM   #15
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East side of town, just a couple doors north of Colorado?
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Old 08-22-12, 02:09 PM   #16
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You may want to clarify your description of the shop a bit. There are at least three shops that fit that description (within a couple blocks of Colorado, but not on Walnut). I'm certain I know the one you mean, but the other two (one a small chain and the other a major chain) probably don't deserve to be even potentially tarred with the same brush.
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Old 08-22-12, 02:44 PM   #17
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This issue is not about customer service, but plain thievery. This is a spectacularly dishonest shop!
I think thievery is a bit strong. OP didn't buy anything since it was a warranty replacement. Shop Guy offered up seemingly new replacements so what got stolen? It is just bad customer service. If it's the shop I'm thinking of (and he hasn't changed his ways), I wouldn't doubt for a second that the F&R brifters were in different parts of the shop. The Shop Guy has so much crap it's a wonder he can find anything in that place.

Shop Guy has forgotten 100x more about bikes than I'll ever know. He can be gruff and he's clueless about running a business or customer service. But I fail to see how he stole anything from the OP or SRAM.
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Old 08-22-12, 03:12 PM   #18
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I think thievery is a bit strong. OP didn't buy anything since it was a warranty replacement. Shop Guy offered up seemingly new replacements so what got stolen?
The way I see it, 1) Rival for Force? Really? 2) Gets a set of Reds, tries to offer OP one lever when SRAM sent him both. It's not thievery. I think both cases are ATTEMPTED thievery. IMHO, the shop needs to be names to both protect future customers and keep the reputation of the other shops in tact.
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Old 08-22-12, 03:18 PM   #19
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The way I see it, 1) Rival for Force? Really? 2) Gets a set of Reds, tries to offer OP one lever when SRAM sent him both. It's not thievery. I think both cases are ATTEMPTED thievery. IMHO, the shop needs to be names to both protect future customers and keep the reputation of the other shops in tact.
I agree...sounds to me like the shop was trying to keep the 2nd brifter to sell it themselves for a profit...

and that the shop should be named...
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Old 08-22-12, 03:41 PM   #20
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Based on the location information given it'll probably be Incycle Pasadena. If it is, I'd attribute this story to laziness rather than malice on their part. Altho they are friendly, the guys there seem a bit too chilled out sometimes. The San Dimas store is the Incycle location I tend to go to now, even though I pass both every time I go to work.
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Old 08-22-12, 03:49 PM   #21
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The way I see it, 1) Rival for Force? Really? 2) Gets a set of Reds, tries to offer OP one lever when SRAM sent him both. It's not thievery. I think both cases are ATTEMPTED thievery. IMHO, the shop needs to be names to both protect future customers and keep the reputation of the other shops in tact.
Like I said, Shop Guy is no good at business or customer service. Obviously, Shop Guy never called SRAM in the first place like he said he would. Offering the lower spec brifter was just a bad attempt at customer service to get OP back on the road and keep him happy. OP rightfully turned it down. After OP's complaint to SRAM a new set of upgraded brifters is sent. Who knows how they were sent or what instructions were inlcuded with them? When OP mentioned the email from SRAM, Shop Guy installed them both without hesitation. Having been in his shop, seen how poorly it's organized, and how inept he can be at business, this tale doesn't surprise me at all. But thievery or attempted thievery? No way.

You've got to see that place. It's huge. Everytime I have ever been into his shop it's like walking into an episode of hoarders, even after he moved into his current digs. He's like some sort of mad scientist.
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Old 08-22-12, 03:56 PM   #22
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Based on the location information given it'll probably be Incycle Pasadena. If it is, I'd attribute this story to laziness rather than malice on their part. Altho they are friendly, the guys there seem a bit too chilled out sometimes. The San Dimas store is the Incycle location I tend to go to now, even though I pass both every time I go to work.
I think the op should name the shop because I was thinking about the other shop instead of Incycle.
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Old 08-22-12, 03:57 PM   #23
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Based on the location information given it'll probably be Incycle Pasadena. If it is, I'd attribute this story to laziness rather than malice on their part. Altho they are friendly, the guys there seem a bit too chilled out sometimes. The San Dimas store is the Incycle location I tend to go to now, even though I pass both every time I go to work.
Incycle is several blocks off Colorado and OP said just off Colorado. The LBS I think the OP is writing about is on the east side of town and is just a couple or three doors off Colorado. I think the OP did not name the shop for a reason. It was the OP's issue with the shop not ours, so I think it's up to the OP whether or not to name the shop. The shop I'm thinking of is also big enough and disorganized enough that the brifter set could be split up and in different cases thirty feet apart.
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Old 08-22-12, 05:11 PM   #24
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Like I said, Shop Guy is no good at business or customer service. Obviously, Shop Guy never called SRAM in the first place like he said he would. Offering the lower spec brifter was just a bad attempt at customer service to get OP back on the road and keep him happy. OP rightfully turned it down. After OP's complaint to SRAM a new set of upgraded brifters is sent. Who knows how they were sent or what instructions were inlcuded with them? When OP mentioned the email from SRAM, Shop Guy installed them both without hesitation. Having been in his shop, seen how poorly it's organized, and how inept he can be at business, this tale doesn't surprise me at all. But thievery or attempted thievery? No way.

You've got to see that place. It's huge. Everytime I have ever been into his shop it's like walking into an episode of hoarders, even after he moved into his current digs. He's like some sort of mad scientist.
I would hope you are right and I am wrong. I'm going of the OP's details. You have been to the store and know the people. TO ME, it sounds fishy. However, I've been wrong before!
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Old 08-22-12, 05:37 PM   #25
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I would hope you are right and I am wrong. I'm going of the OP's details. You have been to the store and know the people. TO ME, it sounds fishy. However, I've been wrong before!
You're right it is fishy. It's crystal clear Shop Guy never called SRAM like he said he would. That alone is enough to keep me from buying a big ticket item there. I've bought four bikes over the years since I first stumbled upon his old location, but none from his shop. I just think (and hope) I'm right that he doesn't deserve being labeled a thief. It's more like if Doc Emmett Brown owned a bike shop, it would look and feel like this shop; he's got bigger ideas bouncing around his head than the day-to-day operations of a store.
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