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Was my terrible experience with Kuota normal or an exception?

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Was my terrible experience with Kuota normal or an exception?

Old 03-21-12, 02:49 PM
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ParisBuckeye
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Was my terrible experience with Kuota normal or an exception?

I only started riding again a few years ago and almost two years ago bought a Kuota KOM. Love the bike but the service has not been impressive according to my standards. After being ignored by the local bike shop, I contacted Kuota directly in Italy about what appeared to be cracks in the frame. My initial email was ignored because I made the mistake of sending it to the email address listed on their website. I was told that that one is not used, despite that being the only email listed on their website. Silly me for thinking such a thing. Even today, the same email address (info@kuota.it) is listed on their website so they clearly don’t care.

I sent them photos of the cracks (or scratches) and they kept promising that someone would return my call or email. Neither happened despite multiple calls and emails. Each time I called, I was told that the right person was not there today but would respond to me tomorrow. (The old “the check is in the mail” routine.)

I tried again with the bike shop and did get a response (finally) there. The response wasn't clear but he said he would send it to the factory to be sorted. It was supposed to be back in 3-4 weeks. Now I find out that the bike did not go there. Instead it went to the local distributor who concluded that they weren't cracks, but instead scratches on the surface. Kuota’s distributor insists (as does the local bike shop) that such scratches are common. Oddly I don’t recall hearing anything like that when I dropped off the bike for return. What has me suspicious is that the 2 year warranty expires in June so we’re not too far from that date.

Instead of coming back in 3-4 weeks that I was told, it has taken nearly 3 months. Between the bike shop and Kuota I'm less than impressed but maybe I’m wrong to be upset and feeling cheated by Kuota, Kuota’s distributor and my local bike shop.

So is this customer service unique to Kuota and their distribution channel or is this typical when buying a good bike? I can’t see myself ever purchasing a Kuota again after this experience but I would like to know if this is normal or not. Thanks for the feedback. I would also be interested in hearing who does offer good customer service in similar circumstances. I will eventually buy another bike but it will never be a Kuota bike.
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Old 03-21-12, 03:08 PM
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Maybe this is how the French/Europeans do customer service? Your profile says that you are in France.
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Old 03-21-12, 03:49 PM
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I can't comment about Kuota's warranty service, the shop i work at does sell the brand but hasn't had to seek a replacement frame for any of our customers. But i will talk about your situation in general. First is the frame really cracked? I have seen many more paint/finish crack/scratches then actual structural cracking over my years. Is there a problem other then the visual presence of the paint being broken? Many companies don't cover finish or paint issues without structure problems. This is where the retail (note I say retail) dealer's relationship with the distributor is key to any consideration if no structural failure. Second- the lack of the dealer's response is sad, or indicative to their relationship with you, or the distributor. You would hope that the dealer would go to bat for you and at least keep you up dated with their understanding of the status. they would do the follow up contact with the warranty center and let you know what they learn. Why they might not do this is speculation, too busy, don't wish to be bothered, know something that you don't (still not a good excuse).

Here in the US the warranty is usually dealt with by the distributor, being the manufacturer's agent. Many times (with the larger brands) they are the same. We sell a few brands and the largest one (in the US if not the world) is very easy to deal with. they have most to loose if they get a bad rep about their quality or warranty. Another brand (think of a classic and unique color...) is a pain to deal with. Guess which brand we like to sell?

Really when you buy a bike you are buying the bike shop (if that's where it's actually picked up from). Andy.
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Old 03-21-12, 05:33 PM
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One point that I failed to mention is that a few months after I purchased the bike, the ownership changed. I've always wondered if this has played a role in the process. That said, Kuota has been beyond awful and even today their website still lists the bad email address that they said they never read.

I honestly don't know whether it's a scratch or something more serious, which is why I took it to the shop. I suppose I am more sensitive to what I'm being told now since today, having a scratch is "common" but when I took it in, that was not mentioned. The shop did say that paint/finish cracks are common but since it's in the rear wheel well, I wondered. (Photo attached) Is a scratch like this really that common? I'm willing to accept that it's a simple reality of carbon so would like an honest, neutral answer.

I'm also wondering since they took nearly three months and now I'm 3 months away from my warranty expiring. The entire experience with Kuota and the local shop has been very disappointing. For the money I paid for an otherwise wonderful bike, I expected a lot more. Thanks again for your feedback.
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Old 03-21-12, 11:35 PM
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To me looks like a crack in the paint not in the carbon, that area wont crack at all. The only thing u can do is to peel the paint and look under it if there's a crack, besides that u have nothing else to be sure is its cracked unless u know somebody with x-ray vision or with a x-ray machine to look at the tubes.

That paint is easy to fix, just put tamiya hobby paint of car paint if you have more $ to spend.

Cant talk about how the things are resolved in europe but at least here u can call kuota america in canada to complain if the store is not doing a single thing. Which is the distributor of kuota in france??? not the shop but something like kuota france???

Good luck
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Old 03-21-12, 11:36 PM
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this is the guy you should be calling...

http://www.kuota.it/dealers.php



ETS VALDENAIRE S.A.
Z.I. Des Poncees
88200
Les Remiremont - Saint Etienne

+33-3-29232346
+33-3-29621233
info@valdenaire-sa.com
www.valdenaire-sa.com
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Old 03-22-12, 09:41 AM
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Thanks everyone for the feedback and assistance. I feel better hearing that it's simply a crack in the paint rather than something more serious. If they had not dragged out the process and ignored me (Kuota HQ included - they're just awful) I would not have been more willing to accept what they have to say from the start.

Curious though if it's common enough to get cracks in the paint in that specific area.
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Old 03-22-12, 11:22 AM
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Ever seen finish cracks on the top of Guitars?
like those, that is rapid temperature change shock most likely.
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Old 03-22-12, 03:10 PM
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I do ride in the winter down to around 20F so that could have easily happened.

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Ever seen finish cracks on the top of Guitars?
like those, that is rapid temperature change shock most likely.
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Old 03-22-12, 03:32 PM
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+1 looks like a scratch in the paint. Rather than wait for the incompetent company to respond I'd take the bike to any local shop you trust to get a second opinion on the crack/scratch. Things often look different in photos vs in person.

But to me, it looks perfectly fine.
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Old 03-22-12, 09:22 PM
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A few more points- A crack in a carbon frame is different in look then a metal frame. carbon frames tend to have ragged failures as the layers and fibers delam and break. The photo makes me think of something that got picked up by the tire and swept past the yoke. If it were a crack it would break through a brushed touch up job. So dab a little paint on it and see what happens over time. I doubt that temp differences were to blame. Bike paint is pretty flexible. Andy.
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Old 03-22-12, 09:52 PM
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Thanks again for the very helpful feedback. I certainly feel much better about this than I was before.

For the paint, what specific type (or brand?) is used in such circumstances?
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Old 03-22-12, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ParisBuckeye View Post
For the paint, what specific type (or brand?) is used in such circumstances?
For touch-ups? Little bottles of automotive touch-up paint, or even nail polish works. As long as you match the color.
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Old 03-23-12, 12:00 AM
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Model paints (for plastic miniatures like Tamiya or Testors) work well for this too. If you can't find the exact match you can always hand mix them, I've had great success with both straight out of the bottle and mixing them. Avoid the airbrush specific formulas (they'll be labeled as such) as they are on the thin side.
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Old 03-23-12, 08:35 AM
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Advice you to use tamiya because is alcohol/water based paint. Just pick a closer white and done with it. But again i you want to be sure just peel it a tiny bit, if its a real crack once the paint it off u will see and feel the crack in there big time.

As for the company, dont know what to tell you the only people i can say is BMC, they replace it my frame right away. Have the old frame cut in one wall of my garage as a sculpture

I have a kuota kharma, the previous model with round tubing and was an awesome machine, i was able to climb with that hehe If you want to trash your KOM let me know where u live and the day u will put it in the trash to pick it up ok?
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Old 03-24-12, 11:01 AM
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Where did you buy this bike? Was it brand new from an authorized dealer? I didn't see mention of that in the OP. If the bike was sold new from a shop that is an authorized dealer for Kuota, I'd say you have a legitimate gripe and shouldn't put up with lousy service like that.

If on the other hand, the bike came for some non-authorized online seller, or was purchased used, then there is no warranty coverage of any kind, and that might be what you are running into....
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Old 03-26-12, 02:05 AM
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I did purchase from an authorized dealer. Unfortunately the ownership of the shop changed a few months after I bought the bike and the new owner is not very customer focused. Nice enough guy, but any help needs to be pulled out of him. (I also understand that maybe as a North American my sense of service is different and I expect more.) He is now doing the painting over the crack in the surface which is fine, but the length of time to respond is ridiculous. The equally annoying part of this is how uninterested Kuota themselves were during the process. A simple response or show of life would have been appreciated after I phoned and emailed multiple times. To not even respond is unacceptable and it leaves me wondering about the seriousness of the company. How can a business grow and survive when they behave like this? There's too much competition out there to ignore customers and treat them so poorly.

The good news is that my bike is ready for pickup and it's sunny and pleasant. Can't wait to get my otherwise great bike back out on the road. Thanks again to everyone for the feedback.
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Old 03-26-12, 06:26 PM
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Maybe the problem is that you are American and because you are in Paris doesn't help too much either. Next time say you are canadian or put a canadian leaf in you clothing or in the back pack and I bet you will get better service. By experience and because i dont speak french I can tell you, the two cycling shops i went to just SUCKS in costumer service.

Dude u should have done the painting yourself, u can't depend on anybody for simple stuff like that you know. Happy your problem is getting better.
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Old 07-14-13, 08:14 PM
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Kuota contact information?

What was the contact info that you finally used to get in touch with Kuota? I have an issue and need to contact them as well. Not likely that they will help I am pessimistic from your post, but the correct contact information would be a good first step.

Cheers! Aimee


Originally Posted by ParisBuckeye View Post
I only started riding again a few years ago and almost two years ago bought a Kuota KOM. Love the bike but the service has not been impressive according to my standards. After being ignored by the local bike shop, I contacted Kuota directly in Italy about what appeared to be cracks in the frame. My initial email was ignored because I made the mistake of sending it to the email address listed on their website. I was told that that one is not used, despite that being the only email listed on their website. Silly me for thinking such a thing. Even today, the same email address (info@kuota.it) is listed on their website so they clearly don’t care.
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Old 07-14-13, 08:21 PM
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That could also be from something going around on the tire and scratching or a gouge, I had something like that and looking at it closely you can tell it was a deep scratch from an object that stick to the tire and went around. But on yours I also see a few things on the other side that look like small hair ling cracks.
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Old 07-14-13, 09:16 PM
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If you are in the USA or Canada you have to contact Kuota america that is in canada, if you call they will answer the phone.

If you are in europe you have to go to the kuota site and get the rep for the country you are in... cracks in the paint is a common problem, but the only issue is that you have to peel the paint off to be sure there is not a problem under the paint.

Good luck.

Originally Posted by Aimee7 View Post
What was the contact info that you finally used to get in touch with Kuota? I have an issue and need to contact them as well. Not likely that they will help I am pessimistic from your post, but the correct contact information would be a good first step.

Cheers! Aimee
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Old 07-15-13, 12:44 AM
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Hi Aimee

The only email that I could ever find was info@kuota.it. They did receive my emails and when I phoned Italy, they repeatedly told me they had received the emails and that someone would be getting back in contact with me. Not surprisingly, they never did. Their level of customer service is pathetic and I wouldn't recommend buying anything from Kuota if you expect service.

Good luck and I hope it all works out for you.
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