Monday, May 25, 2009

Bike Trap

I'm sure I've railed against bad customer service before, especially concerning Cegetel who now has no chance of selling me anything until I'm dead. That was some time ago however. Since then, I've managed to return goods without a problem to Decathlon, Carrefour and Darty, and was even able to cancel an unwanted insurance policy during the period of grace.

However, I'm not impressed with Mr B, my local bike shop guy. I bought my eldest's bike from him last September in an effort to support local businesses. I could have paid less elsewhere, I'm sure, but I know very little about bikes and wanted to be on good terms with Mr B down the road.

To thank me for my custom, he has fitted two faulty rear derailleurs both of which caused problems during mountain bike competitions leading to my son having to pull out of the cross-country races he was doing. He screwed the pedals so tightly on that we couldn't remove them and had to get him to loosen them. He even fitted an automatic pedal on the wrong way.

When I complained about the first derailleur which broke just a month after purchase, Mr B refused to replace it for free, insisting that I should at least pay for the part, 80Eurs. I wasn't happy but he refused to budge on the issue. I wasn't happy about the pedals either, especially as we had wanted to remove the automatic pedals prior to a race but couldn't, and my son, who hadn't quite got used to them, crashed into someone whilst trying to get his foot in, and sprained his ankle, thus ending the race.

I'm sure I'm not getting either good service or good workmanship from this guy. I'm also sure he doesn't give a stuff, so I decided I would remove my custom and take it to the shop where I bought my youngest's bike. They seem to be more professional, don't take the piss, and appreciate a good customer.

Interestingly, when I took the bike and explained the situation, and how much I'd been charged for the part, he didn't believe me. So, my deduction is that despite Mr B telling me he'd make me pay the part only, he actually fitted a poor quality derailleur so that I'd also pay for the work. The guy at the Bicycle Store told me he'd fit a better quality one for 40Eur.

Hopefully, my eldest will actually be able to finish a race at the next competition.

Yesterday we were at St Côme, near Calvisson. It was a blazing 32°C so really tough for the competitors. In the morning they had orienteering which was a bit difficult by the sound of it. Reports came back of children crying because they thought they were lost. Being in the middle of the garrigue there were very few landmarks - just paths and bushes.

In the afternoon was the cross-country with a mixture of single track technical bits, open speedier paths and a climb. My eldest said it was a good course and was furious that the derailleur let him down after one circuit. He was supposed to do 9km while my youngest finished his 4km.

I sat and sweltered, plastering on sun cream and thinking it was a bit early for so much sun. Are we in for a scorching summer?!

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