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Lone Wolf McQuade
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2,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I should be able to do some work on my bike but my LBS should be able to do it better... right?

I dropped off my bike for them to install new bearings in the pivots.

9 days later and $150 bucks lighter I picked it up and headed up into the mountains.

The bearings were $60 bucks over the quote (whatever!)----waiting in the shop 35 minutes for them to put the bike back together after they called you a day earlier saying it was ready to go (c'mon already!!)----getting charged $75 bucks for a new XT bottom bracket that wasn't an issue and they didn't clear with you first (R U kidd'n me!!!)----driving 30 miles out to the trailhead and having the crank arm fall off the bike at mile 6 (gett'n a little pissed!!!!)----calling the bike mechanic and having him tell you, "Dude, my bad, the cap is here in the stand." (PRICELESS :madman: )

What would you say to the LBS mechanic or manager when you bring the bike back in?

What should the LBS mechanic or manager do for you?
 

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I'm SUCH a square....
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1,987 Posts
With receipt in hand, the LBS would hear:
"You quoted me THIS for the bearings, and charged me THAT -- you owe me the difference! New BB I didn't authorize -- you owe me for that! Failure on the trail because you did an unauthorized repair -- I want a full refund of the labor costs! I'll pop for the bearings, they're in, but you lost it after that, and I'll see one of two things -- my money back or you in court."

No need to say you'll never be back, or you're taking your business elsewhere -- they won't work with you again after this, and thank god for that!
 

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Premium Member
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8,018 Posts
He should let you kick him in the nuts for 1) overcharging you for the work that was quoted, 2) replacing parts that were unnecessary and charging you for them, and 3) doing the work poorly on top of it.
 

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It's about showing up.
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12,738 Posts
If you go in with a nasty attitude

you may get nothing at all. Think about what you want in compensation. Realistically you cannot get anything for your annoyance or loss of time on the trail. There is value in what was done without your consent.
Talk to the manager or owner. Explain what happened. At the very least you are going to want validation for what happened. Second you would like to be compensated for the excesses. It would be nice if they took care of you somehow. I'd be hard pressed to accept something in the future and would prefer something on the barrelhead.
If the manager doesn't get it he doesn't get it. No amount of being nasty will get you anywhere.
 

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1,005 Posts
I'll probably get flamed for this, but screw the LBS. Everybody says support your LBS but I'd rather support my family with money I'm saving ordering online and working on my own bikes.
 

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Taco Flavored Kisses
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82 Posts
kosayno said:
I'll probably get flamed for this, but screw the LBS. Everybody says support your LBS but I'd rather support my family with money I'm saving ordering online and working on my own bikes.
No flames from me, I agree. It seems, in my experience at least, that in-person customer service gets worse and worse, and online prices get better and better. I need to eat too, and if i get better service in the deal and get to learn how to work on my bike at the same time, then forget the local shop.
 

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Taco Flavored Kisses
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82 Posts
And to the original poster: If they seriously replaced your perfectly fine bottom bracket without asking you, then charged you for it - that is pure bullcrap. Walk in there with a broom and a bottle of KY Warming and give 'em what they deserve.
 

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Banned
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16,457 Posts
Find the owner, tell them what happened. Make sure they know how upset and angry you are without taking it out on him. That way he will convey your anger to the mech.

This is the situation I fear most and why I work on my own bikes. Mine and mine gf's life, safety, and ability to earn incomes is too precious. Back where I used to live, the only shop I'd trust in the area hired the stoner mechanic I used to work with at another ripoff bike shop. I used to see him do some gnarly stuff at the previous shop to get some extra cash.

As far as the parts you didn't ask for- I always used to have the shops write on the bill to call me before any work is performed. No work without an authorization from me, period. Several times I would come back with bills over $200, and I argued every time. Every time I ended up getting out for about $20-$30 in parts. I ask them to put the old defective parts back on, but by that time they are already in the garbage, so they panic. They know they are in the wrong and take care of me because I would never pay those ridiculous prices. This is the reason I learned to wrench myself. It was a constant nightmare to go back for a part and come back with a $200 bill when it was to 1. have them speak to a rep and see if the failure was warranty, under their suggestion, and 2. not authorized.
 

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Old man on a bike
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12,395 Posts
Fortunately for you and the LBS you weren't hurt as a result of the poor workmanship. I know someone who had the same issue after service on his crankset, altho I think it was more than 6 miles before it happened, and happened at the beginning of a trip 1100 miles from the shop (but we were in Moab so no shortage of local help, was the first external bb crank I'd even seen so was wanting someone else to check it out). His shop normally does excellent work, too.

Also consider that some bikes you need to remove the crank to get at all the pivots; they might have noticed some bad bearings, but should have at the least saved the bad ones for you to have some confirmation of their work.

Bottom line it's you that needs satisfaction, I couldn't tell you what would satisfy you for how you feel. I would present the situation and how it affected you straightforward to the owner/manager and see what they say and offer, their words and offer might just satisfy you.
 

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Nu-School Trail Rat
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249 Posts
The lack of cap will not make the crank arm fall off unless that binder bolts were not torqued properly.

This is beyond incompetency.

Another reason to not led LBS wrenches near your bike...

...they should stick to rolling spliffs.
 

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A wheelist
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5,991 Posts
What's done is done but you must learn how to do simple stuff like this (errr......everything on a bike is simple) at home. You've been too naive because a sign over a door, an apron on a person or a wrench in the hand is NO GUARANTEE OF COMPETENCE. Go back and read the last sentence again.

So then how can you tell an expert from a bluffer who wants to separate you from your money? The answer is - without the expensive hindsight like you now have, you can't.

I started mechanicing bikes when there was no available information. We learned by doing. Now it's dead easy - the internet has everything you need. Last week I fitted my first Hollowtech crankset and BB ~ the type that just fell off for you ~ and before the parts arrived (5 days over the weekend from USA to Canada and at half the price a LBS would charge) I knew exactly how to install and adjust those parts. The mail order guy (Bikeman.com!) shipped me the tools I needed too. Google is your friend. Typing in "Hollowtech" gets you stuff like this -

http://www.bikemagic.com/news/article.asp?UAN=3914&v=4

Pity your (cough) "mechanic" (cough-cough) didn't take the time to Google eh?
 

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1,995 Posts
It took about 4 consecutive bad experiences at 4 different shops for me to learn to work on my own bike.

I hear lots of good things about one local shop from friends, but unfortunately for that shop I've become pretty self-sufficient.

Ant
 

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1,393 Posts
GaryFishersFisherman said:
Sounds like the Illegal Immigrants have finally made it to the back of the LBS's. Either that or your LBS just hired a pimple faced 13 year old that just graduated from Sport Authority bike school.
Along this line of thinking, I'd suggest you give the owner or manager of the LBS a first chance to rectify the situation after explaining the scenario. Because that is really bad service and they should recognize it. Keep in mind great businesses have to hire new employees and can sometimes make mistakes when doing so. The mechanic who totally screwed up the situation may be out of a job over it.

Now if the bike shop doesn't really feel bad and "fix" the situation, I'd get a new shop.

(I'm pretty sure my local shop has a standing rule that while one particular mechanic will be assigned to a project and do the work, that mechanic and second mechanic both have to check the work and ride the bike to approve it. So things like things are far less likely to happen when they follow a policy like that. I'm also pretty sure my local shop doesn't let new mechanics touch the bikes of its good customers, ensuring only the experienced and already trustworthy mechanics touch their bikes.)
 

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1,602 Posts
Get in touch with the owner.

Set up a meeting at a scheduled time. Don't just "drop in" because that indicates a casual issue. This is a serious issue, you need undivided attention. If they say "just come in" insist that you would like to set up an appointment because this is a serious issue. If they refuse, tell them, OK, I will be in at 2:00 today, will you be there? Be on time if not a minute or two early.

Make sure you have EVERYTHING documented. Write it down and print off 2 copies, one for you, one for them.

Figure out what you reasonably expect from them. REASONABLY. Don't insist on being compensated for the trail issues or loss of a ride. The key to winning is to not be whining.

Go through your list of grievences, with the manager, calmly. Don't inject any emotion whatsoever. Refrain from calling the mechanic any names or questioning anybody's skills or capabilities.

Once you get done simply ask "how are you going to make this right"?

You've emphasized the importance (set an appointment).
You have documented everything without emotion.
You have stated your case.

Now sit back and let them think about the solution (don't offer up what you are asking for just yet).

Often they will give you everything you wanted and more if you just let them squirm a bit. In situations like this, the first person to speak generally loses.

If they come back with less than what you want, calmly pull out your recommendation and walk through it with them. With each item, make sure you have a reasonable answer for them, don't just say you owe me this. "The crank arm was not put back on properly, causing a trailside failure, you don't expect me to pay for that service, right?"

Generally you should be able to get everything that you want if you just approach it properly. I am amazed at the number of people that blow a perfect situation by injecting the following:

Emotion
Unreasonable demands
Defensiveness
Threats
etc.

Remember that an LBS lives on their reputation, reminding them of this in a very calm tone helps emphasize that if you leave as an unhappy customer, 20 people that you ride with (THEIR potential customer base) will hear this story (but don't threaten to tell everyone, just let it be implied).

If you handle this properly the world is your oyster.

At the end of the whole thing be sure to A.) thank them for their time and resolution as well as B.) ask them the name of a different mechanic at their shop to have work on your bike in the future.

This is the case of a bad mechanic, not necessarily a bad shop. If your attitude is "I will NEVER ever use them again", then stop now, chalk it up to experience and never use them again.
 

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A wheelist
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5,991 Posts
Folks, here we have an expert negotiator who has just provided and excellent primer on how to get what you want and deserve. We should all print this out and file it. MTBR should make this a sticky. Thank you Austin.
 
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