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aka baycat
8,480 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was wondering if LBS have return policies, I am not in need of returning my bike but was curious what exactly some of the LBS do.
What happens when you get a bike and it doesn't turn out that you like the ride or feel of it, are you free to exchange it for something else in the store?
I figure for mechanical problems or issues they shoudl fix it, am I correct?

Thanks for filling my curious return happy mind! :D

Start slow and taper off
790 Posts
I think there are a lot of "It depends"

Every shop I've worked at had a "NO Returns" policy on complete bikes, as well as special ordered frames, or frames that were assembled, but everyone of them also made exceptions. Often a bike that was clearly not ridden much (and by not much meaning 1 or 2 rides max) the owners would let the customer exchange the bike. Usually this was a customer buying a hybrid and realizing they need a mountain bike, or vice versa. Sometimes the customer was not happy with the size, and a couple of times the customer wanted something higher end (ie more expensive) and we'd take the bike back and they'd pay the difference.

The problems with bikes is the same deal with cars: once its been ridden its not a new bike. Suppose the shop takes back a bike you just bought for $1000 bucks and rode 5 times off road. Do they return to you $1000 and now are forced to sell the bike as slightly used? How much do they deduct from the price? I know I wouldn't be happy if a shop sold me something that's been used and I bought it at the "new" price.

Now if there is something mechanical, that's different, and again, policies vary drastically depending on the situation. Again, like cars, you can leave the lot with a car and a week later have something minor go wrong. 99% of the time the car company will repair your car and not just give you a new one. A friend of mine got a brand new VW Jetta, and 2 months later the paint started peeling in one spot. Despite threats from a lawyer, all VW would do would repaint the car. The same goes with bikes. Unless something major is wrong, it is the shop's (or bike company's) responsibility to take care of warranty issues, but its always up to the shop or bike company, and its rare that they'd give you a new bike if they can fix your issue.

Once a customer bought from a shop I worked at a pretty expensive titanium frame and an expensive parts package. As I begun building the bike up I right away noticed that the frame was somewhat misaligned. We had originally ordered the frame, as we didn't have his size, which took two or three days. The ti frame company told me send them the frame they would realign it, and then send it back. Considering how expensive the frame was, I found this unacceptable, for two reasons. One, it would be a longer wait to send the frame back, have them fix it, and send it back to me. That would be at least a week more, and with a customer spending 5 grand you try to do what you can to expedite things. And two, my thinking was if I was spending that much cash on a frame, I wanted to know it was right the first time and not having to be realigned before it was ever ridden. Since we were a pretty large dealer for them at the time, I very nicely demanded they send me a new frame out next day, then I would ship the bad frame back (I've seen companies claim to send a new frame when really only repairing the damaged frame). My concession was we as the shop would pay the shipping, but I wasn't going to budge on getting this guy a new frame. I'm sure once the company got the frame back they realigned the frame and sold it as new, but at least I didn't know about it. If for some reason the bike had left the store and then we discovered there was something like this wrong, something from day one, I'd go out of my way to make it right.

At one shop I worked at, the owner tended to be all over the place, one day bending over backwards for customers and the next refusing to budge an inch. We had an older mountain frame that had been sitting around for years, that we basically took every oddball and strange yet cool part we had lying around and built it up. The bike was super light, super trick looking, yet really cheap for the parts that were on it (today, with the way retro and vintage mtb parts are selling, it'd be high dollar). A "friend" of the owner had to have it, but first he had us switch the bars to risers, and the shifting from top mounts to gripshift. Kind of annoying, but okay.

Two weeks later, the guy comes back with the rear wheel trashed, the bike caked with mud, and clearly ridden hard. The guy tells us that although he likes the bike, his friends are making fun of him for all the old parts on the bike (old, but all new--nothing on the bike was ever ridden), and after riding one of their newer bikes he wants to return this bike for a different one. I was certain the owner would cave, but instead the two got into a heated argument, and the guy was forced to keep the bike.

Unfortunately, unless you find a shop with some type of demo program (and their few and far between), usually once you roll the bike out of the store its yours for the long haul, unless you're willing to take a loss on it.
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