Refund policy experience with a recent bike purchase.

I thought my experience with a recent bicycle purchase might benefit someone who might not have considered their rights on a request for a refund. I don't think it is necessarily beneficial to name the store involved, and my main point is that if a bicycle store does not have a Returns Policy section on their website, it might be worth requesting one prior to making a purchase.

I spoke with the manager of a bicycle store in Sydney over a bicycle which was being promoted as a Track Bike. I've wanted a fast track bike for the road for some time, the idea of being in total contact with the road appeals to me, and after finding a good price on the Jamis Sonik, I spoke with the manager and was informed that it is a perfectly suitable bicycle for the road.

It's a lovely bike and I do not want to part with it, however there is no way that I can possibly ride this bicycle on the road -- clearly it's not designed for it, it's just far too stiff and the aluminium frame sends every shock up through the frame and into the rider. With an 80kg rider on the pedals, it is one pothole away from a catastrophic frame failure, IMHO. I realized this in short time and I was back at the store within 15 hours requesting a refund, even suggesting a reasonable restocking fee of 5%, since I was willing to accept some responsibility in not realizing the problem in my test ride over the smooth car park surface out the back of the store prior to the purchase.

I was informed that I could only get back 70% of the purchase price as 30% would have to be put towards tyres! Whoa!? $150 for each tyre!? When that question didn't work, or didn't sit comfortably, the manager quickly jumped on some other excuse about him losing money on the bike, even though the bike hadn't been ridden and still had the rubber mould nodules on the tyres.

So, a word of warning to others, if the bike shop's website doesn't have a RETURN POLICY section it's because they have a policy which will make you feel cheated if you want to make a return. This has sadly been my experience. If they don't have one, they certainly don't have a fair one, so request this information in advance. No one wants to return a bike, but we all make mistakes and it is just unfair to be improperly informed so the manager can rack up a sale.

Most reputable stores have this information on their site, and it is a lesson I have now learned at significant hassle through researching their policies in reflection over the absence of one in this instance, and travelling out to the store which is not local.

I fully expect to get my refund through NCAT, since I was sold a bicycle which is not reasonably fit for the purpose I bought it for. It is a true track bike, light and stiff and fast, and riding it on the road is not only unsafe for the rider but other road users.

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To pursue this is going to take a lot of your time and of the bike shop owner. You have said you would be prepared to allow a 5% "restocking fee" and you reported the owner wanted 30%. Regardless of your rights ( which will come down to a you said / he said) is there a figure between 5 & 30 that you can both agree on?
G'day Bill, the distance between the store and my home is significant, this is not my local bike shop, and the manager knew it was a hike for me to get out there. Twice. The second time when I requested the return, and in my view that was the time to enter into fair negotiations and strike an acceptable figure for both of us.

Including the 30% as a legitimate figure, even one on the extreme side of the store's negotiation is to accept that $150 per tyre is a fair request. It's not. It would've been different if he outlined a valid restocking scenario by itemising each point. He didn't. He just picked a figure out of the air, perhaps thinking I would impulsively accept, and then when I didn't, he offered more twaddle.

At this stage, I have outlayed nearly $50 for the NCAT application and included an order for money to recoup that money, so for me to negotiate now would be to accept that there is good grace from the bike store manager, and there isn't because there wasn't!

Up to 6 weeks to get a hearing date, up to 5 days to receive a response from Jamis Bikes, this thread allowing me to crystallise my thoughts and arguments, and I am in this for the long haul. I have made an order for a refund and return of goods, and in addition, an order for money as compensation for me having to go down this hassle route. It's a hassle, true, but it needn't be a waste of my time if the order for compensation reflects the time I've spent on the matter. This could have all been avoided if the manager began the discussion from a point of fairness. To answer your question, the answer is no, not at this point. We'll see how he approaches the conciliation portion of the NCAT process, but it'll be difficult for me to forget $150 a tyre, which is a low-profile high performance tyre for a car! Lol.

The problem with overnight possession of a track bike is that is sufficient to attend an evening race meet, which means he has to get his mechanic to check the bike 100%, and _realistically_ since we are all banging on about dealer integrity , he would need to identify the bike as ex:demo to future customers, which requires a further discount to get it sold.

ie it is unfortunately not quite the same as white goods returned in an unopened box.

I have to say I would want a lot more than a 5% to buy a returned stock bike. And that on top of the costs Jason mentions above, checking the bike over. the store's 30% figure is much closer to what I would be expecting as a a discount on that

2nd owner also = no warranty

Peter, I hope you're not sitting in the Tribunal Chair on the day, nevertheless the time for negotiation was when I returned with my request.
Jason, I see your point and it is a real problem, however the only thing is that this did not happen in this instance.

If you argue that the bike isn't able to be ridden on the road because it doesn't have brakes/ reflector then you have to be prepared for the bike shop to turn around and fit brakes and reflectors as a way of rectifying the situation. I would suspect if this was proposed by the shop the court/tribunal would view that as a more equitable outcome that you getting a full refund.

Alex, I think the best course for me to bring up this point is in a supporting manner, since I agree it would solve those particular concerns.

Do you reckon they are reading this forum working out their litigation strategy in response, or may do so when they receive the NCAT application?

Andrew, if they are doing so than this forum and I are doing a good job of drawing the matter out from all angles and to all corners. Lol. Nevertheless, for them to use the perceived holes in my case in my honest experience as a customer, they would need to lie further, and the one thing about liars which I've learned, is unless you are a true master of lies and lying, lies nearly always unravel when the liar is being cross-examined. It's a dead cert! There were other people in the store involved in the transaction at one point or another, and so holding a conspiracy together is - guess what!? - way harder.

To answer your question though; when they receive the NCAT notice they'll definitely be working on their strategy, they would be foolish if they didn't now that this matter has escalated to such a level, however if they'll be working on their lies as strategy than I'll be ready. Lol.

Good question mate, I was not unaware it might happen or is happening, and I haven't mentioned certain things for that reason.
Hey guys, just got the reply from Jamis Bikes, I'm posting it in full and unedited since both baabaa raised an earlier point they speak about in relation to the Sputnik, and secondly because it supports my case and it's discovery by the store will not detract from it:

"Thank you for contacting the support team at JAMIS Bicycles. The Sonik is a pure track bike, designed with a very stiff alloy frame. The Sputnik may be a better option for riding on the roads you are describing, as its steel frame will be more compliant and the frame allows for larger tire sizes to be run than the Sonik will allow. Sonik should have no issues handling the riding you are looking to do, if you value the snappier ride over the comfort of the Sputnik.

Find Your Local JAMIS DEALER


If you have any further questions, please let us know, and be sure to check out the Review section of our website for independent commentary on many of our JAMIS Bicycles

Yours very truly,

JAMIS SUPPORT"

...In all fairness this should have been the response of the store manager, after all comfort is key for riding a bike on the roads, although the Sputnik is promoted as a Fixie rather than a track bike.

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