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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Did you ask them about the comfort of the bike and different options when you bought it? From what you've said it sounds like you went in looking for a particular model at a good price and that's what you got, a 'fast track bike' going on your initial post.

I'll be interested to see how this goes in regards to the fit for purpose argument.

Hi James, if that's how it sounds than I have accurately explained my experience for the forum - I liked the look of the bike, and I knew it was a track bike. I was asked by the manager what I would be using it for and explained it would be for riding on the road. I didn't ask about the comfort specifically, but I asked if it was suitable for the road and was assured that it was.

The manager might have brought up the issue of comfort at that point, explaining that because of the composition of the frame I should expect a different ride to a regular bike, and then perhaps explained what that ride is like. For him to have done that though, would've perhaps have tempered my confidence, and because he was evidently desperate for a sale he omitted such details and I never thought to insist on a test ride over more appropriate road surface conditions.

I have very little chance of not getting my refund, the consumer must be protected in a consumerist society and NCAT, the former CTTT, was developed with the consumer in mind. I just hope that the order for compensation for my time and the application fee, is also granted. I've requested a reasonable amount, but such a request is usually entirely the discretion of the Tribunal Chair.

IDK why you are bothering really. It was not a $10,000 purchase.

You can enjoy it in smooth territory where it is meant to be used. Maybe even ride with care to/from those playgrounds. Otherwise just get another ride for commuting/training on road that IS suitable. With a value purchase like a Jamis it's not a case of one bike does it all as a necessity.

You'll spread your wear therefore maintenance over two bikes, enjoy complementary riding joys and have a backup for when one of them is being serviced. How good is that?

I don't think the bike needs to be ridden only on smooth surfaces, my understanding is that track bikes are built pretty tough, certainly as strong as a road frame. Any track riders care to comment? I'm sure that you would feel every bump in the road with that massive frame but your assumption that it's going to collapse at the sight of a decent pothole is based on what exactly? I know it's a completely different beast but my (relatively) light, thin walled aluminium Cannondale road bike turns 18 this year and I'm over 90kg, used to be more too.

Riding a bike for 18 years, I'm sure you have gained some confidence on it, however I don't have the confidence for riding this bike and I don't think I need to be a bike frame expert, to explain to the Tribunal Chair that the bike feels uncomfortable and weak and is therefore unfit for the purpose I would be using it for. As Sir Ubu has stated earlier in his suggestion at what my best argument is; the "not fit for purpose" is enough for me establish. Then the manager/bike store can dig their own grave by opposing this argument with whatever evidence they might have. If they want to pay for a frame expert to write a report about the strength of the bike on roads, that will be their decision, but the bike came with no brakes, no reflectors except on the wheels, and no bell, so that speaks for itself, really.

So, unfit through my lack of confidence on it on road conditions, and then unfit in actual terms.

Your purpose was to use a track bike to ride on the road, for which a track bike  is plainly fit for that purpose, and they let you test ride it. 

IMO to the average fixed gear rider, the task of procuring and fitting a brake isn't much different from similar legal requirement that you procure and wear a helmet.  Its not *much* harder, but you just don't want to do either.

A private individual can take a track bike, fit bell and brake and it becomes legal to ride on the road.  A shop actually can't do that with a new bike (there are more requirements for a fixed gear than that).  They can do it with a bike you own already.

if it was me personally, I'd put a brake on it, I wouldn't actually touch the brake unless actually required to avoid a crash, and I'd take it to centennial park which is tolerably smooth, and I'd enjoy the experience of riding it with a little less surrounding pressure and on the very flat main loop where a weak rider isn't forced to stop or start on a steep hill.

If after a few weekends of that, if you haven't discovered that you have adapted to its feel and are starting to enjoy a sharp bike, then stick it on ebay for 75% of what you bought it for, and it will go.

I found it took me the best part of a month to really enjoy my road bike - and the second day I was almost inclined to ride my mountain bike to work, but in the end I was very glad I persisted.  After a while, I couldn't even contemplate choosing the mountain bike.

IDK why you are bothering really.  It was not a $10,000 purchase.


Precisely Viscount, the principle of the matter, I was made to feel wronged and then cheated, and well I wouldn't be able to absorb the cost on an extra bike.

I've read your explanation and I think you're an idiot. You seem to want to be able to have your cake and be able to eat it as well (as someone else has put it). You've taken no responsibility for your own stupidity. Riding a track bike on the road with no brakes - really. I just can't believe you think you have a case.

LOL. I feel like an idiot Cogs -- but I'd be an actual idiot if I didn't pursue this matter through to its natural conclusion and just let myself be treated the way I was by the manager of the bike store.

You're wrong to accuse me of not taking responsibility though, as I have stated earlier, I raised the point of a restocking fee with the manager from the outset, in fact I broached it. Sensing my willingness to compromise in accepting some responsibility, the manager evidently took advantage of it by requesting $150 per tyre.

I understand this thread is quite long now, but you would be well advised to read it all the way through from the start before making wild accusations and name-calling. I don't think I was stupid either, it was a mistake, we all make them, I'm sure you'll agree. I'm perfectly confident of my case, and I expect a positive outcome. I won't go into the no brakes bike on road issue, since you have demonstrated that you're not reading this thread and are after some food for your troll belly. LOL.

This reminded me to comment on something I remembered earlier, but can't find the post to respond to. I think you alluded to the seller wanting $150 per tyre = $300 = 30% of the bike's sale price as a restocking fee.

1) Who fits $150 tyres to a $1000 bike to start with?

2) Based on my limited knowledge of the industry from a couple of insiders, 30-40% is a fairly typical retailer margin - i.e. they buy the bike wholesale for ~$700 (to make the maths easy), mark it up ~40% and sell it to you for $1000, making $300 in the process. In other words, is he asking you for a "restocking" fee of $300 so he gets to "keep" the profit he made from selling it to you. And the bike goes back on the floor for $900, discounted due to it being a "floor stock demonstrater - that's why the tyres are ever-so-lightly used" for him to make another $200 selling it a second time? Just a postulation.

When you purchased it, what size chain ring and what size cog did it come with?


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