At the spring 2011 bicycle show I purchased a Litespeed CX from La Bicicletta. On April 17 I took part in the 18th annual Paris To Ancaster bike race. As previously discussed I broke the frame of my bike during the event.
Luckily I bought the bike on my VISA and the repair was eligible for coverage under their insurance plan. Sort of. They only cover the cost of the repair – and as American Bicycle Group is in Tennessee I had to cover the cost of shipping the frame to and from – roughly $300. The cost of the repair from ABG was $459, plus the cost to disassemble and reassemble my bike – ABG only wanted the frame, which I totally understand.
To date the repair has cost me roughly $1200 and I still don’t have a ready to ride bicycle. VISA is going to reimburse me for close to $700 so I’m out $500. Plus the cost of a new carbon fibre seat post.
You might ask, “Why do you have to buy a new seat post? Didn’t you have one before?”
Yes I did have one, but it was stuck in the frame I sent back to be repaired. I asked if the ABG technicians could remove it for me, and that was the last I heard on the topic.
Fast forward to late August and my bike finally arrives back in my hands… four months after I sent it in for repair. Opening the box I see a shiny frame and start the hunt through the packing for the seat post they removed.
I can’t find it and assume they forgot to send it back so I send a note…
Nope! They didn’t forget. They destroyed it during their attempt to remove it. So rather than tell me it can’t be done, they destroyed it. And didn’t bother to tell me they destroyed it. I had to ask. And only by email. Don’t you dare try to call and get an answer.
When I pressed them for a response as to why they broke it rather than leave it in place, here’s what they had to say:
Imagine if you had a flat tyre on your car, changed the flat and tightened the lug nuts to the point you could not remove them and so took the car to the repair shop. The repairman snapped the studs on the wheel trying to remove the lug nuts. I don’t think that you would fully expect the shop to replace the studs for free because you tightened them too much.
I don’t want you to think that I am trying to patronise you with this analogy but I think that this is a similar situation. Had anti-seize been applied to the post on a regular basis, this would not have happened and the post could be easily removed. This was caused by lack of maintenance and ABG will not reimburse you for this part.
I don’t accept the analogy because a mechanic worth his salt would’ve said to the customer, “hey customer, these look seized. I can try to remove them but they might break; Do you want me to try to remove them, knowing that they might break and you’ll be on the hook for new lugs?” (And with regards to applying anti-seize… I’d only had the bike for a few weeks…. if they have this much trouble with seat posts seizing that the application and re-application of anti-seize is needed weekly, the issue is clearly theirs. To my fellow riders how often do you have to apply anti-seize on your bikes?)
But that’s not what happened. ABG simply destroyed my seat post, and didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me about it, let alone offer some sort of compensation or replacement. They’d rather leave me to go buy a new post at retail, and have a negative opinion of their company and customer service, than send me a replacement from their inventory. They make bicycles, and every complete bike they ship out has a seat post. Their unit cost would likely be less than $50, but no. That’s not the way it’s done with ABG.
So be warned fellow riders…