Saturday, July 18, 2015

CycleGear (Salem) turning customers away.

Now I'm a pretty loyal customer, I buy my motorcycle gear, parts, and sundries from several local shops to help keep their doors open. And I do my best to shop local before searching online, but local brick and mortar shops of late are making it all too easy to 180º out their door, go home, open up the laptop, (and a cold yummy beer for that matter), while I relax in the comfort of my own home, scroll, click... and purchase.
Oh look! Free shipping to my door!
Would you like to use Paypal to place an order?
Yes, please.
Return policy?
Of course, in fact we'll even pay return shipping for a simple exchange.
Why, thank you.
Oh, and you earned 6 Bonus Bucks for this purchase that you can use for your next purchase.
Would you like to use your loyal customer discount on your purchase today?
Yes, please.
When you receive your item, look in the box for a 15% off coupon too.

That is how you keep customers happy.

Unfortunately, my conversation with CycleGear in Salem today went more like this:
I bought a MegaBoost battery with the lifetime warranty in October of 2010, it's starting to act up, and I'm afraid it's going to leave me stranded soon, is there any way you could check it for me?
Do you have the battery with you?
Yes, it's outside in my bike.
Well, our battery tester is in the back, you'll have to remove the battery from your bike and bring it in, sorry but we don't have any tools to assist you.
I have a toolkit, I'll be right back... here's the battery, man it is hot outside.
We'll have to put it on a charger overnight to make sure it's fully charged before testing it.
(Voice in my head) Are you kidding me?!? Why did you have me take the battery out of my bike?!?
Well, I was actually hoping that you'd warranty it for me as it's 5 years old.
We'll have to look in our computer system for the receipt.
No problem, I marked the battery with a Sharpie when I bought it on October 20th 2010, it was midweek because I came up after work to pick it up. I talked to Lauren who used to work here.
(Voice in my head again) Brad, you can't remember what you had for breakfast most days, how the hell did you pull that tidbit of information from your memory?!? Oh yeah, Lauren now works for Team Oregon.

Lauren and I working together for a Team Oregon photo shoot.

Well, Megaboost changed their policy and doesn't offer the lifetime warranty unless it was before 2011.
Breathe Brad, deep breaths.
Great! I bought the battery in 2010, so it is still under warranty.
Well, we can test your battery but if it holds a charge it is still good.
Fine, go test it then.
It could be your voltage regulator or stator.
Yes, I suppose it could be. But you think that possibly it could be the 5 year old battery?
How about I buy a new battery, you keep the old one overnight, I'll be back tomorrow, then you can refund my purchase price?
But if it holds a charge, then we can't warranty it.
How long does it take to charge the battery?
About 5 hours, but they do come with an initial charge. You'd have install it, ride home then charge it.
That's fine, but you won't warranty the old battery?
No, not if it holds a charge.
Here's a thought, what if you keep the battery in the back room for a year, then when it's good and dead you can call me and issue me a refund?
And we can't find any record of you purchasing the battery at this store. Sorry we can't help you.
Really?!? Okay, let's review. I'm asking to buy a new battery from you, dispose of the old one, fuck the warranty and you're unable to grasp that concept?
Fine, thanks for your (cough) help, have a great weekend!

I reinstalled the old battery, thankfully my bike still started, and I rode home.

UPDATE 01/02/2016

I've babied the same battery for nearly six months, having it leave me stranded at a gas station on the hottest day of the year and again on a very cold New Years Day Polar Bear Ride. I decided to give CycleGear one more chance to redeem themselves, but this time I went down to the Eugene/Springfield store. I took the battery out of my bike, placed it in the original box with the receipt, had it load tested at BatteriesPlus+ (these guys are great), and headed off to CycleGear ready for battle.

I walked into the Eugene/Springfield store and was politely greeted by Jon, whom I simply told that my battery left me stranded yesterday. Pulling the battery out of the box, he commented on the date (10/2010) I had wrote on the battery. "Looks like you got 5 years out it, you use a battery tender don't you?" He quickly grabbed a new battery off the shelf, then asked me if I had any other shopping I needed to do. Dumbfounded, I walked around the store looking for anything I needed. Not finding anything, Jon had me fill out my customer information and warrantied my battery. No questions asked, no arguing, no battle.

That, is how the issue should have been handled 6 months ago!

I will never walk into CycleGear Salem store again, nor recommend them. But thanks to Jon, I will recommend the Eugene/Springfield store.


  1. Customer service seems to be dead & buried nowadays. i hear you about shopping local, but honestly when there is a huge price spread, discounts, bonus bucks, and no hassle returns why the heck wouldn't you take advantage of it? I bought my FirstGear jacket online and its was $70 cheaper, the local dealer wouldn't even remotely match the price or even come down a bit, so I was done and bought it online. unfortunately as well the local stores dont have a good gear selection for women at all. So i get your frustration.

    1. I'll pay a bit extra if it helps keep local shops open, and I know they can't stock everything, but if they're willing to look it up, order it for me and offer great customer service they have my money. It's that simple.
      We've actually had local shops tell us to look online.... really?!?

  2. Brad, this encounter very much sounds like it had been written for a comedy show. Maybe you should write their manager about your disappointing customer experience. Obviously it is not always the internet's convenience that conventional stores die out.

    1. I just wrote a lengthy message to their online contact, we'll see how that goes.

  3. I gave up the shop local fight after my wife got Amazon prime. The Internet has changed most things and the hold out services are changing too. The 20th century is over.

    1. Funny how you mention the 20th century being over, we just watched a movie called "While We're Young" last night. I felt the same way.

  4. Like you I try to buy local, but it's getting harder and harder to support local vendors as so few of them seem to really care about the customer. But I will also go out of my way to write or email the owner/manager when I do receive great service as that will, hopefully, encourage more of the same.

    1. Yes, I too express my satisfaction of great service. I also tell friends, word of mouth is great advertising... but it can work against business too.

  5. I also try to shop local, but when they become complacent ... well! Enjoy the brew while you shop.

  6. Brad, it's hard to get the balance right and as far as I'm concerned, it is balance. I do what I can locally, try to give local businesses the benefit of the doubt but lots of Prime online shopping happens here, an often easy decision with our more rural location.

  7. Most, but not all, of the local places charge way too much for stuff. I understand that there are costs associated with maintaining a physical storefront, 100% markup seems excessive.

  8. Doesn't this just blow your mind? My daughter has a saying, "Minimum effort for minimum wage." Which is sad because not everyone behaves this way who is poorly paid, but the few who do really irritate a person! I have made it a policy to always praise great customer service to a person's manager and complain about customer service when I am less than satisfied. And I love using Yelp for these things, both good and bad, to make sure I help others out.
    Most good managers want to know their staff sucks.
    Sash - The Rude Biker Chick
    See Sash Videos!

  9. It IS the truth! So much easier to just "click it" and "ship it".

    I too have tried to shop local for bicycle and moto riding gear, but they never have what I want. Particularly in riding apparel. Never.

    So, yeah, do what you have to do. Besides, with the cost of gas and all the hassles of traffic, why drive around from shop to shop? Not going to happen.

    I am not a "shop for entertainment" type of gal so fewer "brick and mortars" don't bother me. And that is the way it is going, rapidly. And I can sadly see why.

    Sad for the loss of jobs, but hopefully that will balance out somehow.

  10. I try and shop locally too. When I had a yam or Suzuki I took it to the local dealership. No problems there. Get a small discount. Still good. The same goes for my Triumph.

    But, they simply can't match the online shops for most stuff.

    The Steve McQueen style Triumph jacket cost 40% less online that the shop. No brainer than to go online.

    Shame that your battery place was so poor.


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