Complaint / review text:
I am writing to you because I had nowhere else to turn in regards to my recent experience with the REI store located in Issaquah, WA. The experience I have had is nothing short of a complete nightmare and probably one of the worst experiences I have ever had in terms of dealing with a retail chain and services that they offer. I will explain my situation below.
At this time I don't have a lot of money, I run a private home boarding business for dogs and I work as a graphic designer. I have been wanting to get a bike for a very long time and was unable due to my current financial situation. Every day for months I researched Craigslist.com looking for the perfect bike that I could ride on and off road with my dogs Maya and Gaja. After months of searching, I finally found the perfect bike at a far better than perfect deal. I found someone selling their 2009 Novara Metro for a price tag of $185, and I know the normal price for this fabulous bike brand new is around $450.
Least to say that I was more than excited to have finally found the bike I was looking for. I got the bike home and realized that the gear shift on the left side was not working, I figured this was a very small thing to get repaired and what better place to get that done than that of the original manufacturer of the Novara bike "REI". Boy have I ever been wrong, I don't think I could have picked a worse place to get my new bike repaired. This is why.
When I brought my Novara Metro bike into the Issaquah, WA REI, first off I was told that there was no front derailleur and that being the reason my left shift would not work. Ok, so that was not so bad, but then I got a call three days later saying that there were other problems that they found, so now I would need four total parts to be added to the bike in order for it and everything to function correctly.
I will admit I was a little frustrated because I am not in a very good financial position right now and the bill was now from 65.00 to 125.00 and it may not seem like a lot of money to some, but with my not having a lot of extra money it in fact is a lot to me. I agreed to allow the repairs to be finished and the additional parts to be ordered, I understood that they would need to order one of the parts and it would take a day or two to come in, this was even more disappointing because I now had to wait even longer to get my new bike back.
Overall it took them over a week and a half to get me my bike back. I was very excited to finally get my new bike back, and when I got to the store with my roommate who was with me, the guy who was ringing us up for the bill was nothing less than rude and very, very pushy toward both my roommate and myself. My roommate was with me because he was letting me borrow the rest of the money to get my bike back. He was not happy with how we were treated and said he would never step foot in another REI because of the way we were treated.
The day I got my bike back which was Saturday, August 7,2010, I had not even had it back an hour and I already had to bring it back into the shop. I rode my bike for less than 10 minutes and all of a sudden when I shifted the gears on the left side, which is the side that was repaired, my pedal got stuck. I pedaled slowly back words and tried going forward again slowly and it worked fine. Not even a block more and it happened again, except this time I was thrown over the handle bars and really scraped up my elbows and knees from the accident. When this happened, my bike went a short distance and then crashed and fell.
When I got to my bike, I looked at my bike and the entire chain had busted in half and the front derailleur that I just paid to have repaired was completely bent all the way into the back of my tire spokes. After having to walk my bike back home almost 1 1/2 miles, I put the bike back into my car and brought it back to REI. Matt, one of the bike service technicians said he had no idea how this could have happened and tried blaming it on my riding off road or to rough. I only rode the bike less than 10 minutes and was riding on pavement. I don't know how it could be my fault that the shifter I just had paid for and repaired on the bike somehow locked up my bike chain when I shifted into another gear. This in no way was my fault. Matt wrote up another service ticket and I left the bike with them once again.
After not hearing anything for three days since I brought the bike back in to the store, I called REI on Tuesday, August 10,2010 to ask for a status on the repairs. The guy I spoke with was the same guy that my roommate and I had a bad experience with the first time we picked up my bike. The guys name is Bob. Again Bob was rude and claimed it to be my fault the bike had been messed up. Bob said over and over "both Matt and I rode the bike before you picked it up and it worked just fine."
I asked him if he was trying to imply that it was my fault the part they just replaced somehow created a reaction and caused my pedal to lock up and my bike chain to break in two, all this not even ten minutes after riding the bike for the first time. Bob said "I am not going to argue with you about this, and again said "the bike worked fine when you brought it out of our store, " then he said "we have ordered the part for your bike it should be here in a day or two and we will fix your bike then." You can imagine after waiting already a week and a half to get my bike the first time around, I was just a little upset not only with the fact this happened, but also I was more upset because Bob and Matt had both put the blame on me and Bob could not have been more rude and unsympathetic in regards to my bike and feelings.
I received a voicemail Wednesday, August 11,2010 from Matt in bike repairs. Matt said that the piece that was needed to fix the bike was a derailleur hanger and that they did not have this in stock and it would need to be ordered from corporate. However, due to the way I supposedly talked to Bob the day before, and after confirming this with the store manager, they were not going to repair the bike and I could come and pick the bike up any time. Matt claims that Bob claimed that I had used inappropriate language on the phone, I can tell you now, this is a complete lie and I could not have been more upset and offended after being blamed and accused of something such as this. I called Matt and explained to him that I did nothing of the sort and could not understand and believe that they were using this as there excuse for not repairing my bike from the damage that was caused due to something they had not done properly.
Matt said that the store manager was not in and that he would call me back after dealing with a customer in front of him. I never received a call back from Matt and the net day decided to call and speak with the store manager myself. I spoke with the store manager and he also blamed my being verbally abusive to Bob was the reason they are not going to repair my bike. He also said that he saw me pulling my bike out of the trunk of my car when bringing it back into the store, and that is the reason that the derailleur hanger was busted and that is the reason also that they did not feel it was their responsibility to repair.
First of all, the reason the derailleur hanger was busted and the derailleur bent back into my spokes was because after me flying off the front of the bike and the bike crashing, that was the reason why the derailleur hanger was busted and the derailleur bent back into my spokes. He claimed that he has seen this numerous times, people loading the bike into the car and breaking the hanger off the derailleur. Not once did he mention my shifting the breaks and the pedal locking up on me causing me to fly off the bike and the chain to bust in half, not once did he claim this as being a fault of something they did not repair correctly, just happens that this could be and was the reason for the derailleur hanger to bust and the derailleur to bend back into my tire spokes.
After the store manager had also put the blame on me for the reason the bike was even more messed up than before the first time I brought it in to be looked at and repaired, I was not very upset and told him that he would be hearing from a lawyer and I was going to sue them for all the trouble they had put me thru and now refusing to even repair the bike at all. I then did some research and came across the number for the corporate headquarters office in Kent, WA.
I called and shortly explained to the women who answered what it was I was calling for. I was forwarded to the legal department of REI and left a voicemail on the gentlemen's phone explaining my situation and how to handle something like this. I was then contacted a couple hours later from someone who is in charge of resolving disputes and was told that this was the step that they take before anything would need to be taken to a court of law. I explained to this guy my situation and he also has not been of any help to getting my bike back in a ride able and tip top shape.
First the guy told me that he would contact me the next day which would have been Friday, August 13,2010 after he had spoke with the store manager to find out what was going on and to see if he could possibly come to some conclusion. He did say that the store manager had every right to refuse service to anyone and that he could not guarantee that he would be able to get them to agree in fixing my bike and taking responsibility for the damages that they caused. After explaining to him how this has been a complete nightmare, and because of this I missed the chance of being able to go on a bike trail tour with a group of friends over the weekend, he changed from calling me back the next day to calling me back after the weekend on Monday, August 16,2010. I thanked him for his help and said I would be looking forward to his call on Monday. It is now early morning Friday, August 20,2010, one week and I have yet to get a call back from this gentlemen.
I don't know what else to do and to be honest, this entire experience has made me almost not even want the bike back at all, because the people at REI have made this a horrible experience and made me wonder if this bike was even worth all of this trouble. All I wanted was a bike I could go riding on the trails with me and my dogs and be able to go on weekend bike rides with my friends on occasion. Well, at this point I cannot even see through the nightmare this has been, and the excitement of getting my new bike I waited so long to find has been washed away because of the experience I have had with REI. I tore up my elbows and knees as well as my stomach from flying forward off of the bike after my pedal got stuck on me, this was all due from switching gears on the bike, the same gears that REI had just repaired.